Call for submissions!

“Librarians are heroes! Libraries are magic!” Library workers hear this rhetoric frequently and some even say it themselves. But librarianship has been and continues to be an integral part of multiple forms of oppression, including racism, sexism, ableism, cisgenderism, classism, and colonialism. Despite the fact that librarians are one of the most trusted professions, library work is complicit in reinforcing oppressive structures. LIS (Library and Information Sciences) students often don’t have access to courses about the history of libraries, and courses that are offered do not necessarily explore controversies or the more unseemly aspects of librarianship.

The “Disorientation Guide to Librarianship” will be a 5.5″ x 8.5″ zine designed to be an accessible resource for people who are unfamiliar with structural oppression and injustice in librarianship. It is intended to be a critique of library values and a guide for people fighting injustice in librarianship. The target audience is LIS students and those new to librarianship, with or without degrees.

Potential topics:

  • illustrations of how librarianship contributes to white supremacy and whiteness as an ideal
  • stories about the objectionable aspects of the foundations of librarianship
  • anecdotes about intolerance and discrimination throughout the history of librarianship
  • examples of how the values of patriarchy and colonialism play out in librarianship
  • analysis of library neutrality in upholding oppressive values
  • information about events within librarianship within the last ten years that illustrate oppression
  • sources for folks new to librarianship to explore historical injustice in librarianship
  • strategies and tactics for dismantling oppressive systems within librarianship
  • resources for marginalized groups within librarianship

Submissions formats might include:

  • personal narratives
  • biographical narratives
  • historical research (your own or others [with credit/citations])
  • creative writing and poetry
  • visual arts (drawing, painting, photography, collage, comics, digital art, photographs of embroidery, etc.)
  • music playlists
  • lists of resources (including academic and non-academic, textual and audiovisual, etc.)
  • previously published work (blog posts, article excerpts, Twitter threads, etc.)

Submissions are welcome from everyone from every background. I would specifically like to invite BIPOC, disabled people, queer people, and/or non-U.S. citizens to contribute; your viewpoints are particularly appreciated. Anonymous submissions are welcome. I reserve the right to not publish submissions or to request edits, but will not edit your content without permission (other than typographical errors).

The zine will be made available for free for download in both pdf (printable) versions and online, for ease of access and for disability accessibility purposes. It will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Written works should be no longer than 500 words. The desired tone is more conversational than academic; this zine is designed to be a conversation starter and introductory guide to the issues. Submissions are due August 31, 2020 via this form.

This zine was inspired by the LIS Microaggressions project, Fobazi Ettarh’s article “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves“, and the many disorientation guides created by higher education students across the world.