Health Science Librarians of Ilinois

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Serving Illinois Health Information Professionals

Call for Chapter Proposals: ACRL Publication Libraries Promoting Reflective Dialogue in a Time of Political Polarization (Deadline 3/1)

(via Andrea Baer, University of West Georgia)

This is a reminder to please consider submitting a chapter proposal to the forthcoming bookLibraries Promoting Reflective Dialogue in a Time of Political Polarization (to be published with ACRL Publications in late 2018). Below is a more detailed description of this timely topic. Proposals are due March 1st. The call is also available at

As political polarization has continued to grow within and beyond the United States in past decades, the challenges of engaging in open, constructive dialogue have become increasingly apparent. Relatedly, this sociopolitical moment has drawn attention to the powerful role that affect plays in interpersonal relationships, human cognition, and information behaviors. It is in such times that constructive dialogue is both most needed and most difficult. Recognizing this reality, many librarians are reexamining our professional roles within the library and in relation to social justice, community engagement, and civil discourse.

Political polarization’s significance to academic library work has been most apparent in conversations about information literacy education as a response to post-truth rhetoric and motivated reasoning. The impacts of this polarization are nonetheless also evident in numerous other aspects of library work, including in interactions and relationships in our local contexts and in our larger professional community. These effects can be seen in all areas of the Library – classrooms, collections, technology, management, programming, and spaces.

This edited volume will explore various ways in which librarians experience and respond to political polarization and its effects – in our everyday work, in our professional communities, and in our engagement beyond the workplace. These responses play out in librarians‘ cognitive, affective, and physical worlds. Particular attention will be given to how librariansand libraries can promote constructive dialogue in such environments and to the barriers to or limitations of dialogue.

Potential questions for exploration include:

  • Have recent political events or issues influenced your campus or your librarywork in particular ways?
  • Where have you experienced political polarization or tension in your professional work and life? What shapes does this polarization take, and what dynamics are at play? What effects does it have, and how do or might librarians respond in these contexts?
  • What barriers stand in the way of open dialogue, particularly in the context of library work? Where are the potential openings for critically reflective dialogue in our professional work and in our interactions with other librarians, faculty, students, and community members?
  • What role does empathy play in your professional engagement? What possibilities or challenges does empathy or “an ethics of care” present for librarywork?
  • How might politically polarized environments influence how people engage in information seeking, evaluation, or use? How might such contexts influence how people learn or teach about information literacy?
  • How do students view the library in these highly charged times? Are there certain characteristics of library spaces or library ethos that students value highly or view negatively? How can librarians help create a more safe, dialogic space in libraries?
  • How do we think about the concept of neutrality at a politically contentious time? What value and what problems might the concept of neutrality present, if we seek to promote dialogue and inquiry while also remaining true to our professional or personal values? How can we draw from the lessons of past politically volatile eras to inform current practice?
  • What influence has “post-truth” rhetoric or discussions about fake news had on your library work?
  • How might political polarization or tension influence librarians‘ professional relationships and interactions?

The editors invite potential chapter authors to use any research method or theoretical approach that they deem appropriate. New or seldom used methods in LIS are welcome and could include, but are not limited to, interpretivist or humanistic methods; feminist scholarship; narrative; (auto)ethnography; poetry; fiction; bricolage; or comics. Contributions that apply standard qualitative or quantitative research methods are also welcome.

Please email your proposal as a Microsoft Word document to March 1st. Please include the following information:

  • Your name and contact information
  • The title of your chapter
  • A 500-word abstract of your chapter (Please include the approach, method, or form of your chapter.)
  • If available, a list of other writings or presentations that you have given on this or similar topics

Publication timeline:

  • 3/1/2018 Proposals due to editors
  • 3/31/18 Editors respond to chapter authors re: inclusion or not
  • 6/15/18 Draft chapters due to editors
  • 9/07/18 Final chapters due to editors
  • 12/15/18 Publication date

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