THE STANDPOINT PRACTITIONER: HOW BLACK AND WHITE METADATA LIBRARIANS AT PREDOMINANTLY WHITE ACADEMIC LIBRARIES ARTICULATE PERSONAL, PROFESSIONAL, AND SOCIAL EXPERIENCES RELATING TO THEIR WORK WITH AFRICAN AMERICAN COLLECTIONS Public Deposited
- Affiliation: School of Information and Library Science
- In the United States, many academic institutions are plagued by a history of anti-Black racism. Today, librarians from different racial backgrounds who work at libraries at predominantly White colleges and universities are given the important task of describing materials related to African American cultural heritage. This task has the potential to elevate Black stories and remediate misunderstandings of the African American experience, but the material effects of Whiteness loom over the process. First, librarians who describe African American collections bring to the library their own view and understanding of Black culture and history that may shape how they choose to describe materials. They are also professionalized into the library science field which itself is shaped by an Anglo-American worldview. Finally, they describe collections in predominantly White workplaces whose values and aims may or may not align with their own when it comes to representing African American collections in a way that is meaningful to them as people and professionals. Other scholars have written about anti-Black racism in libraries and library description. However, there has been less inductive research that takes a personal look at issues facing librarians from different cultural backgrounds as they describe African American collections in predominantly White academic libraries. I interviewed seven White librarians and two Black librarians who describe African American collections at libraries at PWIs about their personal values, their professional mindset, and how the workplace affords or denies them opportunities to create high-quality descriptions. Findings demonstrate that librarians believe personal experiences with Black culture impact their affinity for their work. Findings also demonstrate that although librarians believe in the rule-governed ethos of metadata and that standards are not wholly unfit for African American collections, that the absence of cultural literacy is a major issue. Finally, workplace impediments stand in the way of librarians creating resonant and thorough descriptions. I use the experiences articulated by librarians to suggest evidence-based best practices for library governance and library school educators at PWIs so that African American collections and the librarians who describe them can be better supported.
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- Shaw, Ryan
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Degree granting institution
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
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