Libraries, Information, and Society (Spring 2018)
This course explores major issues in libraries, information, and society within a framework of shared values, or those goods to which we collectively commit ourselves as information professionals. Taking librarianship as an exemplar of the information professions, the course begins with a brief introduction to library history and professional ethics. We will then continue on to a week-by-week consideration of the values underpinning librarianship, including democracy, access, diversity, intellectual freedom, and social responsibility.
Because ethical dilemmas abound in our field, we will pay special attention not only to the ways in which our shared values reinforce one another, but also to the moments when they come into conflict or are subject to competing interpretations. To that end, we will ask (and reflect on potential answers to) such questions as: Is the concept of expertise at odds with our commitment to egalitarian service? What are we to do about the recent proliferation of “fake news”? Can the library truly support democratic deliberation if it adopts a permissive attitude towards hate speech? Students will be expected to actively participate in our ongoing interrogation of these issues.
Reading Romance in the Library (Fall 2017)
In this course we examine romance readers and reading from a library perspective. More specifically, we investigate the tension between romance fiction’s profound popularity and its frequent denigration. While we explore the romance genre itself, we situate our conversation in the institutional and ethical context of the library, primarily focusing on romance readers’ motivations, meaning-making practices, and pleasures, on the one hand, and the ways in which librarians perceive, portray, serve, and sometimes criticize these readers on the other. Topics covered include gender, taste, and professional ethics. Students also develop some requisite skills to effectively advise romance readers in the library, though this is not the focus of the course.
Libraries, Information, and Society (Fall 2016)
Information Organization and Access (Spring 2016)
Information Organization and Access (Fall 2015)