Professional Media | Social Science Reviews, August 1, 2016

Three titles that make for essential reading for beginning and veteran library professionals

Critical Literacy for Information Professionals. Facet. May 2016. 172p. ed. by Sarah McNicol. index. ISBN 9781783300822. pap. $95. PRO MEDIA

critical literacyCritical literacy has become a widely used method of teaching and learning over the past decade. It is a particularly important concept for librarians because it addresses the cultural and social contexts of textual information, and thus meshes well with the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. In this slim volume, editor McNichol (research associate, Manchester Metropolitan Univ., UK) has collected essays on the topic from an international array of librarians and information professionals. McNicol organized the collection into two parts. The first focuses on different theoretical approaches, while the second explores critical literacy in practice through carefully selected case studies. Subjects include critical literacy in the workplace, social justice and critical literacy, using literacies to discuss disability in the library, and teaching media literacy. The essays are concisely written and easy to parse for details. VERDICT Essential reading for librarians looking to gain an understanding of critical literacy in order to improve their support services. This work will also be useful for academic librarians seeking practical ways to introduce the concept into their curricula.—Jennifer A. Townes, Georgia Coll. and State Univ.

Service Learning, Information Literacy, and Libraries. Libraries Unlimited. Apr. 2016. 155p. ed. by Jennifer E. Nutefall. index. ISBN 9781440840913. pap. $65; ebk. ISBN 9781440840920. PRO MEDIA

service learningHow can academic libraries better provide support for service learning courses at their institutions? Nutefall (librarian, Santa Clara Univ.) has compiled a collection of eight essays written by 11 contributors to address this question. The opening chapters define service learning and explain relevant pedagogies. The following sections explore specific examples at particular institutions and provide practical strategies for creating relevant information literacy support for service learning projects. The book concludes with a thought-provoking chapter on future collaboration possibilities and the prospect of making service learning a key component of the library science curriculum. Readers will come away with a better understanding of all the ways academic libraries can contribute to service learning by providing information literacy instruction, useful materials, space, and more. VERDICT Recommended for instruction librarians at academic libraries. Since service is one of the core values of librarianship, this work makes a strong case that libraries are natural partners for service learning endeavors. Readers should also consider Loriene Roy et al.’s Service Learning: Linking Library Education and Practice.—Joshua Wallace, Tarleton State Univ. Lib. Stephenville, TX

Where Are All the Librarians of Color? The Experiences of People of Color in Academia. Library Juice Pr. Jan. 2016. 352p. ed. by Rebecca Hankins & Miguel Juarez Jr. index. ISBN 9781936117833. $35. PRO MEDIA

where are all the librarians of colorThis collection features articles and case studies that address the innumerable issues and challenges faced by people of color working in libraries, both those consciously and subconsciously perpetuated, with a specific focus on minorities—or more significantly, the lack of minorities—in tenure-track positions in academic libraries. Hankins (librarian, Texas A&M Univ.) and Juarez (PhD candidate, Univ. Texas at El Paso) bring together essays that address the historical trends of minority employment before delving into what’s being done and what more can be done to address the issue. Chapters offer advice and recommendations along with a critique of programs that are already in place, such as initiatives and grants to attract minorities to MLIS programs, diversity residency programs, and recruitment techniques. The discussion even extends to invaluable mentoring and thoughtful support programs that are continuously shown to increase retention rates of minorities. One essay asks, “Are we there yet?” Though progress has been made, the answer is clearly, no. VERDICT Catering to academic libraries, this work will prove to be beneficial for everyone from current students to administrators. Other disciplines and library types could also benefit, as while the specific programs discussed are not universal, the theories are.—Zebulin Evelhoch, Central Washington Univ. Lib.

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