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Underserved Patrons in University Libraries: Assisting Students Facing Trauma, Abuse, and Discrimination

Libraries Unlimited Jan. 2021. 204p. ed. by ed. by Julia C. Skinner & Melissa Gross. ISBN 9781440870415. pap. $75. PRO MEDIA
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Skinner, a former librarian and museum director, and Gross (Sch. of Information, Florida State Univ.) curate a thought-provoking collection of perspectives on underserved patrons in university libraries. They stress that, in addition to differing levels or fields of study, patrons of university libraries have diverse identities that inform how they see the world. While there is an abundance of literature on underserved populations in public libraries, Gross and Skinner have found examples of university library programming for a wide variety of underserved populations, including people experiencing homelessness, people who were previously incarcerated, and veterans. Most chapters thoroughly describe a program or service approach at a specific institution and offer strong theoretical background, frameworks, and research evidence for ensuring patrons get a range of services and support. For example, one chapter outlines a strategic action plan to address equity, diversity, and inclusion with older adults. The book also gives useful practical guidance—such as recommendations for interacting with patrons with communication disorders and variations, including aphasia and social anxiety.
VERDICT Offering a nuanced look at how patrons’ lived experiences impact their interactions with libraries, this book is widely applicable to people working in any college or university setting
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