Welcome to the 2017 MLA Annual Conference! This year’s theme is Radical Librarianship - the power of libraries to provide access to the truth, strengthen our community voices, create opportunity for exploration and innovation, and assist our patrons to build a better future. Libraries have always been radical, but what does Radical Librarianship mean for us today? Join us at the 2017 MLA Annual Conference to help shape that conversation!
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Thursday, October 5 • 3:35pm - 4:25pm
At the Root of Our Profession: Fundamental Changes through Fundamental Values

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Among the core values of librarianship are a commitment to service and the responsibility that we have toward our communities. As a profession, we have manifested those values in a variety of ways, informed by our historical contexts and understandings.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, current and campus events have demanded a reconsideration of our approaches to service and social responsibility. For the purpose of this presentation, we will begin with the example of the December 2014 die-in held in College Library, the UW’s undergraduate library, in the middle of finals. While College Library has held discussions of diversity and inclusion and sponsored various staff trainings over the years, the 2014 die-in and countless events since have pushed the staff of College Library beyond notions of diversity and inclusion and into an increasing, collective rejection of library neutrality as a critical part of our responsibility to our community. We will describe steps taken in the library's physical and virtual environments to communicate with patrons about the library's social justice values and how we perceive them as being part of our approach to service. We will also explore intentional staff discussions and trainings (with both permanent and student staff) to understand how we make our values manifest to our patrons and our entire staff. From pop-up displays on topical issues in the news (e.g. immigration, Islam, anti-Semitism) to visible statements in the library lobby of our commitment to inclusion, to pronouns on staff name tags, and updated public service principles, we will share specific examples and lessons learned.


Raina Bloom

Public Services Librarian, UW Madison, College Library

Carrie Kruse

Director of College Library, User Experience, and Library Spaces, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Thursday October 5, 2017 3:35pm - 4:25pm CDT
Meeting Room 102