Informed Agitation: Library and Information Skills in Social Justice Movements and Beyond

Call for Papers

Informed Agitation: Library and Information Skills in Social Justice Movements and Beyond

TITLE: Informed Agitation: Library and Information Skills in Social Justice Movements and Beyond (An Edited Collection)

EDITOR: Melissa Morrone is a librarian at Brooklyn Public Library and has been involved in Radical Reference as well as other social justice groups.

BOOK ABSTRACT: In librarianship today, we encourage voices from our field to join conversations in other disciplines as well as in the broader culture. People who work in libraries and are sympathetic to or directly involved in social justice struggles have long embodied this idea, as they make use of their skills in the service of those causes. Following in the tradition of works such as Activism in American Librarianship, 1962-1973; Revolting Librarians; and Revolting Librarians Redux, this title will be a look into the projects and pursuits of activist librarianship in the early 21st century.

POSSIBLE TOPICS: Essays should describe specific activities undertaken by the library worker and how the work was received by fellow activists and/or the constituents of the project. Such activities may include:

  • Programming and collection development that gives voice to underrepresented communities and subjects.
  • Conducting community-based reference or other information services outside of any institutional affiliation.
  • Setting up libraries or archives in political organizations and contexts.
  • Doing research on behalf of social justice campaigns.
  • Training people in technology and content creation with the goal of community empowerment.
  • Other creative ways of using library and information skills to support activist causes, both inside and outside of conventional library settings.

Essays should also include analysis of the ways in which these activities are in sync with but may also challenge the "core values" of librarianship.

OBJECTIVE OF THE BOOK: This edited collection, to be published by Library Juice Press in June 2013 asks: How and to what end are people using their library skills in the service of wider social justice causes? What do these activities say about the future of library work, both inside and outside of traditional institutions?


  • People interested in going into librarianship who want an idea of nontraditional and activist areas in which librarians operate.
  • Practicing library workers seeking inspiration for ways to combine their expertise with their political interests outside the library.
  • Practicing library workers who want articulations of how their work fits into a broader context of power structures, politics, and social justice.
  • Activists interested in collaborations with library workers and/or projects related to literature, information, education, and documentation in social movements.
  • People in other fields who want to draw connections between their own work and social justice goals, and are looking for supportive literature.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Please submit abstracts and proposals of up to 500 words to informed.agitation AT gmail by July 15, 2012. Notifications will be sent by September 1. A first draft from 1,500-7,000 words will be due by November 15, and final manuscripts will be due by January 15, 2013.