This page looks best with JavaScript enabled

IUB Critlib Reading Group 2

 ·  ☕ 4 min read

Critlib is “library workers bringing social justice principles into our work in libraries and aiming to discuss critical perspectives on library practice. Recognizing that we all work under regimes of white supremacy, capitalism, and a range of structural inequalities, how can our work as librarians intervene in and disrupt those systems?" (from

The second Indiana University Bloomington #critlib meeting was this past Monday evening.

I’ve unfortunately misplaced the list of attendees at group two. As to not misattribute anything I will not list out the attendees, but if any of y’all want me to update this post then I will!

We began with the following acknowledgements:

  • Bloomington is on the ancestral lands and homes of the Shawnee peoples, as well as other native groups, that made their homes and lives here. They were forcefully relocated by the US government in the 19th century.
  • Bloomington and southern Indiana was home to the chattel enslavement of Black men, women, and children, including by a president of the United States of America who supported the legalization of slavery.
  • Indiana was one of the last states to give women equal voting rights. Indiana continues to be a home of grossly homophobic and anti-queer laws and regulations.

The articles that were discussed were:

  • It’s Not Easy Being Green(e): Digital Preservation in the Age of Climate Change. Benjamin Matthew Goldman. Source
  • Kumbier, A., & Starkey, J. (2016). Access is not problem solving: Disability Justice and Libraries. Library Trends. 64(3).

In connection to Goldman’s article:, some of the points that were discussed were:

  • a point was made about how sometimes these happen because of broken laws. A reference to the fact that medical departments still have to preserve reference copies and must have multiple duplicates and we talked about how that should be addressed.

  • Indiana University has multiple redundancy copies. What might be the effect of that?

  • The standard digital archiving policies of LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) and CLOCKSS (Controlled Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe). What is the effect of all of these copies, the server space, the energy, etc?

  • There were a few comments that expressed dissatisfaction at the articles audience–librarians won’t make clean energy.

  • In contrast, a point was made that perhaps they were the right audience as they are often the knowledge source in communities.

In connection to the Kumbier and Starkey article, the following points were made:

  • One attendee asked us to think about how accessibility is a practice and art, not just a performance about being “good” and “doing things right”
  • A attendee that uses a scooter described her experiences of trying to navigate stacks in a library and that they have had to essentially drag themselves down a stack aisle or try to cram walker in, as aisles are so narrow.
  • A point was made that #critlib needs to offer disability services as a default–you should not just list a “person for contact” as that puts the burden on thr disabled person.
  • There was a discussion about the use of the word crip, one attendee preferred it for themselves.
  • A quote “If we engage in so-called universal design–then who is the universal person who is being designed for?” (hint: it’s not #crip folx).
  • Everyone benefits from accessible design–an attendee talked about how she prefers the OpenDyslexic font for call numbers–another attendee is planning to ask for that font to be used in their redesign.
  • Several YouTubers were brought up, some of which I did not catch. An attendee recommended Tipsy Tullivan.
  • We closed by flipping the script a bit–one of the disabled-identified attendees asked the others when they realized they were abled. The stories that resulted made the whole event worth it, in my opinion.

Our next monthly meeting will be Monday November 4th, 2019, at 6:30PM EST at Soma East, in Bloomington. Current and graduate MLIS students, current professional or staff librarians, and educators are welcome.

Please contact briwats (a t) iu . edu with any questions or to be added to the mailing list.

Share on

Brian M. Watson
Brian M. Watson
Archivist, Historian, Digital Humanist