Social Sciences and Humanities

Submissions sought for Advances in Librarianship book series

  • 1.  Submissions sought for Advances in Librarianship book series

    Posted 02-26-2020 15:34
    Submissions are being sought for an edited volume entitled Libraries and the Global Retreat of Democracy: Confronting Polarization, Misinformation, and Suppression, which will appear in the Advances in Librarianship book series. A description of the goals of the book follows.

    The editors – Natalie Greene Taylor, Karen Kettnich, Ursula Gorham, and Paul Jaeger (who you may know as the editors of Library Quarterly) – are seeking statements of initial interest in contributing to the volume with a general topic idea by March 15, 2020; an abstract by May 1, 2020; and a complete draft by September 1, 2020. Authors will have the opportunity to make changes to their chapters after the outcome of the 2020 US Presidential election is known.

    The editors welcome submissions from any nation or region and about any type of library. If you have any questions or would like to express interest in contributing to the book, please contact: 

    Book description:

    In an age already defined by social, economic, technological, and environmental upheavals, the recent confluence of increasing political polarization, rapid spread of misinformation, and decreasing protections of freedom of information access and expression in many democratic nation-states has led to what has been called a global democracy recession. The intractable political dysfunction and paralysis in the world's two oldest representative democracies symbolize the widespread erosion of the robustness of democracies, extending from the Philippines to Peru to Poland. This loss becomes more profound when considered within the rapidly changing information infrastructure, spurred by climate change, technological development, increased migration, and an ever-increasing global wealth gap.

    Libraries – long hailed as arsenals of democratic culture – have the ability to help educate the public, promote information literacy and civic engagement, and empower the public to better find and evaluate the accuracy of information. Libraries' engagement in these activities, in turn, help them to address many of the most important political and policy issues of our day. Their contributions in this area already include a range of responses to the overwhelming amount of false information being generated online. Many libraries, for example, have developed tools and courses in "fake news", with a particular focus on promoting information literacy skills as they relate to political and electoral information. New challenges for libraries to attempt to address, however, seem to be appearing on an incessant basis. For example, as a reaction to political decisions meant to suppress participation in the census, many libraries and library organizations in the United States are now working together to enable newcomers and immigrant communities to be able to participate in the census – to ensure representation for the most marginalized populations.

    From assessing the needs of immigrants, to educating the public on privacy measures, to responding to environmental disasters, libraries have both continued the work being done for years, and also continuously worked to keep up with growing and changing demands. But how to determine whether the actions being taken are having the desired, or any, impact? Perhaps most significantly, how does an individual library determine what actions best meet the most pressing needs in the community that it serves?

    Libraries and the Global Retreat of Democracy: Confronting Polarization, Misinformation, and Suppression will present a collection of essays exploring historical contributions of libraries to the health and progress of democracies; identifying the political problems currently facing libraries as institutions; sharing best practices from programs designed to provide political literacy education and promote civic engagement in their communities; and furthering the dialogue on the ways in which libraries can help to diffuse political polarization, address significant policy issues of our day, promote political information literacy, support civic engagement, and facilitate participation in democratic processes.

    Some questions chapters might address that fit within this broad framework include:

    • Where should the field of librarianship start in this sea of threats to democracy?
    • What historical measures have libraries taken in terms of political participation and how would these be adapted in today's environment?
    • How do such issues as climate change, changing demographics, technological challenges, and wealth inequalities impact libraries' contributions to community activism, participation and inclusion?
    • What means do libraries have at their disposal to help with political polarization? and
    • What evaluations measures could be used to assess library efforts to minimize disinformation?

    These topics only scratch the surface though of the myriad ways libraries intersect with policy, politics, and democracy. This volume will begin the work of bringing together library scholars in pursuit of advancing this important research agenda. Libraries and the Global Retreat of Democracy: Confronting Polarization, Misinformation, and Suppression will be published as a volume in the Advances in Librarianshipbook series.

    For more information on the overall vision, objectives, coverage, and key audiences of the Advances in Librarianship book series, please see:

    Megan Price
    International Chair - MAHD/SSH
    Newsletter Coordinator - SLA Europe