Friday, May 22, 2015

CFP: The Feminist Reference Desk: Concepts, Critiques, and Conversations

The Feminist Reference Desk: Concepts, Critiques, and Conversations
Call for Proposals (

Editor: Maria T. Accardi
Price: $28.00
Expected: Winter/Spring 2017
ISBN: 978-1-63400-018-5
Publisher: Library Juice Press

Feminist pedagogy employs strategies such as collaborative learning, valuing experiential knowledge, employing consciousness-raising about sexism and other forms of oppression, and destabilizing the power hierarchies of the traditional classroom. Ultimately, feminist library instruction seeks to empower learners to be both critical thinkers and critical actors who are motivated and prepared to bring about social change. The concept of feminist pedagogy has recently energized current conversations on library instruction, so it is fitting and timely to consider how feminism might intersect with another vital student-centered service the academic library provides: the reference desk. Inspired by the ideas, possibilities, and discussions set in motion by Maria T. Accardi’s Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction (2013), this edited collection continues these conversations by considering how feminist strategies and philosophies might reshape, invigorate, and critique approaches to reference services. In short, this collection will provide critical and thought-provoking explorations of how academic librarians might rethink central reference concepts and services, from the reference interview, to the reference collection, to the staffing of the reference desk itself, from a feminist perspective.

Proposals that consider feminist perspectives in the context of reference might consider questions such as:
  • In what ways can a feminist ethic of care revitalize or transform the reference interview? 
  • How might a feminist critique challenge the language we use to describe reference work, such as the “interview” and the "transaction"? 
  • How might a feminist approach guide policies for developing, weeding, or completely discarding reference collections? 
  • Can a feminist lens help influence principles for reference staffing, from the tiered Brandeis model to the librarians-only staffed desk to complete disintermediation—no desk at all? 
  • How might feminist approaches help us reconsider the delivery methods of reference services—face to face, virtual, and telephone? 
  • What about the notion of the neutral reference librarian—is such a thing even possible from a feminist perspective? 
  • Can intersectional feminist strategies in LIS programs help influence a new generation of librarians who incorporate anti-racist and queer approaches in their reference practices? 
  • Can a feminist reference desk help thwart the insidious encroachment of neoliberalism in the academic library? 
These guiding questions propose to stimulate a series of conversations about the possibilities of a feminist reference desk—the literal desk, and the multifarious metaphors it represents.

This volume will contain essays (~1500-5000 words) that examine the ways in which feminism might critique and reshape academic library reference work. Essays that are straightforward scholarship are invited and welcome, as are more hybrid approaches that incorporate scholarly writing with personal narrative or other strategies consistent with feminist methodologies.

Proposals should contain 1) an abstract of no more than 500 words describing the proposed contribution and 2) a short biographical statement about the author(s). Submit proposals to

Submission of proposals deadline: August 3, 2015
Notification regarding proposals: September 1, 2015
First drafts of manuscripts due: March 30, 2016
Editing and revision: April-September 2016
Final manuscript due to publisher: October 2016

About the Editor: Maria T. Accardi is the author of Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction (2013), for which she received the 2014 ACRL WGSS Significant Achievement Award, and a co-editor of Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods (2010). She is Associate Librarian and Coordinator of Instruction and Reference at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana.