Tuesday, October 17, 2023

CFP: CJAL Special Issue: Libraries and/as Extraction

CFP URL: https://cjal.ca/index.php/capal/announcement/view/921

CJAL Special Issue: Libraries and/as Extraction


The concept of extraction (or extractivism) has been used in myriad disciplines — geography, international relations, environment, economics — often to describe social formations around natural resource management. However, we can also think about how extraction functions in academic libraries—with libraries being extracted from, or libraries doing the extracting—in how we see, for example, the growth of library consulting firms or how libraries collect materials produced by marginalized groups. Engaging with these ideas is not new; librarians have been researching extraction through other lenses, such as racial capitalism, neoliberalism, surveillance, and issues surrounding academic librarian labour. This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship seeks to hone in on the concept of extraction or extractivism as a logic and operating principle of current forms of capitalism within academic librarianship.

In their introduction to a special issue of Cultural Studies focusing on extractivism, Laura Junka-Aikio and Catalina Cortes-Severino describe the ways in which the concept is also central to understanding current capitalism, noting the broadening of this ideological construct that proliferates as “severe exploitation” as a “characteristic of contemporary capitalism and neoliberalism at large.” They continue to emphasize that this means extraction is not tied to a particular industry or activity, but rather, “understood also as an analytical and also political concept that enables the examination and articulation of deeper underlying logics of exploitation and subjectification that are central to the present conjuncture of capitalist globalization and neoliberalism” (2017, p. 177). 

Extraction relies on overlapping and multiple axes of domination and exploitation and the fragmentation of groups, but always centers power, and it is those questions of power that this special issue of CJAL seeks to explore. We invite articles and essays that interrogate any aspect of extraction in academic libraries and archives related to library policies and practices, library and educator labour, LIS theory and other theoretical traditions, LIS education, and more. 

Examples of topic areas on extraction in academic libraries include but are not limited to:

  • Extraction from libraries and library staff
    • The role of consultants in libraries, e.g. around DEIA, strategic planning, and other areas 
    • The role of vendors, e.g. vendors that sell tutorials to libraries
    • Educational technology 
    • Library value, material, and immaterial
    • Library instruction 
    • Overreliance on metrics and quantification
    • Libraries as institutions & library staff as individuals participating in extraction 
    • Libraries and archives as collectors - e.g. the tension between stewardship of Indigenous artifacts and repatriation in Canada and U.S, or, the University of Michigan has a vast Filipino collection due to U.S. colonialism in the Philippines, but also actively collects related material
    • Library labour, e.g. campus communities extract library labour, library extracts student labour and data
    • Data, e.g. patron, collection, and so on
    • The use of library collections for large language models/AI
    • Outsourcing, e.g. cataloguing, preservation, and other labour
    • Closed and proprietary platforms
    • Environment and energy, e.g. the move to cloud computing with its associated costs
    • Transactional relationships with faculty, staff, students, and other communities 
  • Library organizations extracting from members  
    • Volunteer labour in professional organizations, e.g. OLA, CAPAL, CFLA, ALA, ACRL, and others
    • The role of library-adjacent organizations, often nonprofits such as CARL, ARL, CNI, OCLC, Lyrasis, Ithaka, and others
    • Library consortia 

The intersection of any and all of these topics with race, gender, class, disability, nationality, sexuality, and other social identities are particularly of interest to us. 

The Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship represents a nation that is itself built on extracted land; as editors residing in Canada and the United States, we live and work on extracted land as well, and we acknowledge the tension of critiquing extractivism at the same time that it makes our lives and work possible. We also wish to note that land acknowledgements as a genre can themselves be extractive, as they benefit those doing the acknowledgment in the form of cultural capital and prestige but fail to disrupt the material relations of settler colonialism. 


Call for Proposals

The Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship (CJAL) invites submissions to our special issue on Libraries and/as Extraction. CJAL is an open access, peer-reviewed journal published by the Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians (CAPAL).

Authors interested in submitting a proposal are asked to submit their work (maximum 800 words plus bibliography) as an email attachment (Word document or PDF) to can.j.acad.lib@gmail.com by December 18, 2023 at the latest.

We encourage a variety of formats for final products, including traditional articles but also visual essays, reflective essays, creative writing, and zines. Articles submitted for review must fit the journal’s Focus and Scope. The journal is bilingual (English/French); proposals may be submitted in either language. For more guidance, please see the journal’s Focus and Scope.

Deadline for proposal submission: December 18, 2023

Notification of proposal acceptance: January 31, 2024

Deadline for article submission for peer review: April 15, 2024

Anticipated publication date: December, 2024

Additionally, we seek peer-reviewers with a variety of expertise, backgrounds, and identities, particularly at the intersections, and would like to credit peer-reviewers in the issue’s introduction with their consent. Developmental peer-review will be an option for interested authors that are selected in addition to traditional double-anonymous review.  Please fill out this form if you are interested in being a peer-reviewer for this special issue. Librarians working in Canada are especially encouraged to complete the form.


The Special Issue Editors

Maura Seale is the history librarian at the University of Michigan, providing research and instructional support for students and faculty in the history department. Maura holds an MSI from the University of Michigan School of Information, an MA in American studies from the University of Minnesota, and a graduate certificate in digital public humanities from George Mason University. Her research focuses on critical librarianship, library pedagogy, political economy and labor in libraries, and race and gender in libraries. She is the co-editor, with Karen P. Nicholson, of The Politics of Theory in the Practice of Critical Librarianship (2018), and of Exploring Inclusive & Equitable Pedagogies: Creating Space for All Learners from ACRL Press.

Nicole Pagowsky is Curriculum & Pedagogy Librarian at The University of Arizona Libraries. Nicole has been adjunct faculty with the UArizona iSchool since 2015, and as of 2021 is working toward a PhD in the same program. She is also the elected ACRL Instruction Section Chair for 2023-24. Her current research is focused on perceptions of librarian labour, programmatic critical information literacy, and faculty instructional development. 

Rafia Mirza is the Digital Scholarship Librarian at Southern Methodist University (SMU). Rafia holds an M.S.I. from the University of Michigan School of Information, and is working towards a Masters of Data Science at SMU. Her research focuses on digital humanities, library pedagogy, project planning and infrastructure in libraries as well as race, gender and labor in librarianship. She has contributed chapters to Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (Library Juice Press, 2017) and Debates in the Digital Humanities 2023 (University of Minnesota Press, 2023)More information can be found at https://librarianrafia.github.io/about/

Karen P. Nicholson (she/her) is Associate Librarian at the University of Guelph and Assistant Professor (Limited Duties) at Western University. She holds a PhD (LIS) from Western University, and her research focuses on academic libraries, critical librarianship, information literacy, time/space, and higher education. Karen is an iSchool Research Fellow at the School of Information Sciences University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for 2023-2025.



Junka-Aikio, Laura, and Catalina Cortes-Severino. “Cultural Studies of Extraction.” Cultural Studies 31, no. 2–3 (May 4, 2017): 175–84. https://doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2017.1303397