Working Class Academics in the Library

Preater, Andrew ORCID:, Forster, Jo, Smith, Shona, Sidebottom, Kay, Suleman, Hina and Taylor, Lisa (2021) Working Class Academics in the Library. In: Critical Approaches to Libraries Conference 2021, 5-6 May 2021, Coventry, United Kingdom. (Unpublished)

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We are a group of students, teachers and library workers organising the Working Class Academics Conference 2021 (

We know from our work and educational experiences that libraries are key to students' independent engagement with scholarship and finding voice as writers and thinkers. They are vital in providing a conducive learning environment, which working-class students may not otherwise have available.

At the same time, the dominant cultures of education and librarianship are middle-class, and libraries represent and reflect middle-class values and norms throughout their educational practices. We recognise libraries, from their foundations to collections, reading lists, and as learning spaces represent a site of marginalisation within education settings.

The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified class inequalities and injustice, with students' access to their regular learning environments being restricted or unavailable, and many working-class students experiencing digital poverty due to lacking access to the devices and data connections needed to support online study.

In discussion, we reflect critically with CALC attendees on our experiences of the role of libraries in working-class educational experiences. We will ask how we can connect our critical practices as working-class educators with critical library practices, how we can better represent working-class experience and identity at the intersection of those critical practices, and how we can improve the interface between academic libraries and working-class students.

We reject discourses of deficit that position the knowledges and literacies of working-class students and communities as lacking, in fact we unapologetically celebrate the cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005) of working-class communities. We are particularly keen to create a space which sees, recognises and celebrates the knowledge of working-class library workers at CALC.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Education > Academic cultures
Education > Academic identity
Education > Higher education
Library and information sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Andrew Preater
Date Deposited: 16 May 2021 18:11
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:15


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