Tuesday, July 7, 2015

#CritLib Recommended Reading List


To Read

Last week I asked #critlib to recommend some reading to me. I haven't participated much with #critlib, but that's because I'm mostly fried by that time of night. This is important stuff, though, so I try to keep up with what is being discussed. However, I have volunteered to lead one of these discussions coming up, so I want to beef up on theories and theorists before then. For my own ease, I wanted to have all the readings in one place, but doing it here will help others who might not feel comfortable asking for the same recommendations. Also, I only got names in a lot of instances, so I'm hoping you all can recommend where to start with those theorists/writers.

Here's the list, in alphabetical order:
I've got a lot of reading to do.


Already Read

Also, here are some books that I've read that inform my perspective on librarianship. They tend to be a bit on the practical application side of things, but praxis is my jam, so... (Also, be warned: May Contain Some Misogyny.)
The subtitle for this book, "A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals," should give you a hint of why it's on my list. Alinksy is considered by many to be a founder of modern community organizing. 
Chodron's writing was the beginning of my becoming a Buddhist. She talks about compassion, both for ourselves and for others. Compassion and kindness are core to the kind of librarian I've become.
Practical application of epistemological theories (not that the authors talk about their work using that language, but that's what it is)...? Yes, thank you.
I'm of the opinion that anyone in a service oriented profession like librarianship needs to know some basic behavioral economics, and Kahneman won a Nobel for his work. Bonus: Kahneman's writing is accessible.
This is the reason there's a misogyny warning on my list, but in my defense: it's really only in one chapter. This book covers topics like epistemology, emotive ethics, philosophy, and beyond. I don't agree with some of his conclusions, but his writing emphasizes the idea of broader context.
Zipes looks at fairy tales from what he calls an epidemiological perspective. I've spoken with some people who are better versed in epidemiology than me, and they took some issue with Zipes theories, but there's still something to be said for reading a book that talks about how memes and ideas spread. (He basically says that Little Red Riding Hood changes from culture to culture for the same reason that Darwin's finches had different beaks.) Caveat: he writes like an academic instead of like a person, but it's worth powering through to get to the ideas.

What Else?

I've already got 500+ books on my To Read list on GoodReads, plus all those books up there, plus books I bought but haven't read yet, and so on and so on. I have more books to read than I can reasonably expect to get to in a lifetime. I know that, but I'm still going to ask: is anything else you'd add to this list? Articles are welcome, too. You may or may not have noticed that my To Read list up there is heavily waited towards women and people of color, and that's on purpose. Last year I noticed I'd been reading mostly cishet white American male authors and have been trying to correct for that. Shameful realization for a heartless, humorless feminist like me. However, any suggestions are welcome. I am starting with Foucault, after all.


  1. Add Paulo Freire and Jonathan Kozol. Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. Sorry - didn't think of these when engaging on Twitter as you gathered idea!

    Great list!

  2. I would add this one from In the Library with the Lead Pipe: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/beyond-the-threshold-conformity-resistance-and-the-aclr-information-literacy-framework-for-higher-education/