Including the Voices of Librarians of Color in Reference and Information Services Research

Amy VanScoy, Kawanna Bright

Abstract


Librarians of color make up a small proportion of information professionals, but their perspectives should still be included in theory and best practices. This study seeks to create an inclusive understanding of reference and information service (RIS) by exploring the experience of RIS for librarians of color. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, the experience of RIS for eight librarians of color, from various ethnic groups and types of libraries, is analyzed. Five themes of experience emerged from the analysis: uniqueness and difference; broad range of professional skills; messiness and beauty of the human interaction; working in a web of outside forces; and learning, growth, and change. In relation to prior research, findings show that these librarians of color experience reference and information work as multifaceted and user-focused, in common with librarians in general. However, they have unique experiences of reference and information services work because of microaggressions and discrimination and because of their focus on serving as a role model or mentor.


Full Text:

HTML PDF

References


Denise A. Agosto et al., “A Model of the Reference and Information Service Process: An Educators’ Perspective,” Reference & User Services Quarterly 50, no. 3 (Spring 2011): 235–44.

Marie L. Radford, “Encountering Virtual Users: A Qualitative Investigation of Interpersonal Communication in Chat Reference,” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 57, no. 8 (2006): 1046–59.

Marie L. Radford and Gary P. Radford, Library Conversations: Reclaiming Interpersonal Communication Theory for Understanding Professional Encounters (Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman, 2016).

RSS Management of Reference Committee, “Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers,” Reference and User Services Association, May 28, 2013, http://www.ala.org/rusa/resources/guidelines/guidelinesbehavioral.

“Diversity Counts,” American Library Association, 2012, http://www.ala.org/offices/diversity/diversitycounts/divcounts.

Amy VanScoy, “Fully Engaged Practice and Emotional Connection: Aspects of the Practitioner Perspective of Reference and Information Service,” Library & Information Science Research 35, no. 4 (2013): 272–78.

Amy VanScoy, “Making Sense of Professional Work: Metaphors for Reference and Information Service,” Library & Information Science Research 38, no. 3 (2016): 243–49.

Jenny Bossaller, C. Sean Burns, and Amy VanScoy, “Re-conceiving Time in Reference and Information Services Work: A Qualitative Secondary Analysis,” Journal of Documentation 73, no. 1 (2017): 2–17.

Jenny Bronstein, “The Role and Work Perceptions of Academic Reference Librarians: A Qualitative Inquiry,” portal: Libraries and the Academy 11, no. 3 (2011): 791–811.

C. Sean Burns, and Jenny Bossaller, “Communication Overload: A Phenomenological Inquiry into Academic Reference Librarianship,” Journal of Documentation 68, no. 5 (2012): 597–617.

Freeda Brook, Dave Ellenwood, and Althea Eannace Lazzaro, “In Pursuit of Antiracist Social Justice: Denaturalizing Whiteness in the Academic Library,” Library Trends 64, no. 2 (2015): 246–84.

Ione T. Damasco and Dracine Hodges, “Tenure and Promotion Experiences of Academic Librarians of Color,” College & Research Libraries 73, no. 3 (2012): 279–301.

Antonia Olivas and Richard Ma, “Increasing Retention Rates in Minority Librarians through Mentoring,” Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship 10, no. 3 (Winter 2009), ttp://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/content/v10n03/olivas_a01.html.

Ashley E. Bonnette, “Mentoring Minority Librarians Up the Career Ladder,” Library Administration and Management 18, no. 3 (2004): 134–39.

Joan Howland, “Beyond Recruitment: Retention and Promotion Strategies to Ensure Diversity and Success,” Library Administration and Management 13, no. 1 (1999): 4–14.

Teresa Y. Neely and Lorna Peterson, “Achieving Racial and Ethnic Diversity Among Academic and Research Librarians: The Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement of Librarians of Color—A White Paper,” College & Research Libraries News 68, no. 9 (2007): 562–65.

Camila A. Alire, “Diversity and Leadership: The Color of Leadership,” Journal of Library Administration 32, no. 3/4 (2001): 99–114.

Peggy Johnson, “Retaining and Advancing Librarians of Color,” College & Research Libraries 68, no. 5 (2007): 405–17.

Mark Winston, “Diversity: The Research and the Lack of Progress,” New Library World 109, no. 3/4 (2008): 130–49.

Nadia Caidi, Danielle Allard, and Lisa Quirke, “Information Practices of Immigrants,” Annual Review of Information Science and Technology 44, no. 1 (2010): 491–531.

Ann Curry and Deborah Copeman, “Reference Service to International Students: A Field Stimulation Research Study,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 31, no. 5 (2005): 409–20.

Pnina Shachaf and Sarah Horowitz, “Are Virtual Reference Services Color Blind?,” Library & Information Science Research 28, no. 4 (2007): 501–20.

Pnina Shachaf, Shannon M. Oltmann, and Sarah M. Horowitz, “Service Equality in Virtual Reference,” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 59, no. 4 (2008): 535–50.

Jennifer L. Bonnet and Benjamin McAlexander, “Structural Diversity in Academic Libraries: A Study of Librarian Approachability,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 38, no. 5 (2012): 277–86.

Brook, Ellenwood, and Lazzaro, “In Pursuit of Antiracist Social Justice.”

Sara Fine, “Reference and Resources: The Human Side,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 21, no. 1 (1995): 17–20.

C. Brandi Borman and Pamela J. McKenzie, “Trying to Help Without Getting in their Faces: Public Library Staff Descriptions of Providing Consumer Health Information,” Reference & User Services Quarterly 42, no. 5 (2005): 133–46.

Wendy Duff and Allyson Fox, “‘You’re a Guide Rather than an Expert’: Archival Reference from an Archivist’s Point of View,” Journal of the Society of Archivists 27, no. 2 (2006): 129–53.

Donald A. Schön, The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action (New York: Basic, 1983).

D. Jean Clandinin, “Personal Practical Knowledge: A Study of Teachers’ Classroom Images,” Curriculum Inquiry 15, no. 4 (1985): 361–85.

Ardra L. Cole, “Personal Theories of Teaching: Development in the Formative Years,” Alberta Journal of Educational Research 36, no. 3 (1990): 203–22.

Jeffrey W. Cornett, Catherine Yeotis, and Lori Terwilliger, “Teacher Personal Practical Theories and their Influence upon Teacher Curricular and Instructional Actions: A Case Study of a Secondary Science Teacher,” Science Education 74, no. 5 (1990): 517–29.

Tom H. Cook, Mary Jo Gilmer, and Carolyn J. Bess, “Beginning Students’ Definitions of Nursing: An Inductive Framework of Professional Identity,” Journal of Nursing Education 42, no. 7 (2003): 311–17.

Laurel E. Radwin, “Knowing the Patient: A Process Model for Individualized Interventions,” Nursing Research 44, no. 6 (1995): 364–70.

Maria Poulou, “Reflections of Pre-service Psychologists on the Role of the School Psychologist,” School Psychology International 24, no. 4 (2003): 378–93.

David A. Spruill and James M. Benshoff, “Helping Beginning Counselors Develop a Personal Theory of Counseling,” Counselor Education and Supervision 40, no. 1 (2000): 70–80.

John A. Smith, Paul Flowers, and Michael Larkin, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Theory, Method and Research (Los Angeles: Sage, 2009); Amy VanScoy and Solveig Beyza Evenstad, “Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis for LIS Research,” Journal of Documentation 71, no. 2 (2015): 338–57.

Tim Gorichanaz, “Experiencing the Bible,” Journal of Religious & Theological Information 15, no. 1/2 (2016): 19–31.

Rachel Annette Clemens, “Human Information Behavior, Coping and Decision-Making in the Context of a Personal Crisis: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Voices of Birthmothers on Relinquishing a Child for Adoption” (PhD diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2015).

Kiersten F. Latham, “Experiencing Documents,” Journal of Documentation 70, no. 4 (2014): 544–61.

Laurence Parker and Marvin Lynn, “What’s Race Got to Do with It? Critical Race Theory’s Conflicts with and Connections to Qualitative Research Method and Epistemology,” Qualitative Inquiry 8, no. 1 (2002): 7–22.

Heidi Julien and Shelagh K. Genuis, “Librarians’ Experiences of the Teaching Role: A National Survey of Librarians,” Library & Information Science Research 33, no. 2 (2011): 103–11.

Miriam L. Matteson and Shelly S. Miller, “Emotional Labor in Librarianship: A Research Agenda,” Library & Information Science Research 34, no. 3 (2012): 176–83.

Deborah A. Curry, “Your Worries Ain’t Like Mine: African American Librarians and the Pervasiveness of Racism, Prejudice and Discrimination in Academe,” Reference Librarian 21, no. 45–46 (1994): 299–311.

Joyce K. Thornton, “African American Female Librarians: A Study of Job Satisfaction,” Journal of Library Administration 33, no. 1–2 (2001): 141–64.

John J. Doherty, “Reference Interview or Reference Dialogue?” Internet Reference Services Quarterly 11, no. 3 (2006): 97–109.

Patrick R. Penland, Interviewing for Counselor and Reference Librarians (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh,1970), ED 049802.

Clara M. Chu, “Transformative Information Services: Uprooting Race Politics” (presentation, Black Caucus of the American Library Association Conference, Las Vegas, July 1999).

Patricia Montiel Overall, “Cultural Competence: A Conceptual Framework for Library and Information Science Professionals,” Library Quarterly 79, no. 2 (2009): 175–204.

James S. Coleman, “Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital,” American Journal of Sociology 94 (1988): S95–S120.

Grace Kao, “Social Capital and its Relevance to Minority and Immigrant Populations,” Sociology of Education 77, no. 2 (2004): 172–75.

Paul Bracke, “Social Networks and Relational Capital in Library Service Assessment,” Performance Measurement and Metrics 17, no. 2 (2016): 134–41.

Tim Schlak, “Social Capital as Operative in Liaison Librarianship: Librarian Participants’ Experiences of Faculty Engagement as Academic Library Liaisons,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 42, no. 4 (2016): 411–22.

Catherine A. Johnson, “Do Public Libraries Contribute to Social Capital? A Preliminary Investigation into the Relationship,” Library & Information Science Research 32, no. 2 (2010): 147–55.

Catherine A. Johnson and Matthew R. Griffis, “A Place Where Everybody Knows your Name? Investigating the Relationship Between Public Libraries and Social Capital,” Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 33, no. 3–4 (2009): 159–91.

Andreas Vårheim, “Trust in Libraries and Trust in Most People: Social Capital Creation in the Public Library,” Library Quarterly 84, no. 3 (2014): 258–77.

Tom Clark, “‘We’re Over-Researched Here!’ Exploring Accounts of Research Fatigue Within Qualitative Research Engagements,” Sociology 42, no. 5 (2008): 953–70.

Stacy Blake-Beard et al., “Matching by Race and Gender in Mentoring Relationships: Keeping our Eyes on the Prize,” Journal of Social Issues 67, no. 3 (2011): 622–43.

James R. Elliott and Ryan A. Smith., “Ethnic Matching of Supervisors to Subordinate Work Groups: Findings on ‘Bottom-Up,’ Ascription and Social Closure,” Social Problems 48, no. 2 (2001): 258–76.

For racial/ethnic matching in teaching, see Thomas S. Dee, “Teachers, Race, and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment,” Review of Economics and Statistics 86, no. 1 (2004): 195–210.

Colleen M. Eddy and Donald Easton-Brooks, “Ethnic Matching, School Placement, and Mathematics Achievement of African American Students from Kindergarten through Fifth Grade,” Urban Education 46, no. 6 (2011): 1280–99.

Raquel R. Cabral and Timothy B. Smith, “Racial/Ethnic Matching of Clients and Therapists in Mental Health Services: A Meta-analytic Review of Preferences, Perceptions, and Outcomes,” Journal of Counseling Psychology 58, no. 4 (2011): 537–54.

Sung-Man Shin et al., “A Meta-analytic Review of Racial-Ethnic Matching for African American and Caucasian American Clients and Clinicians,” Journal of Counseling Psychology 52, no. 1 (2005): 45–56.

Bonnet and McAlexander, “Structural Diversity in Academic Libraries.”

Melodie J. Fox, “‘Priorities of Arrangement’ or a ‘Hierarchy of Oppressions?’: Perspectives on Intersectionality in Knowledge Organization,” Knowledge Organization 43, no. 5 (2016): 373–83.

Fobazi Ettarh, “Making a New Table: Intersectional Librarianship,” In the Library with the Lead Pipe, July 2, 2014, http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2014/making-a-new-table-intersectional-librarianship-3/.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5860/rusq.57.2.6527

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


© 2017 RUSA