Disrupting Whiteness in Libraries and Librarianship: A Reading List

Developed by Karla J. Strand, DPhil, MLIS
Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian
University of Wisconsin System

This bibliography is number 89 in the series “Bibliographies in Gender and Women’s Studies,” published by the University of Wisconsin System Office of the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian.

This guide can now also be found on Zotero at https://www.zotero.org/groups/2877047/disrupting_whiteness_in_libraries_and_librarianship

This guide is (always) in progress.


This bibliography contains citations and links (when available) to resources focused on race, racism, and disrupting whiteness and white supremacy in libraries. Particular emphasis is placed on the field of library and information science and librarianship as a profession. The resources are organized by topic; non-LIS-specific resources can be found at the bottom of the list. Updates to the list will be highlighted at the top with the date. “New” indicates a new addition to this guide, not necessarily a newly-published resource.

If you have suggestions of resources for this list, please contact Karla Strand, GWSL, karla.strand@wisc.edu.

New to this page (last updated May 2022):

Blogs, Orgs, Periodicals, and Podcasts

Core Resources

Academic Libraries

Archives and Special Collections

  • Altman, A. (2021). Searching for Black women in the archives [series in four parts]. Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Retrieved from https://dp.la/news/searching-for-black-women-in-the-archives
  • Botnick, J. (2019). Archivists as Amici Curiae: Activating critical archival theory to confront racialized surveillance. Journal of Radical Librarianship, 5. Retrieved from https://journal.radicallibrarianship.org/index.php/journal/article/view/35.
  • Caswell, M. (2017). Teaching to dismantle white supremacy in archives. The Library Quarterly, 87(3), 222-235. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1086/692299
  • Caswell, M. (2014). Inventing new archival imaginaries: Theoretical foundations for identity-based community archives. In Identity Palimpsests: Ethnic Archiving in the U.S. and Canada, edited by Dominique Daniel and Amalia Levi. Sacramento, CA: Litwin.
  • Caswell, M., Broman, G., Kirmer, J., Martin, L., & Sowry, N. (2012). Implementing a social justice framework in an introduction to archives course: Lessons from both sides of the classroom. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 8(2).
  • Dunbar, A. (2006). Introducing critical race theory to archival discourse: Getting the conversation started. Archival Science, 6, 109-129.
  • Eagle, J.H. (2019). “I want them to know we suffer here”: Preserving records of migrant detention in opposition to racialized immigration enforcement structures. Journal of Radical Librarianship, 5. Retrieved from https://journal.radicallibrarianship.org/index.php/journal/article/view/32
  • Gilliland, A. (2011). Neutrality, social justice, and the obligations of archival education and educators in the twenty-first century. Archival Science, 11(3–4), 193–209.
  • Hobart, E. (2020). Ethical cataloging and racism in special collections. In Archives and Special Collections as Sites of Contestation, edited by Mary Kandiuk. Sacramento, CA: Litwin. Retrieved from https://scholarsphere.psu.edu/resources/710822b0-34ba-412c-a70e-d9e27bda29dc
  • Hughes-Watkins, L. (2018). Moving toward a reparative archive: A roadmap for a holistic approach to disrupting homogenous histories in academic repositories and creating inclusive spaces for marginalized voices. Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies, 5. Article 6. Retrieved from https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol5/iss1/6
  • Jules, B. (2016). Confronting our failure of care around the legacies of marginalized people in the archives. Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/on-archivy/confronting-our-failure-of-care-around-the-legacies-of-marginalized-people-in-the-archives-dc4180397280
  • Kandiuk, M., ed. (2020). Archives and Special Collections as Sites of Contestation. Sacramento, CA: Litwin.
  • Kim, E. (2017). Appraising newness: Whiteness, neoliberalism & the building of the archive for new poetry. Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, 1(2). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.24242/jclis.v1i2.38
  • Ramirez, M.H. (2015). Being assumed not to be: A critique of whiteness as an archival imperative. The American Archivist, 78(2), 339-356. doi:10.17723/0360-9081.78.2.339 http://maint.literatumonline.com
  • Sutherland, T. (2017). Archival amnesty: In search of Black American transitional and restorative justice. Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, 1(2). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.24242/jclis.v1i2.42
  • Williams, S. & Drake, J. (2017). Power to the People: Documenting police violence in Cleveland. Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, 1(2). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.24242/jclis.v1i2.33

Attribution and Citation

Collection Development

Critical Race Theory

  • Dunbar, A. (2006). Introducing critical race theory to archival discourse: Getting the conversation started. Archival Science, 6, 109-129.
  • Hall, T. D. (2012). The Black body at the reference desk: Critical race theory and Black librarianship. In A. P. Jackson, J. C. Jefferson, Jr., & A. S. Nosakhere (Eds.), The 21st-century Black librarian in America (pp. 197-202). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.
  • Leung, S.Y. & Lopez-McKnight, J.R., eds. (2021). Knowledge justice: Disrupting library and information studies through critical race theory. MIT Press.
  • Nataraj, L., Hampton, H., Matlin, T.R., & Meulemans, Y.N. (2020). “Nice White Meetings”: Unpacking absurd library bureaucracy through a critical race theory lens. Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship 6. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33137/cjal-rcbu.v6.34340. Retrieved via https://cjal.ca/index.php/capal/article/view/34340.

Diversity/Multicultural Studies Librarianship

  • Harrell, M. & Menon, V. (nd). Serving diverse library users: The multicultural studies librarian at an urban research university.
  • Ransom, C. (1994). The diversity librarian. In Cultural diversity in libraries, edited by Riggs and Tarin. NY: Neal Schuman.

Health Sciences Librarianship


  • Abdullahi, I. (1992). E.J. Josey: An activist librarian. Scarecrow Press.
  • Bundy, M.L. & Stielow, F.J. (1987). Activism in American librarianship 1962-1973. Greenwood Press.
  • Chancellor, R.L. (2020). E. J. Josey: Transformational leader of the modern library profession. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  • Cooke, N. A. (2017). The GSLS Carnegie Scholars: Guests in someone else’s house. Libraries: Culture, History, and Society, 1(1), 46-71. DOI: 10.5325/libraries.1.1.0046. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/libraries.1.1.0046
  • Evans, R. (2020). Catherine Latimer: The New York Public Library’s first Black librarian. New York Public Library. Retrieved from https://www.nypl.org/blog/2020/03/19/new-york-public-library-first-black-librarian-catherine-latimer
  • Hanbury, D. (2018). “It is simply out of the question to eliminate the colorline”: The development of Black Library Service in Atlanta and the integration of the Atlanta Public Library. Libraries: Culture, History, and Society, 2(1), 24-47. DOI: 10.5325/libraries.2.1.0024
  • Hand, S. (2012). Transmitting whiteness: Librarians, children, and race, 1900-1930s. Progressive Librarian, (38/39), 34-63.
  • Jackson, S.L., Herling, E.B., & Josey, E.J. (1976). A century of service librarianship in the United States and Canada. American Library Association.
  • Josey, E. J. (1972). Libraries, reading, and the liberation of Black people. The Library Scene, 1(1), 4-7.
  • Knowlton, S.A. (2017). The “Negro Branch” Library in Memphis: A case study of public services in a segregated southern city. Libraries: Culture, History, and Society, 1(1), 23-45. DOI: 10.5325/libraries.1.1.0023
  • Macias, M. (2016, October 23). Whiteness in libraries. Lowrider Librarian. Retrieved from https://lowriderlibrarian.blogspot.com/2016/10/whiteness-in-libraries.html.
  • Stauffer, S.M. (2017). Libraries are the homes of books: Whiteness in the construction of school libraries. Libraries: Culture, History, and Society, 1(2), 194-212. DOI: 10.5325/libraries.1.2.0194
  • Tate Wilkin, B. (2006). African American librarians in the far west pioneers and trailblazers. Scarecrow Press.
  • Tucker, J.M. (1998). Untold stories: Civil rights, libraries, and Black librarianship. University of Illinois Press.
  • Wiegand, W. (2017). “Any ideas?”: The American Library Association and the desegregation of public libraries in the American South. Libraries: Culture, History, and Society, 1(1), 1-22. DOI:10.5325/libraries.1.1.0001

Information Literacy

  • Josey, E.J. (1977). The information society: Issues and answers. Oryx Press.
  • Love, E. (2009). A simple step: Integrating library reference and instruction into previously established academic programs for minority students. The Reference Librarian, 50(1), 4-13. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02763870802546357
  • Pashia, A. (2017). Examining structural oppression as a component of information literacy: A call for librarians to support #BlackLivesMatter through our teaching. Journal of Information Literacy, 11(2), 86-104. Retrieved from https://ojs.lboro.ac.uk/JIL/article/view/LLC-V11-I2-1

Knowledge Organization, Classification, and Cataloging

Librarians of the Global Majority

Library Initiatives

LIS Programs

  • Cooke, N.A. & Sweeney, M.E., eds. (2017). Teaching for justice: Implementing social justice in the LIS classroom. Library Juice Press.
  • Cooke, N., Sweeney, M., & Noble, S.U. (2016). Social justice as topic and tool: An attempt to transform an LIS curriculum and culture. Library Quarterly, 86(1), 107–24.
  • Gabiola, J. (2016). Instruction for Inclusion: Addressing Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the LIS Curriculum. Paper presented at the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) conference, Boston, MA.
  • Greiner, Tony. (2008, May). Diversity and the MLS. Library Journal, 133(8), 36. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=backtalk-diversity-and-the-mls 
  • Ndumu, A. & Chancellor, R. (2021). DuMont, 35 years later: HBCUs, LIS education, and institutional discrimination. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 62(2), 162-181.
  • Pawley, C. (2006). Unequal legacies: Race and multiculturalism in the LIS curriculum. The Library Quarterly, 76(2). Retrieved from https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/506955
  • Peterson, L. (1996). Alternative perspectives in library and information science: Issues of race. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 37(2), 163–174.
  • Roberts, S.T. & Noble, S.U. (2016). Empowered to name, inspired to act: Social responsibility and diversity as calls to action in the LIS context. Library Trends, 64(3). Retrieved from https://muse.jhu.edu/article/613921
  • Speller, Jr., B.F. (1991). Educating Black librarians. McFarland.


  • Alabi, J. (2015). Racial microaggressions in academic libraries: Results of a survey of minority and non-minority librarians. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41(1): 57-53.
  • Alabi, J. (2015). “This actually happened:” An analysis of librarians’ responses to a survey about racial microaggressions. Journal of Library Administration, 55(3): 179-191.
  • Tonin, M. (2018). Do librarians discriminate? Library Journal. Retrieved from https://lj.libraryjournal.com/2018/01/opinion/backtalk/librarians-discriminate-backtalk/#_

Neutrality in LIS


Recruitment, Staffing, Hiring, and Pay

Reference Services

  • Hall, T. D. (2012). The Black body at the reference desk: Critical race theory and Black librarianship. In A. P. Jackson, J. C. Jefferson, Jr., & A. S. Nosakhere (Eds.), The 21st-century Black librarian in America (pp. 197-202). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.
  • Noble, S. U. (2018). Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. NYU Press.
  • Teves, S. N., A. Smith*, and M. H. Raheja. (2015). Native Studies Keywords. University of Arizona Press. *I’m including this book because of its other editors; I do not condone Andrea Smith’s false claims to Native identity.

Research Methods and Theory

  • Collins, P. H. (2019). Intersectionality as critical social theory. Duke University Press.
  • Crenshaw, K., N. Gotanda, and K. Thomas. (1996). Critical race theory: The key writings that formed the movement. The New Press.
  • Delgado, R. and J. Stefancic. (2017). Critical race theory: An introduction. 3rd ed. NYU Press.
  • Feagin, J. R. (2020). The White racial frame: Centuries of racial framing and counter-framing. 3rd ed. Routledge.
  • Freire, P. (2018). Pedagogy of the oppressed. 4th ed. Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Noble, S. U. (2018). Algorithms of oppression: How search engines reinforce racism. NYU Press.
  • Santos, B. de Sousa and M. P. Meneses. (2019). Knowledges born in the struggle: Constructing the epistemologies of the global south. Routledge.
  • Strega, S. and L. Brown. (2015). Research as resistance. 2nd ed. Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc.
  • Tuhiwai Smith, L. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and Indigenous peoples. Zed Books.
  • Walter, M. and C. Andersen. (2013). Indigenous statistics: A quantitative research methodology. Routledge.
  • Wilson, S. (2008). Research Is ceremony: Indigenous research methods. Fernwood Publishing.
  • Zuberi, T. and E. Bonilla-Silva. (2008). White logic, white methods: Racism and methodology. Rowman & Littlefield.

School Libraries


Other LIS

  • ALA/ARL. (2022). ALA/ARL cultural proficiencies for racial equity: A framework update . https://youtu.be/8HzhX85HCXo
  • Berry, J. D. (2004). White privilege in library land. Library Journal, 129 (11), 50.
  • Lance, K.C. (2005, May). Racial and ethnic diversity of US library workers. American Libraries, 41-45. Retrieved from https://www.lrs.org/documents/workforce/Racial_and_Ethnic.pdf
  • Lipsitz, G. (2008). Libraries & memories: Beyond white privilege 101. Progressive Librarian, (32), 3-9.
  • Morehart, P. (2018). Battling racism below the surface: Interactive session sheds light on bias in the workplace. American Libraries. Retrieved from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/battling-racism-surface/
  • Neely, T.Y. & Abif, K.K. (1996). In our own voices: The changing face of librarianship. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow.
  • Neely, T.Y. & Lopez-McKnight, J.R. (2018). In our own voices, redux: The faces of librarianship today. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  • Pho, A., & Masland, T. (2014). The revolution will not be stereotyped: Changing perceptions through diversity. In N. Pagowsky & M. Rigby (Eds.), The librarian stereotype: Deconstructing perceptions & presentations of information work (pp. 257-282). Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries. Retrieved from http://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1164&context=ulib_fac
  • Riggs & Tarin, eds. (1994). Cultural diversity in libraries. NY: Neal Schuman.
  • Schmidt, J. (2019). White fragility and privilege in librarianship. Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship 4. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33137/cjal-rcbu.v4.32166. Retrieved from https://cjal.ca/index.php/capal/article/view/32166.
  • St. Lifer, E. & Nelson, C. (1997). Unequal opportunities: Race does matter. Library Journal, 42–46.

Other resources on whiteness and anti-racism (not LIS-specific)

  • Anderson, C. (2016). White rage: The unspoken truth of our racial divide. Bloomsbury USA.
  • Bonilla-Silva, E. (2017). Racism without racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America. Rowman & Littlefield. [5th ed.]
  • Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241-1299.
  • DiAngelo, R. (2018). White fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism. Beacon Press. NOTE: Please do not only read this book but use it to supplement other works, especially by writers of color.
  • DiAngelo, R. (2011). White fragility. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 3(3). Retrieved from http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/view/249 NOTE: See above.
  • Dyson, M.E. (2017). Tears we cannot stop: A sermon to white America. New York: St. Martin’s.
  • Eberhardt, J.L. (2019). Biased: Uncovering the hidden prejudice that shapes what we see, think, and do. Viking.
  • Feagin, J. R. (2020). The white racial frame: Centuries of racial framing and counter-framing. 3rd ed. Routledge.
  • Frankenberg, R. 1993. White women, race matters: The social construction of whiteness. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Gusa, D.L. (2010). White institutional presence: The impact of whiteness on campus climate. Harvard Educational Review, 80(4), 464-490. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.17763/haer.80.4.p5j483825u110002
  • Hamad, R. (2020). White tears/Brown scars: How white feminism betrays women of color. Catapult.
  • Hill, M., ed. (1997). Whiteness: A critical reader. New York: New York University Press.
  • Johnson, T. (2020, June 11). When black people are in pain, white people just join book clubs. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://wapo.st/3stl0Bc.
  • Kendi, I. X. (2019). How to be an antiracist. One World.
  • McIntosh, Peggy:
  • Noble, S. U. (2018). Algorithms of oppression: How search engines reinforce racism. NYU Press.
  • Oluo, I. (2018). So you want to talk about race. Seal Press.
  • Oluo, I. (2020). Mediocre: The dangerous legacy of white male America. Seal Press.
  • Rankine, C. (2020). Just us: An American conversation. Graywolf Press.
  • Ricketts, R.. (2020). Do better: Spiritual activism for fighting and healing from white supremacy. Atria.
  • Saad, L. F. (2020). Me and white supremacy: Combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor. Sourcebooks.
  • Sen, S. (2018). Not quite not white: Losing and finding race in America. Penguin Books.
  • Slater, K. & Stern, M. (2021). 2021 Anti-racist roadmap. Kate Slater https://kateaslater.com/. Retrieved from https://kateaslater.com/antiracist-roadmap.
  • Stovall, T. (2021). White freedom: The racial history of an idea. Princeton University Press.
  • Tatum, B.D. (2017). Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?: And other conversations about race. Basic Books. [updated ed.]
  • Wilkerson, I. (2020). Caste: The origins of our discontents. Random House.