21st Century Feminist Libraries

Feminism offers a framework for approaching our work in libraries with empathy, equality, and social justice. With a feminist approach, we center the research, voices, and experiences of people whom the profession has marginalized. 

In this four-week eCourse, we will examine issues like salaries, pay equity, and occupational segregation, as well as faculty or staff status; access to information; feminist critique of information; technochauvinism; feminist theories of communication; emotional labor; and more. Through a variety of readings, lectures, and opportunities for writing and reflection, you’ll learn about creating a supportive feminist space in your library.

After completing this course, you will:

  • Understand the general history of feminism in libraries
  • Recognize systematic power dynamics in library organizations that contribute to sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, etc.
  • Understand how intersectionality informs our professional philosophies and practices
  • Be able to analyze policies, procedures, and processes for bias
  • Have a functional knowledge of the feminist divisiveness on pornography  
  • Have a working understanding of feminist-informed professional practices

Rebecca Tolley is a professor and librarian at East Tennessee State University. She coordinates the Sherrod Library’s research consultation service. She speaks and publishes on topics such as organizational culture, customer service, and cultivating empathy in library workers. She co-edited Generation X Librarian: Essays on Leadership, Technology, Pop Culture, Social Responsibility and Professional Identity (2011) and Mentoring in Librarianship: Essays on Working with Adults and Students to Further the Profession (2011). Her writing has appeared in anthologies, several library journals, and numerous reference works.

If you have questions or requests regarding accessibility, contact us at ce@ala.org or at 312-280-5100.