Social justice as topic and tool: An attempt to transform an LIS curriculum and culture

Nicole A. Cooke, Miriam E. Sweeney, Safiya Umoja Noble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Training culturally competent and socially responsible library and information science (LIS) professionals requires a blended approach that extends across curricula, professional practice, and research. Social justice can support these goals by serving as a topic of inquiry in LIS curricula as well as by providing a scholarly framework for understanding how power and privilege shape LIS institutions and professional practice. This article applies social justice as a topic and tool for transforming LIS curricula and culture by exploring the implementation of social justice– themed courses and an extracurricular reading group in one LIS department. Exploring curricular and extracurricular cases in a shared institutional setting contextualizes key challenges and conversations that can inform similar initiatives in other institutions. Transforming LIS culture to prioritize social justice values, epistemologies, and frameworks requires multivalent strategies, community buy-in, and shared responsibility in terms of the labor of leading and sustaining engagement with social justice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-124
Number of pages18
JournalLibrary Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences

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