Library Instruction West 2020
Seattle, Washington
July 22-24
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Thursday, July 23 • 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Nurturing Familia: Affirming Teaching Librarians of Color

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As librarians who identify as Latina, Chicana, Desi, immigrant, pocha, of mixed-status family, and visibly “other,” we challenge dominant ideologies of neutrality and objectivity as they are currently valorized in information literacy curricula through culturally sustaining pedagogical practices that celebrate and perpetuate linguistic and cultural pluralism (Paris, 2012). Resisting Eurocentric epistemologies hinges on our ability to be authentically present and approachable to first generation college students from underrepresented groups in ways that help them feel like they belong here. We explicitly underscore the value of community cultural wealth, emphasizing that unique cultural resources are salient to student scholar identity.

Having open conversations around justice in information processes is transformational for our teaching and teacher identity. In shedding the idea that lived experiences don’t belong in our pedagogies, we establish what Rendón (1994) calls a familia atmosphere. But familia must also extend to collegial interactions and institutional support, where we, too, feel as though we belong. In a profession with so few visible people of color, librarians of color (LOC) can feel isolated as a result of measuring ourselves against normative (Eurocentric) standards that privilege competition over cooperation. Therefore, how do we build up LOC to do the critical work of validating students of color in the classroom? We suggest that Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT), a feminist therapeutic practice developed at Wellesley College in the 1970s offers a practical, relational approach for developing affirming and supportive relationships among LOC that embolden us to be our whole selves in the classroom.


Torie Quinonez

Arts & Humanities Librarian, CSU San Marcos
avatar for Lalitha Nataraj

Lalitha Nataraj

Social Sciences Librarian, California State University at San Marcos
Lalitha Nataraj is the Social Sciences Librarian at California State University, San Marcos. She holds an MLIS from UCLA and a BA in English and Women’s Studies from UC Berkeley. Her research interests include critical race theory in LIS pedagogy, critical fashion studies, and South... Read More →

Thursday July 23, 2020 1:30pm - 2:45pm AST
HUB 334 (Seats 60)

Attendees (3)