Exploring Social Justice in


Brook, F., Ellenwood, D., & Lazzaro, A. E. (2015). In Pursuit of Antiracist Social Justice: Denaturalizing Whiteness in the Academic Library. Library Trends, 64(2), 246–284.


This article centres on an examination of racism and the culture of Whiteness in academic libraries across three major areas of service: space, staffing, and reference service delivery. For the authors, academic libraries are the products and representations of their parent institutions. Overwhelmingly staffed by White workers while serving an increasingly diverse student body, the multifaceted and often overlooked cultural domination of Whites and Whiteness in institutions of HE often results in the neglect or even abuse of students of color. Moreover, despite the tendency to view academic libraries as nothing more than an environmental context for the activities carried out within them, researchers have revealed the intimate relationship between the construction, distribution, and composition of space and the behaviors, opportunities, and well-being of those who occupy these spaces. As such, libraries continue to produce and reproduce a narrowed field of possibility for students, faculty, and librarians of color through three primary spatial mechanisms: (1) the physical, mostly, permanent features that make up their structure; (2) the semi-permanent features that make up the library’s configuration; and (3) the spatial practices governed by implicit and explicit rules and those who enforce them.