Human Operators

A Critical Oral History on Technology in Libraries and Archives

Editor: Melissa Morrone

Price: $50

Published: May 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63400-032-1

394 pages


Human Operators: A Critical Oral History of Technology in Librariesis a collective oral history covering many of the issues in technology in librarianship in the early 21st century. Via edited and compiled interview transcripts, readers get to “hear” the voices of librarians and archivists discussing tech topics from perspectives that are critical, social justice-oriented, feminist, anti-racist, and ecologically-minded.

This readable, conversational book aims to bring out specific critiques of technology as well as more inspiring aspects of what’s going on in the instructional, open source, free culture, and maker worlds in the field. The book is less about the technology per se and more about critical thinking around technology and how it actually works in people’s lives.

Includes interviews with Celeste Â-Re, Vivian G. Alvarez, Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez, Carol Bean, Jessica Anne Bratt, Michael Cherry, Chad Clark, Anita Coleman, Carmel Curtis, Hadassah Damien, Jim DelRosso, Jarrett M. Drake, Molly Fair, Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Bonnie Gordon, Drew Gordon, Michael Gorman, Jason Griffey, Elaine Harger, Jonathan H. Harwell, John Helling, Mandy Henk, Sarah Houghton, Jen Hoyer, Stephanie Irvin, Karen Lemmons, Jessa Lingel, Zachary Loeb, Alison Macrina, Mark A. Matienzo, Myrna Morales, Joel Nichols, Bess Sadler, Béatrice Skokan, Hana Sleiman, Jaime Taylor, Jaycie Vos, Cecily Walker, Andrew P. Weiss, Jessamyn West, Mita Williams, Stacie Williams, Andromeda Yelton, and Becky Yoose.

Target audiences

  • Librarians and archivists who want to hear about use cases, organizational impacts, and generally how people (staff and library users alike) are affected by technology in libraries.
  • Technologists who want to better understand how ideas are sparked, decisions are made, and hardware and software are deployed in libraries.
  • Other readers who think about technology and society.

About the editor

Melissa Morrone is a librarian at Brooklyn Public Library and manages the Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons there. She is a non-technologist who has long been involved in technology (writing CMS documentation; developing and conducting training on her organization’s ILS, Internet filters, and digital privacy; giving online research workshops for activists; doing everyday public library reference and computer support) at work and elsewhere.