The Feminist Reference Desk

Concepts, Critiques, and Conversations

Editor: Maria T. Accardi

Price: $35.00

Published: October 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63400-018-5

408 pages


Number eight in the Litwin Books Series on Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, Emily Drabinski, Series Editor

Feminist pedagogy employs strategies such as collaborative learning, valuing experiential knowledge, employing consciousness-raising about sexism and other forms of oppression, and destabilizing the power hierarchies of the traditional classroom. Ultimately, feminist library instruction seeks to empower learners to be both critical thinkers and critical actors who are motivated and prepared to bring about social change. The concept of feminist pedagogy has recently energized current conversations on library instruction, so it is fitting and timely to consider how feminism might intersect with another vital student-centered service the academic library provides: the reference desk. Inspired by the ideas, possibilities, and discussions set in motion by Maria T. Accardi’s Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction (2013), this edited collection continues these conversations by considering how feminist strategies and philosophies might reshape, invigorate, and critique approaches to reference services. In short, this collection will provide critical and thought-provoking explorations of how academic librarians might rethink central reference concepts and services, from the reference interview, to the reference collection, to the staffing of the reference desk itself, from a feminist perspective.

About the Editor: Maria T. Accardi is the author of Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction (2013), for which she received the 2014 ACRL WGSS Significant Achievement Award, and a co-editor of Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods(2010). She is Librarian and Coordinator of Instruction and Reference at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana.



Maria T. Accardi


Female Articulation and the Librarian (Or, So Hard to Say)
Michelle Reale


Behavioral Expectations for the Mommy Librarian: The Successful Reference Transaction as Emotional Labor
Celia Emmelhainz, Erin Pappas, and Maura Seale

“Nothing More than a Gear in your Car:” Neutrality and Feminist Reference in the Academic Library
Nina Clements

Purposeful and Productive Care: The Feminist Ethic of Care and the Reference Desk
Sara Howard

Feminist Reference Services: Transforming Relationships through an Ethic of Care
Sharon Ladenson

A Woman’s Work Is Never Done: Reference outside the Library
Kelly McElroy


Seeing Writing Center Practices through a Feminist Lens & Applying the Lessons Learned to Reference Desk Practice
Dory Cochran

Margaret Fuller’s Legacy Interpreted for the Postmodern Library
Mellissa J. Hinton

Proceed with Care: Reviewing Reference Services Through the Feminist Lens
Elizabeth Hoppe and Karen Jung

Feminist Pedagogy and Special Collections Reference: Shifting the Balance
Melanie J. Meyers

Filling in the Gaps: Using Zines to Amplify the Voices of People Who Are Silenced in Academic Research
Dawn Stahura

Information of My Own: Peer Reference and Feminist Pedagogy
Lauren Wallis

Social Justice in the Stacks: Opening the Borders of Feminism in Libraries
Gina Watts


Intersectionality at the Reference Desk: Lived Experiences of Women of Color Librarians
Rose L. Chou and Annie Pho

Reference and Beyond: Aspiring Librarians and Intersectional Feminist Strategies
Nicole A. Cooke, Jennifer Margolis Jacobs, Katrina Spencer, Chloe Collins, and Rebekah Loyd

Feminist Pedagogy and the Critical Catalog
Katherine Crowe and Erin Elzi

Feminist LibGuides: Towards Inclusive Practices in Guide Creation, Use, and Reference Interactions
Amanda Meeks

Exploring a Feminist Disability Studies Reference Desk
Brian A. Sullivan and Malia Willey

LIS Graduate Student Workers, Feminist Pedagogy, and the Reference Desk: Praxis and a Narrative
Raina Bloom

Feminist Pedagogy and the Reference Desk: A Conversation
Jeremy McGinniss and Angela Pashia


THE CREATURE QUESTIONS ITS REFLECTION: Lyrical Feminist Explorations of Reference Desk Interactions
Corinne Gilroy and Alexandrina Hanam

Contributor Biographies