Topographies of Whiteness

Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science

Editor: Gina Schlesselman-Tarango

Price: $60

Published: September 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63400-022-2

350 pages


This book is number two in the Litwin Books/Library Juice Press Series on Critical Race Studies and Multiculturalism in LIS, Rose L. Chou and Annie Pho, series editors.

Exploring the diverse terrain that makes up library and information science (LIS), this collection features the work of scholars, practitioners, and others who draw from a variety of theoretical approaches to name, problematize, and ultimately fissure whiteness at work. Contributors not only provide critical accounts of the histories of whiteness – particularly as they have shaped libraries and archives in higher education – but also interrogate current formations, from the policing of people of color in library spaces to imagined LIS futures. This volume also considers possibilities for challenging oppressive legacies and charting a new course towards anti-racist librarianship, whether in the classroom, at the reference desk, or elsewhere.

Gina Schlesselman-Tarango is an Instructional Services and Initiatives Librarian at California State University, San Bernardino. She facilitates critical information literacy opportunities for students and faculty, teaches a first-year seminar course, provides reference services, and is a collection development liaison to sociology, criminal justice, and gender and sexuality studies programs. She holds a BA in sociology/anthropology, a master’s of social sciences, and an MLIS. Her research interests include gender and race in LIS, critical information literacy, and feminist navigations of infertility.

Table of Contents

Todd Honma


Gina Schlesselman-Tarango

Early Formations: Tracing the Historical Operations of Whiteness

A Revisionist History of Andrew Carnegie’s Library Grants to Black Colleges
Shaundra Walker

Interrogating Whiteness in College and University Archival Spaces at Predominantly White Institutions
Nicole M. Joseph, Katherine M. Crowe, and Janiece Mackey

The Academic Research Library’s White Past and Present
Ian Beilin

Present Topographies: Surveying Whiteness in Contemporary LIS

The Weight of Being a Mirror: A Librarian’s Short Autobiography
Sarah Hannah Gómez

Looking the Part
Jessica Macias

Nostalgia, Cuteness, and Geek Chic: Whiteness in Orla Kiely’s Library
Vani Natarajan

White Feminism and Distributions of Power in Academic Libraries
Megan Watson

Who Killed the World? White Masculinity and the Technocratic Library of the Future
Rafia Mirza and Maura Seale

The Whiteness of Practicality
David James Hudson

Fissures: Imagining New Cartographies

Mapping Topographies from the Classroom: Addressing Whiteness in the LIS Curriculum
Nicole A. Cooke, Katrina Spencer, Jennifer Margolis Jacobs, Cass Mabbott, Chloe Collins, and Rebekah M. Loyd

Mapping Whiteness at the Reference Desk
April M. Hathcock and Stephanie Sendaula

My Librarianship is Not for You
Jorge Ricardo López-McKnight

Breaking Down Borders: Dismantling Whiteness Through International Bridges
Natalie Baur, Margarita Vargas-Betancourt, and George Apodaca

Disrupting Whiteness: Three Perspectives on White Anti-Racist Librarianship
With essays by Melissa Kalpin Prescott, Kristyn Caragher, and Katie Dover-Taylor

About the Contributors