The Public Academic Library: Friction in the Teflon Funnel
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How does one engage in a radical pedagogical praxis when constrained by a growing awareness of the ways in which libraries and librarians are institutions of hegemonic order? Using Henry Giroux’s work on critical pedagogy and its potential for cultivating an engaged citizenry, this article offers a rationale for developing an information literacy praxis that considers and creates opportunities for resisting the neoliberal imperatives that are re-fashioning higher education from a public good into training for the marketplace. We suggest that librarians can work to counter such a climate through thoughtful IL policy development and drop-in programming that makes critical sociopolitical interventions at particular historical moments, and offer practical descriptions of two library workshops on the 2003 Iraq War and the Occupy Movement. We conclude by exploring how one can advocate for libraries and librarians within this sort of programming, and how such advocacy is also, and necessarily, an act of radical pedagogical praxis in its intentional prioritization of democratic values and social responsibility.