Feminists at Work: Organizational Leadership in Academic Libraries

Brook, Freeda and Hallerduff, Martinique . Feminists at Work: Organizational Leadership in Academic Libraries., 2020 In: Critical Librarianship ( Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 41 ). Emerald, pp. 41-64. [Book chapter]

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English abstract

Feminist leadership in libraries is an emerging area of interest. Distinct from traditional leadership or female leadership, it includes such values as critiquing systems of oppression, valuing whole people, empowering individuals, and sharing information. Here we ask, what do feminist academic library leaders do? And can academic libraries operate as sites of resistance to systems of oppression? We surveyed 55 people and conducted 23 semi-structured interviews with library leaders focusing on how they enact feminist values in the workplace. In this chapter, we explore several key themes that emerged through our research: how library leaders specifically advocate for their staff and users, how organizational structures support or resist feminist leadership, and how decision-making functions in their organizations. While there is no single way to be a feminist leader, we discuss the varied ways our participants enact their feminism, from day-to-day words and actions to larger initiatives and programs. As to whether these libraries are functioning as feminist organizations and able to resist or even change dominant oppressive systems of power, the results are unclear. The culture of the parent institutions seems to be a decisive factor in how academic libraries operate, and none of our participants report success at fully breaking away from those norms. Yet our participants also demonstrate how they have sidestepped or even changed official policies to be more inclusive and flexible. In this chapter we present clear examples of feminist values enacted in academic libraries as well as direction for further research.

Item type: Book chapter
Keywords: feminist leadership, academic libraries, feminist organizations, academic library management
Subjects: D. Libraries as physical collections. > DD. Academic libraries.
F. Management.
F. Management. > FE. Personnel management.
Depositing user: Freeda Brook
Date deposited: 29 Sep 2020 16:17
Last modified: 29 Sep 2020 16:17
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10760/40497

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