The demand to decolonise the curriculum has moved from a protest movement at the margins to the centre of many institutions, as reflected by its inclusion in policies and strategies and numerous initiatives in libraries and archives that have responded to the call, and are critically examining their own historic legacies and practices to support institutional and societal change. Narrative Expansions: Interpreting Decolonisation in Academic Libraries explores the ways in which academic libraries are working to address the historic legacies of colonialism, in the context of decolonising the curriculum and the university. It acknowledges and explores the tensions and complexities around the use of the term decolonisation, how it relates to other social justice aims and approaches, including critical librarianship, and what makes this work specific to decolonisation. The book is international in scope, and considers the contextual nature of decolonisation, with discussion of the impacts of settler colonialism, and post-colonial contexts with authors from Canada, the United States and Kenya, as well as universities and the British Library in the UK. Split into two sections, the book first addresses experiential contexts, discussing the environment in which the academic library is enmeshed: legacy knowledge systems, the neo-liberal university, the pervasive Whiteness of the higher education sector, the global publishing industry – how these structures are constitutive of coloniality and how they can be challenged. It then brings together theory and practice featuring case studies interpreting what it means to ‘decolonise’ in information literacy, collection management, inclusive spaces, LIS education, research methods and knowledge production through the lens of critical pedagogy, critical information literacy and Critical Race Theory (CRT). The book also addresses the impact and implications of the Whiteness of university library staffing. Bringing together the theory and practice of an area of critical concern to the academy, this book is an important reference for academic librarians, educators and researchers in LIS, education and sociology.
Jess Crilly is an independent author and has worked mainly in academic libraries, most recently as Associate Director for Content and Discovery, Library Services, University of the Arts London, up to September 2020. Jess's interests include critical librarianship, the meaning of and possibilities for the decolonisation of knowledge, and the multiple contexts and uses of archives.
Regina Everitt is Assistant Chief Operating Officer (ACOO) and Director of Library, Archives and Learning Services at the University of East London. She began her professional career as a technical author/trainer working with computer companies that developed software for the manufacturing, pharmaceutical and financial sectors in the US and UK. After managing a small library at a university in West Africa as a volunteer with the United States Peace Corps, she transitioned into the HE sector, developing and managing libraries, social learning spaces and other learning resources. At University of East London, she is institution lead on excellence in customer service delivery.