Critical librarianship in health sciences libraries: an introduction


  • Jill Barr-Walker ZSFG Library, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • Claire Sharifi Gleeson Library, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA



Critical Librarianship, Critlib, Social Justice, Librarianship


The Medical Library Association recently announced its commitment to diversity and inclusion. While this is a positive start, critical librarianship takes the crucial concepts of diversity and inclusion one step further by advocating for social justice action and the dismantling of oppressive institutional structures, including white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism. Critical librarianship takes many forms but, at its root, is focused on interrogating and disrupting inequitable systems, including changing racist cataloging rules, creating student-driven information literacy instruction, supporting inclusive and ethical publishing models, and rejecting the notion of libraries as neutral spaces. This article presents examples of the application of critical practice in libraries as well as ideas for applying critical librarianship to the health sciences.

 This article has been approved for the Medical Library Association’s Independent Reading Program.


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