Read with us!


For our first book of the Spring 2019 semester we will be reading Algorithms of Oppression. We will be meeting to discuss the book on March 5th from 3:30pm-4:30pm.


We read Haoles in Hawaii by Judy Rohrer for our Fall 2018 nonfiction selection. We hosted the discussion on November 7th from 3:30pm-5pm at the LIS Diner. We discussed settler colonialism as it applies to librarianship here in Hawaii and ideas for how we can be more inclusive of Native Hawaiians.


We talked about our concerns that books like The Hate U Give will only be read by people who already believe in its ideas. How can we advocate for empathy and an understanding of the racism that still impacts so many lives today? How can we, as progressive librarians, make sure that we are not supporting systems of oppression? #blacklivesmatter LibGuides and library displays are some ideas. But how can we advocate for social justice at libraries in areas where there is a lot of resistance?


For our nonfiction book over the summer, we read Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction. Here were some of the thoughts of the readers:


In the beginning of Chapter 2, Maria talks about a student asking her for articles which “prove” that homosexuality is wrong. In response, Maria informs him that she is a homosexual. Can self-disclosure be a feminist act? How can we use self-disclosure as a way to advocate for social justice?

Side note -- Maria keeps a personal blog where she talks about deeply personal issues, such as her experience as a victim of child sexual abuse. She is a professional librarian in an academic setting, teaches classes, presents at conferences, publishes books, and interacts with patrons. I'd be worried about having private information on a public blog in the internet age where my employers and colleagues could find it...

I also started trying to read Pedagogy of the Oppressed because she references it so frequently in this book, but I had a hard time reading it. Paolo Freire writes in a very academic, sort of abstract way.


I definitely think self-disclosure can be a feminist act. I think, like you mention, it can take a lot of bravery and a willingness to sacrifice some privacy (and potentially safety), but I think generally knowing someone who identifies a particular way or who has experienced a particular circumstance both helps the recipients of that information realize how they can connect with someone that they maybe wouldn't have been willing to before based on that identity/experience, and also to realize how common or widespread those identities/experiences can be. 

I do think, though, that some people are really resistant to learning personal information about others, sometimes in general and sometimes depending on the circumstance. (I have a story about something that happened at my last job that I'll tell you guys when we are together next time). This makes me think of our BBW conversation about The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (Holiday have you read it?) about how many people feel really burdened by others' expressions of sadness, which makes being sad a really isolating experience. But to bring it back to Feminist Pedagogy, Accardi argues that it is feminist to value lived experience and one another's voices. So maybe those who agree with that or already identify as feminists would be receptive to others' self-disclosure; but then how can we get other people on board so that self-disclosure can be a more effective social justice tool? 


For our second book club, we read a work of fiction, Americanah by Chimamandah Ngozi Adichie. We discussed the story itself and the themes the book presents around racism, sexism, and immigration, as well as mental health. Key points of our discussion:

  • Reader response theories and how our different experiences lead us to interpret stories differently.

  • How can we be progressive librarians and create social change when we work in communities which already reflect our own values? And how can we create social change in communities which do not reflect our values?

  • The representation of rape in fiction and media and our readers' advisory responsibilities.


For our first book club, the Diversity Council and Progressive Librarians Guild UH Manoa Student Chapter invited students to add book suggestions and select from those titles. Our first book was Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People. We discussed how this book can inform our professional practice, and how we could consider this book when it comes to readers' advisory work.

Key points of our discussion:

  • How can we monitor our own biases so that they do not interfere with our professional practice?

  • Librarians are not neutral; to remain neutral in an oppressive system is to be on the side of the oppressor.

  • How can we be agents of social change and advocates for social justice in communities which promote hate, censorship, and misinformation?


Together with the Diversity Council of UH Manoa's LIS Department, the Progressive Librarians Guild UH Manoa Student Chapter worked to start a book club for LIS students.

We will be reading two books per semester, including Summer semesters. We will read one fiction book and one nonfiction book. These books will not necessarily be books on the topic of librarianship, but we will include in our discussion the relevance of the work to our professional practice.


©2018 by Progressive Librarians Guild UH Manoa Student Chapter. Proudly created with

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now