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Saturday, April 21 • 9:30am - 11:00am
Let Our Voices Light the Way: Addressing Sensitive Topics in Libraries Through Dialogue

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In an increasingly polarized political and social climate, librarians encounter many sensitive issues representing many voices on the reference desk, in the classroom, and throughout the library. Library users may ask about fake news, debate Black Lives Matter, or be concerned about what bathroom to use. How do we prepare ourselves to meet these conversations with care rather than shutting them down out of fear? How can we invite more voices to shed light on these issues? In this facilitated discussion, library workers from public, academic, school, and special libraries will come together to share experiences navigating challenging issues.

Participants will reflect on their experiences engaging in sensitive conversations with library users. We will consider situations that went well, and ones that did not, to determine what strategies led to pain points or to moments of connection. Participants will learn about intervention strategies and then will practice these with real-life scenarios involving sensitive topics in libraries. Special attention will be paid to approaches that raise voices that might otherwise be silenced. The facilitators will gather feedback and wisdom from participants, and will share additional resources for further learning and growth.


Lindsay Marlow

STEM Instruction & Outreach Librarian, Oregon State University
Lindsay Marlow is the STEM Instruction & Outreach Librarian at Oregon State University. She received her MLS from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and previously worked as the Science Librarian at the University of South Dakota. She currently serves as the Treasurer for... Read More →
avatar for Kelly McElroy

Kelly McElroy

Student Engagement & Community Outreach Librarian, Oregon State University
Kelly McElroy is the Student Engagement and Community Outreach Librarian at Oregon State University Libraries & Press. She received her MLIS and Master of Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia. She organizes with her communities as a coordinator of the annual Zine... Read More →

Saturday April 21, 2018 9:30am - 11:00am PDT
Sousa Hilton Eugene Conference Center, 66 East 6th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97401-2667 USA