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BC Library Conference 2017

April 19–21, 2017

Vancouver, BC

F11 - Anything but a Children's Librarian

Friday, April 21, 2017 at 1:00 PM–1:45 PM PDT
Salon C
Session Description

Once upon a time, when I was in library school, I thought I might become one of a number of different types of librarian. One role that was usually excluded from the list, however, was Children’s Librarian. A couple of years later, here I am working as a full-time children’s librarian. It is rewarding work, with many opportunities to engage directly in social justice work, and much of my pre-library work prepared me well for it. Why was I initially so resistant to this area of librarianship?
Some answers can be found when we look at the feminization of work related to providing services to children. These services tend to be undervalued within our society: work in this field is often underpaid, workloads are overburdened, funding is often scarce and precarious.
Within the world of library academe, there is a quiet disdain for the work of children’s librarians. In a discipline dominated by women but playing by the hypermasculine rules of academia, their work is seen as frivolous and irrelevant to the most interesting conversations. I know this because I myself had internalized much of it.
In reality, children’s librarians and other children's service providers are deeply engaged with social justice issues and keenly aware of the theory involved. They are often, in fact, on the front lines of these issues, neck-deep in the work with little time to contribute to the bigger discussions within the profession.
In this session I will talk briefly about the process I went through to disentangle some of these attitudes in my own work, highlight some of the incredible social justice work being done by children’s librarians in BC, and spur discussion about how we might recognize their work in the broader theoretical conversations of our profession.


Allison Trumble, BA, MLIS, Vancouver Island Regional Library

Allison Trumble is a Children's Librarian who lives and works on Northern Vancouver Island. She is the Chair of BCLA's Information Policy Committee and is a recent transplant from the city and from the world of Academic Librarianship.