Library collections in the perspective of US “critical librarianship”


  • Francesco Giuseppe Meliti University Library of Lugano-University of Italian Switzerland



Library science, Critical Librarianship, IFLA, UNESCO, American Library Association


This article aims to offer an overview of collections from the perspective of Critical Librarianship or, for short, CritLib, whose principles have been applied in the United States to all types of libraries and all their functions. Last years in the US library sector attention has increasingly turned towards topics relating to “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”, identified precisely through the acronym DEI or EDI, with a line of studies, research and a certain “activism”, to increasingly reflect, in terms of services and collections, not only the diversities of their communities, but even the social justice.


Bats 2016 = Bats Raphaelle, Libraries after Charlie: From Neutrality to Action, ‹‹Library Trends››, 65 (2016), p. 128–142.

Bombaro 2020 = Diversity, equity, and inclusion in action: planning, leadership, and programming, ed. by Christine Bombaro, Chicago, ALA, 2020.

Cruz 2019 = Cruz Alice M., Intentional Integration of Diversity Ideals in Academic Libraries: A Literature Review, ‹‹The Journal of Academic Librarianship››, 45, n. 3 (2019), p. 220–227.

Farkas 2017 = Farkas Meredith, Never Neutral: Critical Librarianship and Technology, ‹‹American Libraries››, 48 (2017), p. 70.

Ferrieri 2020 = Ferrieri Luca, La biblioteca che verrà: pubblica, aperta, sociale, Milano, Bibliografica, 2020.

Garcia – Calkins 2019 = Garcia C. A. - Calkins Doman, Figuring Out Where to Start, and How: One Library’s DEI Strategies, ‹‹OLA Quarterly››, 25 (2019), n. 2, p. 22-28.

Good 2007 = Good Joseph, The Hottest Place in Hell: The Crisis of Neutrality in Contemporary Librarianship, ‹‹Progressive Librarian››, 28 (2007), p. 25–29.

Hines – Ketchum 2020 = Critical Librarianship, ed. by Hines S.S. - Ketchum D.H., Bingley, Emerald, 2020.

Jaeger – Taylor – Gorham 2015 = Jaeger Paul - Taylor Natalie G. - Gorham Ursula, Libraries, Human Rights, and Social Justice: Enabling Access and Promoting Inclusion, Lanham, Rowman and Littlefield, 2015.

Jaeger – Sarin 2016 = Jaeger Paul - Sarin Lindsay, The Politically Engaged Public Library: Admitting and Embracing the Political Nature of Libraries and Their Goals, ‹‹Public Library Quarterly››, 35 (2016), p. 325–330.

Jaeger – Shilton – Koepfler 2016 = Jaeger Paul - Shilton Katie - Koepfler Jes, The Rise of Social Justice as a Guiding Principle in Library and Information Research, ‹‹Library Quarterly››, 86 (2016), p. 1–9.

Jaeger – Taylor 2019 = Jaeger Paul - Taylor Natalie G., Foundations of Information Policy, Chicago, ALA-Neal-Schuman, 2019. Kristick 2020 = Kristick Laurel, Diversity literary awards: A tool for assessing an academic library’s collection, ‹‹Collection Management››, 45 (2020), n. 2, p. 151-161.

Leung - López-McKnight 2021 = Knowledge Justice: Disrupting Library and Information Studies through Critical Race Theory, ed. by Leung Sofia - López-McKnight Jorge, Boston, MIT Press, 2021.

Lilley 2021 = Lilley Spencer, Transformation of Library and Information Management: Decolonization or Indigenization?, ‹‹IFLA Journal››, 47 (2021), n. 3, p. 305–312.

Mathiesen 2015 = Mathiesen Kay, Informational Justice: A Conceptual Framework for Social Justice in Library and Information Services, ‹‹Library Trends››, 64 (2015), p. 198–225.

Mehra – Rioux – Albright 2018 = Mehra Bharat – Rioux Kevin – Albright Kendra, Social Justice in Library and Information Science, in Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, 4. ed., Boca Raton, CRC Press, 2018, p. 4218-4234.

Meliti 2020 = Meliti Francesco, La libertà intellettuale come valore fondamentale per le collezioni: una prospettiva internazionale, ‹‹JLIS.It››, 11 (2020), n. 2, p. 133–156.

Morriello 2020 = Morriello Rossana, Biblioteconomia critica e decolonizzazione delle collezioni, ‹‹Biblioteche Oggi››, 39 (2021), marzo, p. 25-38.

Mortensen 2019 = Mortensen Annabelle, Measuring Diversity in the Collection, ‹‹Library Journal››, 144 (2019), n. 4, p. 28- 30.

Rubin R. – Rubin E. R. G. 2020 = Rubin Richard - Rubin E. Rachel G., Foundations of Library and Information Science, 5. ed., Chicago, ALANeal-Schuman, 2020.

Sonzini – Sardo – Crippa 2022 = Sonzini Valentina - Sardo Lucia - Crippa Giulia, Problematiche e complessità di genere nelle discipline del libro, ‹‹AIB Studi››, vol. 62, n. 2 (2022), p. 351-366.

Stillwell – Bats – Lor 2016 = Stillwell Christine - Bats Raphaelle – Lor Peter Johan, Introduction: Redefining the Role of Libraries in the Political Process and in Conflict Situations, ‹‹Library Trends››, 65 (2016), p. 93–107.

Voels 2022 = Voels Sarah, Auditing diversity in library collections, Santa Barbara, Libraries Unlimited, 2022.

Winkelstein 2017 = Winkelstein Julie Ann, Social Justice in Action: Cultural Humility, Scripts, and the LIS Classroom, in Teaching for Justice: Implementing Social Justice in the LIS Classroom, ed. by Nicolle A. Cooke, Miriam E. Sweeney, Sacramento, Library Juice Press, 2017, p. 139–168.



How to Cite

Meliti, F. G. (2023). Library collections in the perspective of US “critical librarianship”. Bibliothecae.It, 12(2), 573–590.



Notes and discussions