Critical race theory in the lis curriculum

Amelia Gibson, Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Megan Threats

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Scopus citations


Purpose – We examine the reading lists for required foundational library and information science (LIS) courses at the top 20 American Library Association-accredited LIS programs in North America; explore the extent to which critical race theory (CRT) and other critical literatures, methods, and approaches were engaged; and discuss the implications of the findings for LIS education.Methodological Approach – We conducted quantitative and qualitative content analyses of foundational required readings for the top 20 Master of Library Science/Master of Library and Information Science programs (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). The sampling process was twofold. The initial sampling included development of the foundational course sample, and the secondary sampling included development of the sample of required readings. Findings – The vast majority of the required foundational courses examined provided students with little to no exposure to CRT or critical theory. Originality/Value – CRT and its related concepts provide a structural framework for preparing LIS students and graduates to recognize and address racism, to understand “how power and privilege shape LIS institutions and professional practice” (Cooke, Sweeney, & Noble, 2016, p. 107), and to embrace social justice as an LIS value. Incorporating CRT into existing courses is the first step in pushing the profession in this direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Librarianship
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Librarianship
ISSN (Print)0065-2830

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Critical race theory
  • Diversity
  • Education
  • Foundations
  • Library and information science


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