Scott Sikes (Emory & Henry College, USA)

Toward New Possibilities for Library and Information Science: The Use of Social Media in the 2018 West Virginia Teachers' Strike

ISBN: 978-1-80382-380-5, eISBN: 978-1-80382-379-9

ISSN: 0065-2830

Publication date: 1 March 2023


Sikes, S. (2023), "Prelims", Toward New Possibilities for Library and Information Science: The Use of Social Media in the 2018 West Virginia Teachers' Strike (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 51), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-xi.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Scott Sikes

Half Title Page


Series Page


Advances in Librarianship Editor

  • Bharat Mehra, The University of Alabama, Series Editor

Advances in Librarianship Editorial Board

  • Denise E. Agosto, Drexel University

  • Wade Bishop, University of Tennessee Knoxville

  • John Buschman, Seton Hall University

  • Michelle Caswell, University of California Los Angeles

  • Ursula Gorham, University of Maryland

  • Sandra Hughes-Hassell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • R. David Lankes, University of South Carolina

  • Don Latham, Florida State University

  • Jerome Offord, Lincoln University of Missouri

  • Ricardo L. Punzalan, University of Maryland

  • Brian Wentz, Shippensburg University

  • Lynn Westbrook, University of Texas

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Emory & Henry College, USA

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2023

Copyright © 2023 Scott Sikes.

Published under exclusive license by Emerald Publishing Limited.

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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-80382-380-5 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-80382-379-9 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-80382-381-2 (Epub)

ISSN: 0065-2830 (Series)


Series Editor's Introduction xi
About the Author xi
Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction 1
Issues of Social Justice in LIS Scholarship and Education 3
Research and the Appalachian Region 4
Aims and Objectives 6
Chapter One: Mystery and Wonder 9
Higher Education and the Marketplace 11
The Contradictions of My Own Position 13
The Pursuit of Knowledge 15
The Question of Academic Disciplines and the LIS Perspective 17
Dialectical Thinking, Critical Inquiry, and Transcendance 20
A Reflective Journey 23
Chapter Two: The Strike and Issues of Social Media 27
Understanding Collective Action 30
The Decline of Institutions and the Rise of Social Media 32
Appalachian Identity and Resistance 35
Theoretical Implications for the Field of LIS 37
Critical Theory and LIS 37
Collective Action and LIS 38
Collective Identity and LIS 39
Chapter Three: Theoretical and Epistemological Frameworks 41
Collective Action and Social Movements 41
Overcoming the Problem of Self-Interest 42
Rationalism, Modernity, and Its Discontents 44
False Dichotomies 46
Meaning in Contradiction: Dialectical Thinking and the Critical Perspective 48
Technology and Social Movements 50
Techno-Centrism and the Modern World 50
Social Media and Contemporary Social Movements 52
Implications for Collective Action 53
Social Media and the Promise of Democracy 54
A Critical Perspective of Social Media and Protest 55
Collective Identity, Place, and Refusal 58
Collective Identity and Social Movements 58
Social Media and Identity 59
Place-Based Identity 60
Imagined Appalachia and Refusal/Resistance 62
Chapter Four: The Puzzle of Academic Research 65
Slaying the Positivist Father 66
A Critical Perspective and the Methodological Conundrum 67
Immanent Transcendence 68
Sociopolitical Positionality 70
Building the Bricolage 72
Using Qualitative and Interpretivist Methods for Critical Inquiry 73
The Spirit of Ethnography 74
Methods of Research 77
Sampling and Procedures 78
Data Analysis 79
Unruly Doubts and Tumultuous Realities 81
Chapter Five: Telling the Story 85
The Importance of Storytelling 85
Assembling the Story 87
Telling the Story 89
Part I: Beginnings 89
Part II: Talking About the Union Can Be Complicated 90
Part III: Caught in the Middle 91
Part IV: It's the Insurance 92
Part V: On Strike 93
Part VI: A Page Went Up on Facebook 93
Part VII: All the Information They Had 95
Part VIII: Where Are You Going to Be? 96
Part IX: 15 Things Could Happen in 10 Minutes 97
Part X: #55Strong 99
Part XI: The Bigger Picture 102
Part XII: It Was About the Kids 103
Processing the Story 105
The Role of Social Media in the Strike 105
The Impact of Social Media on the Strike 107
A Sense of Collective Identity 109
Chapter Six: Beyond Rationalism 111
Social Media and the Strike 113
The Strike as a Successful Failure 114
The Importance of Collective Identity 116
The Transcendent Moment 118
Chapter Seven: A Reflective Journey 121
Research in the Midst of a Global Pandemic 122
A Particular Form of Torture 124
Toward New Possibilities 126
Embracing Our Humanity 126
Embracing Creativity 127
Embracing Connection 129
References 133
Index 147

Series Editor's Introduction

I am delighted to take this opportunity and introduce myself as the new Series Editor of Advances in Librarianship since January 2021. In this capacity, I plan to extend the series' impact via integrating a critical perspective that spotlights social justice and inclusive praxis from the shadows to become an emerging canon at the very core of who we are and what we value as legit in Library and Information Science (LIS) scholarship and practice. This strategic vision requires destabilizing of entrenched hegemonies within our privileged ranks and external communities to alleviate intersecting political, economic, social, and cultural anxieties, and power imbalances we witness today. As we move toward the quarter-century mark, we also need to effectively document such paradigmatic shifts in LIS, serving as a foundation of inspiration upon which, together in our multiple identities and diversities, we can proudly contribute to the building of a meaningful society toward a brighter future for our children to inherit.

New stimulating models reimagining (or extending) the roles for cultural memory institutions (e.g., libraries, museums, archives, schools, etc.) and the field of information are much required to develop symbolic and real infrastructures for moving us forward. We also need to better tell our stories of information activism and community mobilization in the face of overwhelming challenges to human existence, from forces of neoliberal corporatization, political ransacking, media irresponsibility, climate change, environmental degradation, pandemic dis/misinformation, etc. What do the contemporary threats of human extinction and cultural decay mean for LIS professionals, be it scholars, researchers, educators, practitioners, students, and others embedded in a variety of information settings? Not only does it require actions in the “doing” of resistance via information to decenter dysfunctional powerbrokers and their oppressions and entitled privileges. However, disseminating a forward-thinking agenda and narrative beyond our internally focused bastardized institutional bastions is equally important, as we adopt an active stance to promote fairness, justice, equity/equality, change agency, empowerment, community building, and community development.

Advances in Librarianship holds a special place in the hands, hearts, and minds of readers as a key platform to support creative ideas and practices that change and better articulate the vital contributions of libraries and the impact of information on diverse multicultural communities in a global network information society. Moving forward, my aim for the series is to engage our diverse professional communities in critical discourse that enable real transformations to occur. It is important to propel progress in shifting entrenched positionalities in LIS, while making visible content related to the “margins.” Decentering canons and practices toward equity of representation, inclusivity, and progressive change will naturally occur. Intersecting social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals in recent times demand an urgent response from the LIS professions in this regard.

I am truly honored and privileged to build on the legacy of Paul T. Jaeger, who served as Series Editor of Advances in Librarianship since 2013. His research helped to mobilize LIS in addressing concerns surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion more substantially beyond past lip service, also shaping the focus of the book series. I plan to operationalize new directions for single- or multi-authored book-length explorations and edited collections by shifting focus on understudied spaces, invisible populations from the margins, and knowledge domains that have been under-researched or under-published in what we consider as high impactful venues in LIS and beyond. Examples might involve a reflective journey that established, or newly emerging LIS scholars, researchers, practitioners, and students critically reflect, assess, evaluate, and propose solutions or actions to change entrenched practices and systemic imbalanced inequities in different library and information-related settings. It might also involve decolonizing LIS publication industries in their biased Euro/Anglo-centricities with inclusion of content from geographical diversities around the world.

I am reaching out to our multiple audiences for their support toward these goals in spreading the word for proposals to new volumes in the series. Let us find our “collective voice” in the LIS professions to make us all uncomfortable as we continue to “push the buttons,” thereby, becoming stronger in our quest to further social justice and develop our humanity, human dignity, respect, and potential to the fullest.

Bharat Mehra

EBSCO Endowed Chair in Social Justice and Professor

School of Library and Information Studies

University of Alabama

About the Author

Scott Sikes received his Ph.D. in Communication and Information from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He is the Director of the Appalachian Center for Civic Life at Emory & Henry College in southwestern Virginia and is an Assistant Professor and the Chair of the Interdisciplinary Program in Civic Innovation.


This work would not have been possible without the assistance and support of multiple people. At the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Suzie Allard, Carolyn Hank, and Tamar Shirinian were invaluable teachers and guides as I conducted the research that led to this book.

As a mentor and colleague, Bharat Mehra has shaped my understanding of the field of library and information science, has served as a model for work that is focused on issues of social justice, and has helped me become a stronger scholar and writer.

I can claim no better friend than Tal Stanley who, over the course of an ongoing conversation that has lasted many years now, has helped me in innumerable ways clarify my thinking and my writing.

I am utterly grateful for the love and support of my spouse, Felicia Lowman-Sikes, who helps me find the right direction by asking hard questions and by listening with patience and affection as I puzzle my way through the vexing issues in my mind. She and our daughter, Madeline, are my biggest sources of strength and encouragement.

Most importantly, I am thankful to every West Virginia teacher who took the time to talk with me for this project. They were willing and enthusiastic contributors, never hesitating to share or to answer my questions. The heart of this story belongs to them.