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Theoretical and Practical Implications of Power Dynamics in Academic Libraries

Critical Librarianship

ISBN: 978-1-83909-485-9, eISBN: 978-1-83909-484-2

ISSN: 0732-0671

Publication date: 17 August 2020

Abstract

Discourses on critical librarianship have been mainly theoretical. However, discourses with a practical application of Critical Theory in librarianship, critical librarianship, or library management and operations are limited. Yet, librarianship underscores efficiency and practicality in service provision with the dominant ideology in librarianship being practicality. Based on Critical Theory and emerging power dynamics in e-services, this chapter presents a discussion on the practical application of Critical Theory in academic libraries. The Web 2.0 technologies have triggered a shift in information seeking and use by empowering the academic library users to seek and use information from nontraditional sources. This shift in information seeking behavior and the resultant power dynamics has an impact on strengthening of the academic library as a public sphere; a public virtual space where people can meet and exchange ideas with the eventual outcome of democratization of knowledge. This chapter analyses the practical implications of power dynamics in academic libraries and the need for realignment of academic library functions to key Critical Success Factors (CSFs) including the role of library management, a focus on librarian power, a focus on user empowerment, creating awareness of the Web 2.0 services, and maximizing the use of Web 2.0 technologies. A proper realignment of the shifting power is necessary and must be pursued as a deliberate strategy by academic libraries to facilitate generation and sharing of information. It concludes by presenting the practical implications of power dynamics in academic libraries and recommendations on dealing with the emerging paradigm shifts.

Keywords

Citation

Oyieke, L. (2020), "Theoretical and Practical Implications of Power Dynamics in Academic Libraries", Hines, S.S. and Ketchum, D.H. (Ed.) Critical Librarianship (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 41), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 5-20. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0732-067120200000041002

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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