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Book part
Publication date: 1 May 2019

Bharat Mehra

The chapter introduces the reader to select language of human sexuality and the definitions and characteristics of some key terms related to lesbian, gay, bisexual…

Abstract

The chapter introduces the reader to select language of human sexuality and the definitions and characteristics of some key terms related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning/queer (LGBTQ+), identifies different theoretical perspectives of human sexuality and sexual orientation, and discusses select LGBTQ+ theories and concepts in a historical context that library and information science (LIS) professionals should consider while performing their roles related to information creation–organization–management–dissemination–research processes. It helps better understand the scope of what is LGBTQ+ information and traces its interdisciplinary connections to reflect on its place within the LIS professions. The chapter discusses these implications with the expectation of the LIS professional to take concrete actions in changing the conditions that lack fairness, equality/equity, justice, and/or human rights for LGBTQ+ people via the use of information. Important considerations in this regard include the need for an integrative interdisciplinary LGBTQ+ information model, growth of a diversified LGBTQ+ knowledge base and experiences, holistic LGBTQ+ information representations, LGBTQ+ activism, and participatory engagement and inclusion of LGBTQ+ users.

Details

LGBTQ+ Librarianship in the 21st Century: Emerging Directions of Advocacy and Community Engagement in Diverse Information Environments
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-474-9

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Book part
Publication date: 1 May 2019

Bharat Mehra

Abstract

Details

LGBTQ+ Librarianship in the 21st Century: Emerging Directions of Advocacy and Community Engagement in Diverse Information Environments
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-474-9

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Book part
Publication date: 10 November 2017

Bharat Mehra, Bradley Wade Bishop and Robert P. Partee

This chapter presents a gap analysis of the perspectives of small businesses and rural librarians in Tennessee in order to develop an implementation blueprint of a public…

Abstract

This chapter presents a gap analysis of the perspectives of small businesses and rural librarians in Tennessee in order to develop an implementation blueprint of a public library small business toolkit, a resource that the state’s rural public libraries can create for small businesses in the future.

The chapter reports on select comparison data sets collected via two exploratory online surveys with small businesses and rural public librarians, respectively, in an externally funded planning grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ National Leadership Grants for Libraries (Research category) to the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee.

Findings from the gap analysis of the perspectives of small businesses and rural librarians provide similarities and differences between the two stakeholder groups in terms of

  • existing assistance needs of small businesses,

  • information-related challenges small businesses experience,

  • desired public library use, and

  • information-related components of a public library small business toolkit.

existing assistance needs of small businesses,

information-related challenges small businesses experience,

desired public library use, and

information-related components of a public library small business toolkit.

The study is a unique example of action research based on varied levels of participation in rural research and action, learning through collaboration, community inquiry into everyday experiences and potential impact, use of mixed methods, and the situated nature of applications and concrete outcomes. It serves as a pilot case experience and prototype assessment test bed to expand strategies for the entire Appalachian region and other rural environments in the future.

Details

Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-112-6

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Book part
Publication date: 26 February 2016

Bharat Mehra and Lisette Hernandez

In India, recently on December 11, 2013, the Supreme Court re-established a ban on gay sex following a four-year period of decriminalization that had helped bring…

Abstract

Purpose

In India, recently on December 11, 2013, the Supreme Court re-established a ban on gay sex following a four-year period of decriminalization that had helped bring homosexuality out of the closet in this communally conservative country. In the light of such prosecution and denial of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) human rights in India, this chapter presents a library manifesto of action for progressive change in support of this marginalized and “invisible” population.

Methodology/approach

Content analysis of online news articles published during November 14, 2013–January 14, 2014 in The Times of India (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india), one of India’s most popular English newspaper, identifies proactive economic, educational, legal, political, and social actions libraries can adopt as agents of human rights protection to integrate a social justice agenda on behalf of this subjugated population.

Findings

This chapter presents an action-based manifesto consisting of realities experienced by sexual minorities in India and future economic, educational, legal, political, and social actions libraries can take on their behalf.

Research limitations/implications

This research showcases the meaningful role of the library and information science professions in potentially shaping community-wide progressive changes to address the information needs and expectations of underserved populations who are marginalized owing to conservative laws, policies, practices, and politics. It also adopted an innovative strategy in library circles and human rights research of examining online news articles to explore the relevance of the information found in the news covered related to the adoption of an archaic law denying equal rights for sexual minorities in India.

Details

Perspectives on Libraries as Institutions of Human Rights and Social Justice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-057-2

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Book part
Publication date: 10 November 2017

Bharat Mehra, Vandana Singh, Natasha Hollenbach and Robert P. Partee

This chapter discusses the application of community informatics (CI) principles in the rural Southern and Central Appalachian (SCA) region to further the teaching of…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter discusses the application of community informatics (CI) principles in the rural Southern and Central Appalachian (SCA) region to further the teaching of information and communication technologies (ICT) literacy concepts in courses that formed part of two externally funded grants, “Information Technology Rural Librarian Master’s Scholarship Program Part I” (ITRL) and “Part II” (ITRL2), awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program to the School of Information Sciences (SIS) at the University of Tennessee (UT).

Design/Methodology/Approach

The chapter documents ICT use in ITRL and ITRL2 to extend librarian technology literacy training, allowing these public information providers to become change agents in the twenty-first century. It discusses aspects of CI that influenced these two projects and shaped the training of future rural library leaders embedded in traditionally underrepresented areas to further social justice and progressive changes in the region’s rural communities.

Findings

The chapter demonstrates the role that CI principles played in the context of ITRL and ITRL2 from project inception to the graduation of the rural librarians with examples of tangible IT services/products that the students developed in their courses that were directly applicable and tailored to their SCA contexts.

Originality/Value

ITRL and ITRL2 provided a unique opportunity to apply a CI approach to train information librarians as agents of change in the SCA regions to further economic and cultural development via technology and management competencies. These change agents will continue to play a significant role in community building and community development efforts in the future.

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Book part
Publication date: 4 November 2021

Bharat Mehra and Joseph Winberry

This chapter explores “politic talks” (also known as political information) on the websites of academic libraries in land-grant state universities of the South in the…

Abstract

This chapter explores “politic talks” (also known as political information) on the websites of academic libraries in land-grant state universities of the South in the context of a global retreat of democracy that emerged during former President Trump’s regime as the 45th President of the United States. The exploratory qualitative evaluation applies website content analysis of seven information offerings in three categories that include: (1) information sources (collections, resources), information policy and planning (assigned role, strategic representation), and connections (internal, external, news and events). Promising practices and illustrative examples of “politic talks” representation on academic library websites show how they are serving as significant providers of political information during current politically turbulent times. The discussion of these findings in relation to each state’s voting likelihood based on trends since 2000 has significant political implications in enhancing the role of academic libraries moving forward.

Details

Libraries and the Global Retreat of Democracy: Confronting Polarization, Misinformation, and Suppression
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-597-2

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2014

Bharat Mehra

This chapter explores the perspectives of rural librarians about the information behaviors of children with special needs (CSN) and services available for the…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter explores the perspectives of rural librarians about the information behaviors of children with special needs (CSN) and services available for the disenfranchised population in the Southern and Central Appalachian (SCA) region.

Methodology/approach

Qualitative feedback is collected from 31 SCA rural librarians via phone interviews and a web-based survey about: (1) The most important information needs/wants of the CSN in the SCA rural libraries; (2) The most important information resources and services that the CSN seek/use in the SCA rural libraries; (3) Extent of perceived need for effective library services for the CSN in rural areas; (4) Ways that the SCA rural libraries can improve to better serve the CSN in their local communities.

Findings

Content analysis of the data generated quantitative representation of response counts for specific themes that resulted in practical user-centered suggestions for positive change in delivering effective library services for the CSN in the SCA region.

Originality/value

Research significance lies in its first-time effort to understand the information needs and information uses of the CSN in the SCA rural library environments from the perspective of a rural librarian immersed in an American society that perceives a parochial regional work setting. This research presents data that challenges notions stereotyping and marginalizing of the “South” in its documentation of positive and meaningful efforts that rural librarians suggest should be made to improve the conditions experienced by the CSN in this region.

Details

New Directions in Children’s and Adolescents’ Information Behavior Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-814-3

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Book part
Publication date: 19 December 2016

Bharat Mehra

This chapter presents a cultural re-interpretation of race/ethnicity and sexuality in the American academy from the perspective of a gay man originally from India settled…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter presents a cultural re-interpretation of race/ethnicity and sexuality in the American academy from the perspective of a gay man originally from India settled in the United States for more than 22 years. The reflection is based on experiences in graduate education in the United States during the closing decade of the 20th century.

Methodology/approach

The author employs a personal critical narrative, gaining insights and developing an alternative “voice” of race/ethnicity and sexuality other than what gets reported in the mainstream media and contrary to stereotyped representations. It involved resisting real and/or imagined lapses emerging in Asian-Indian contexts in areas such as ethnic gender role differentiation, heterosexism, improper academic practices, and unethical intellectual property infringement, while at the same time questioning the limitations of American gay white hegemonic dictates in a journey of self-discovery and self-growth.

Findings

The chapter identifies select strategies in the provision of information services that, had they been available during the author’s graduate education, would have better addressed (and supported) efforts to deconstruct and understand perceptions of unjust/prejudiced behaviors. The insights are meant to provide future directions to both individuals and institutions that are coping with similar needs, situations, and perceptions of people who are stuck between a rock and hard place owing to intersections in their multiple (and seemingly conflicting) identities (e.g., based on race/ethnicity and sexuality). The chapter calls for a more inclusive understanding of diversity-information-leadership intersections to better respond to the needs of such marginalized individuals and communities.

Details

Celebrating the James Partridge Award: Essays Toward the Development of a More Diverse, Inclusive, and Equitable Field of Library and Information Science
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-933-9

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2020

Bharat Mehra and Baheya S. Jaber

The acceleration of Opioid deaths over the last decade has made it a serious national public health crisis. Alabama has not been immune to this epidemic, with dramatically…

Abstract

The acceleration of Opioid deaths over the last decade has made it a serious national public health crisis. Alabama has not been immune to this epidemic, with dramatically increased age-adjusted drug overdose death rates. These increases have occurred in a state with limited resources for Opioid health prevention, treatment, and recovery services. This chapter introduces the term “o-CHIL” in order to better understand the multi-factorial layers of intertwining health injustices (in the plural) experienced in Alabama’s communities and their embedded public libraries. It highlights the complexities in Opioid consumer health information literacies, the culturally situated dimensions of the Opioid crisis in Alabama, and the uniquely relevant consumer health literacies in its public libraries. Findings are based on an empirical assessment of representative information support services identified in February 2020 on the websites of the 230 public libraries listed as members of the Alabama Public Library Service. The exploratory study applies website content analysis to identify seven examples of information offerings and to class offerings into three categories: (1) information sources (collections, resources); (2) information policy and planning (assigned Opioid-related role, strategic representation); and (3) connections (internal, external, news and events). The discussion potentially provides new directions, approaches, and opportunities to build collaborations of sharing within Alabama’s network of public libraries and beyond for them to better serve their local and regional communities impacted by the Opioid crisis.

Details

Roles and Responsibilities of Libraries in Increasing Consumer Health Literacy and Reducing Health Disparities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-341-8

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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2011

Bharat Mehra and Donna Braquet

The purpose of this paper is to present an exploratory practice‐based framework that identifies strategic goals, objectives, and activities for each of the five areas of…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an exploratory practice‐based framework that identifies strategic goals, objectives, and activities for each of the five areas of modern‐day reference, namely – access to electronic resources, user instruction, library commons, outreach liaison, and virtual reference – with a focus on meeting the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals during the coming out process.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper highlights findings for progressive reference services in the twenty‐first century based on qualitative studies and action research conducted by two openly gay library and information science professionals in the University of Tennessee‐Knoxville during the period 2005‐2011.

Findings

Findings reveal elements of the proposed framework geared towards meeting the needs of LGBTQ patrons during the five phases of coming out – self‐recognition, sharing with other LGBTQ people, telling close friends/family, positive self‐identification, and integration of LGBTQ identity.

Originality/value

Minimal research has been done involving reference services for LGBTQ patrons. This paper's original value is in its extended vision of traditional reference that focused solely on information provision to a more encompassing conceptualization and implementation that designs, delivers, and assesses reference services in a community engagement context to develop fair and equitable services for LGBTQ patrons.

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