Call for Proposals: ACRL WA-OR Joint Fall Conference

Whiteness and Racism in Academic Libraries: Dismantling Structures of Oppression

The Fall 2019 conference takes place amongst intensified organizing of white nationalists on college campuses, continued brutality against black and brown communities, policies that restrict immigration and border movement, and policing of body rights. In libraries we are making strategic claims towards equity, diversity and inclusion, yet our profession remains centered on cultures of white supremacy.

This conference is an effort to openly acknowledge the ways that whiteness and racism are supported in our libraries, and strategies for practicing anti-racism across the breadth of our work. The goal is to explicitly name the racist hegemony that underpins libraries and library work. Intersectional anti-racist practices must be central to our work in order to resist causing further harm. Investigations into how racism operates in tandem with white supremacy are essential to our work of making libraries sites of equity and social justice. This conference calls on each of us to take active engagement in understanding and learning about racism in libraries, making ourselves and our library systems those that resist oppression.

We invite proposals to join and extend these conversations. Sessions will consist of presentations, facilitated conversations, or trainings and workshops. While theory and praxis are central to this work, we seek sessions that help library workers to examine and name racialized power dynamics, and to practice building anti-oppressive communities and services. We recognize that anti-racism work is not perfect, and we expect proposals may include lessons learned for approaches that did not go as planned. Proposals that highlight these lessons learned should keep the focus on the ongoing work of dismantling racism and those most impacted by it.

Example topics for presentations and workshops may include, but are not limited to:

  • Addressing white fragility and its impacts in libraries
  • Policy audits and changes
  • Resisting white nationalist organizing
  • Leadership, recruitment and hiring practices that support library workers of color
  • Support, retention and graduation of students of color
  • Experiences of library workers and students of color
  • Activism and programming that centers students of color
  • Addressing and resisting cultures of white supremacy
  • Affinity and caucus organizing in libraries
  • Bystander intervention training
  • Lessons learned from interventions, policy changes, programming, etc.

How to Submit

Submit your proposals using our online form by August 9, 2019.


If you are just beginning to engage with racism and whiteness and need a starting point, we recommend beginning with Tema Okun’s white supremacy cultureJennifer Brown, Jennifer Ferretti, Sofia Leung, and Marisa Mendez-Brady’s 2018 article We Here: Speaking Our Truth; Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility: Why It’s Hard for White People To Talk About Racism; and Lorin Jackson and LaQuanda Onyemeh’s web-based forum WOC+Lib.


ACRL WA-OR Joint Conference is held on October 24-25, 2019 the the Pack Forest Conference Center in Eatonville, WA.

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