Critical Theory for Library and Information Science

Exploring the Social from Across the Disciplines

by Gloria J. Leckie, Lisa M. Given, and John E. Buschman, Editors


Critical theory is present but relatively underdeveloped in the field of library and information science. The success of scholarly learning and information science as a whole depends on library specialists who understand the value of applying critical theoretical perspectives to real-world challenges.

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July 2010

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 326
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Librarianship: Philosophy, Values, and Issues/Critical Perspectives on LIS

This text provides an overview of major critical theorists from across disciplines—including the humanities, social sciences, and education—that discusses the importance of these critical perspectives for the advancement of LIS research and scholarship.

The practical application of library and information science is based upon 75 years of critical theory and thought. Therefore, it is essential for students and faculty in LIS to be familiar with the work of a wide range of critical theorists. The aim of Critical Theory for Library and Information Science: Exploring the Social from Across the Disciplines is to provide a comprehensive introduction to the critical theorists important to the LIS audience, and to give insights into how such theory can be incorporated into actual LIS research and practice.

This book consists of chapters on individual critical theorists ranging from Aglietta to Habermas to Spivak, written by an international group of library and information science scholars. Each chapter provides an overview of the theoretical stance and contributions of the theorist, as well as relevant critical commentary. This book will be particularly valuable as a reference text of core readings for those pursuing doctoral or masters level degrees in LIS.


  • A basic bibliography of the theorist's work follows each topic presentation; some chapters also include works of critical commentary on the theorist's writings
  • Indexes of key terms and concepts are provided throughout the chapters


  • Brings together a wide range of critical theorists never previously combined for the LIS audience
  • Provides a basic overview of each theorist's key writings in a manner accessible both to students and faculty
  • Includes an introductory presentation of the development of critical theory over the past 75 years
Author Info

Gloria J. Leckie is associate professor and LIS program coordinator in the faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. Her published works include Libraries Unlimited's Library as Place: History, Community, and Culture and Information Technology in Librarianship: New Critical Approaches.

Lisa M. Given is professor in the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She is editor of The Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods.

John E. Buschman is associate university librarian for collections development, preservation, and scholarly communication at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. He is the author of Libraries Unlimited's Dismantling the Public Sphere: Situating and Sustaining Librarianship in the Age of the New Public Philosophy and is an editor for the journal Progressive Librarian.

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