Librarians and Restorative Justice

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“If libraries are sites of profound possibility, the librarian is—in my opinion—the conduit linking people to their purposes and dreams…”

—Maisha T. Winn

For most librarians, the concept of denying certain students access to books is unthinkable. Yet when UC Davis professor Maisha T. Winn traveled to the Bronx to observe a high school writing class for her ethnographic research, this was exactly what she witnessed.

In her School Library Connection article “Librarians as Paradigm Shifters for Justice,” Winn recalls this troubling episode, and challenges us to consider how even less conscious forms of discrimination can infiltrate the librarian’s practice. She illuminates the library as a setting for restorative justice and the librarian’s responsibility to be a socially conscious advocate for all students, by embracing four educational paradigms:

History Matters
Race Matters
Justice Matters
Language Matters

Read Winn’s article below, paired with a helpful infographic, “Restorative Justice Explained,” by SLC editor Rebecca J. Morris.

This article is brought to you by brought to you by School Library Connection. These resources are written by librarians for librarians to help you engage students, address standards, collaborate with teachers, and continue evolving your practice. Sign up for a free preview of SLC today!