Library Information Investigative Team2021-11-03T17:43:47+00:00

Library Information Investigative Team (LIIT)

Established in 2019, LIIT focuses on researching topics relevant to libraries, such as librarian education, library history, and information organization.

Our Mission

Our team’s mission is to provide mutual support, encourage creative collaboration, and promote information exchange among library scholars at Syracuse University’s iSchool.

Current Projects

Despite consistent usage, 21st century libraries are regularly under pressure to defend and justify their existence to various entities, including administrators, policy makers, legislators, and community citizens.

One predominant tactic is to develop quantifiable measures that communicate library value, such as return on investment calculators that demonstrate savings achieved through the use of library collections and services. However, many of these value calculations only consider resources and collections, rather than the labor needed to make those resources accessible. This project uses a critical design approach to investigate ways to communicate the value of professional librarian labor.

Through the creation of an interactive, web-based tool that calculates and concretely quantifies the financial value of librarian labor, this work will expose the previously invisible yet important work of librarians, critique the status quo of libraries as resource collections, and offer a new way for libraries to advocate for support.

This project is funded by the Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program at Syracuse University.

How much does our MLIS Curriculum embrace our values and celebrate diversity and inclusion? This research is looking to evaluate how diverse our curriculum is by understanding what we teach, what we read, how we engage with diverse populations, and the focus of our assignments.

There is a shortage of materials for children at the intersection of disability and race. This research is working to identify and evaluate books for and about diverse communities experiencing a wide range of disabilities.

#NotAgainSU is “a black student-led movement” at Syracuse University formed in response to the administration’s handling of a series of racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim incidents on campus. We examine the use of social media and hashtag affordance as a tool of activism.

We define epistemicide as the killing, silencing, or devaluing of a knowledge system (Patin & Jieun 2019). Some examples of historical epistemicides include: slavery, Nazi book burnings, colonization/language genocide, and the Salem witch hunts. We believe epistemicide happens when several epistemic injustices occur which collectively reflect a structured and systemic oppression of particular ways of knowing. Within the context of library and information science, devaluing information, epistemologies, or ways of knowing is particularly damaging as this type of epistemicide directly affects what is collected, how it is classified and cataloged, and whether it can be accessed by the community. We argue for a change of positionality in LIS pedagogy and research and for validating a multiplicity of perspectives to broaden the scope of what gets to be included as/in (the) LIS (field).

This research investigates the perspectives of engaged community-based library and information spaces and locations during the 1960s African-American struggle for Civil Rights. We utilize family-based documents to illuminate how familial experience informs archival collections and how community resistance breaks down borders. It explores both northern-urban and southern experience comparatively in the context of class and gender within traditions of oppositional consciousness.

Past Projects

While diversity is a core value of American librarianship, no systematic and scalable tools currently exist to promote diverse reading materials by and about marginalized populations. The project uses a research through design approach to investigate how systematic tools like library catalogs can advocate for diverse materials, encourage exposure of such materials to a broader audience, and prevent the unintentional erasure of such materials in library collections and explore what metadata elements, values, and organizational structures are necessary to achieve these goals.

Using a critical design approach, we created a library catalog that advocates for diversity and exposes library users and readers to resources from populations traditionally marginalized in literature and publishing by designing a system where the default is no longer the white heteronormative male author. Such a system offers the possibility to raise awareness of diverse library materials; expose readers to new and different resources, ideas and cultures; alter reading habits; and ultimately provide more equitable representation by preventing the inadvertent and unintentional erasure of diverse library materials.

This project was funded by the 2018 OCLC/ALISE Library & Information Science Research Grant Program (LISRGP).

List of Lists: An Index of Diversity Book Lists for Adults indexes diversity-centric book lists for adults into a faceted-search website. While many diversity book lists exist, they are published across the Internet and can be difficult to find. List of Lists enables librarians and patrons to find diversity book lists within one website. The project addresses the urgent need for libraries to highlight diverse books to build empathy and inclusive communities.

This project was funded by a Carnegie-Whitney Grant from the American Library Association.


Clarke, R.I. and Schoonmaker, S. (2019) “Metadata for Diversity: Identification and Implications of Potential Access Points for Diverse Library Resources.” Journal of Documentation. DOI

Clarke, R.I. and Schoonmaker, S. (2018). “The Critical Catalog: Giving Voice to Diverse Library Materials through Provocative Design.” Advances in Classification Research Online 29 (1), 23-26. Best Paper Award Winner. DOI

Matranga, A., Sebastian, M., Silverman, J., Shumar, W., & Klein, V. (2020). “Noticing and Wondering: Scaffolding Generative Discourse in Teachers’ Workgroup Conversations” Paper to be presented at the American Education Research Association conference April 17-21, in San Francisco, CA.

Patin, B. and Williamson, E.L.D. (2020) “Environmental Barriers in Children’s Literature: Intersectionality and the Social Disability Model”. Conference of the Children’s Literature Association, Bellevue, WA, June, 2020.

Patin, B. (2019) “From Surviving to Thriving: Addressing Knowledge Gaps among Library Directors and Emergency Managers about Public Library Response after Extreme Events.” Library Research Seminar (LRS) VII, Columbia South Carolina, October, 2019.

Sebastian, M. (2019). “Ways of Seeing the Hashtag: Instagram and Gendered Surveillance.” Surveillance & Society, 17(1/2): 40-45.

Sebastian, M., & Shumar, W. (2018). “The Digital Age and the Social Imaginary.” In F. Thouvenin, P. Hettich, H. Burkert, & U. Gasser (Eds.) Remembering and Forgetting in the Digital Age, Law, Governance, & Technology, series 38, Springer, Berlin.

Get in touch.

Interested in learning more about LIIT or attending a meeting? Please reach out to Dr. Beth Patin or Dr. Rachel Clarke.

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