Gramsci Visits the Library: - SelectedWorks - Welcome

Gramsci Visits the Library: - SelectedWorks - Welcome

Gramsci Visits the Library: ABSTRACT: Librarians have long cultivated a professional image of affable, fair-minded neutrality and dedication to community service. However, as a theoretically impoverished discipline that largely eschews the conscious examination of power relations, this pluralist self-image conceals deeper ideological blind spots. Libraries are products of state policy, and despite their apparent benevolence, conceal a role in promoting dominant ideologies. As an educational institution, the library can be considered what Althusser calls an Ideological State Apparatus with an important role in indoctrinating the population. This paper explores librarianship through a Gramscian lens, looking at librarians as subaltern organic intellectuals who often uncritically participate in an historic bloc that privileges the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism. Using examples from public and academic libraries, it exposes ways in which librarians act through their collections and services to unconsciously marginalize under-represented groups, as well as how they counterintuitively play a part in supporting the enclosure and commodification of information by large commercial publishing houses.

Yet all is not lost. There are many instances of librarians contesting censorship, surveillance, and capitalism in the public interest. Librarians must take advantage of their intermediate position between the bosses and the masses, actively participating in power struggles over the control of information and knowledge, striving for praxis in their vocation. Scientia potentia est! Hegemony in the Stacks Paul G. St-Pierre [email protected] Public Libraries Act of Ontario R.S.O. 1990, c. P.44

Libraries to be open to public: 23. (1) A board shall not make a charge for admission to a public library or for use in the library of the librarys materials. Certain library services free: 23. (2) Every board shall allow the public to, a. reserve and borrow circulating materials that are prescribed or belong to a prescribed class; and b. use reference and information services as the board considers practicable, without making any charge.

f o n i a t r u c n o r

i n . a d n d a e l s

e o h p t m r i e e v v

o a n h o s ti e i a r a

m r r Lib ree info f Paul Zurkowski, 1974 Information Industry Association "There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the

slightest consideration. Andrew Carnegie Carnegie Steel Works, Pittsburgh, 1891 Mechanics Institutes 1823 Guardians of Taste PRAXIS

1926-1934 For twenty years we must stop this brain from functioning. - Gramsci trial prosecutor Regina Coeli Prison, Rome

Hegemony Political LEADERSHIP based on the consent of the led, a consent which is secured by the diffusion and popularization of the worldview of the ruling class. Consent Coercion Bates, T. R. (1975). Gramsci and the Theory of Hegemony. J. History of Ideas, 36(2), 351366. Histo

ri c o c Bl Organic Intellectuals The most humble administrators and divulgators of pre-existing, traditional, accumulated intellectual wealth.

Gramsci, A. (1971). The Intellectuals. In Q. Hoare & G. Nowell-Smith (Eds.), Selections from the prison notebooks of Antonio Gramsci (pp. 323). London: Lawrence & Wishart. Hegemonic Librarian Dominant Ideologies Capitalism Scientism Anglocentrism Racism

Christianity Neoliberalism Colonialism Patriarchy Consumerism Heteronormativity Technophilia Literary Canon UWO Acquisitions 2014-15 Books (print) E-books

Other Print Journals Electronic Journals TOTAL $1,615,000 $500,000 $950,896 $2,000,000 $8,800,000 $13,865,896 Books (print);

11.65% E-books; 3.61% Other; 6.86% Electronic Journals ; 63.47% Print Journals; 14.42% Tulane U. Serials 2007 Number of Titles Science and

Engineering; 19.96% Arts, Humanities , Soc. Sci; 66.65% Average Cost Per Title General; 6.68%

Reference and Govt; 6.71% $1,223 $436 $387 Arts, Humanities, Soc. Sci; 33.21%

g in ee rin .S Sc En g nd

ien c ea an um ts, H Reference and Govt; 5.81%

Ar General; 6.51% Science and Engineerin g; 54.48% Re fe

re nc ea iti es ,S nd oc

Go Ge ne ra vt l Fraction of total cost

ci $223 Scientific, Technical & Medical saw double digit growth in subscription journal article submissions and usage, and we saw continued good growth in Databases and Tools, with good electronic revenue growth across all segments.

Operating Margin 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1 9 3 95 9 7 9 9 0 1 0 3 05 0 7 0 9 11 1 3 9 1 9 1 9 19 1 9 1 9 2 0 2 0 20 2 0 2 0 2 0 2 0 CounterHegemonic

Librarian The limits of resistance Theres something in my library to offend everybody. http://www.freedomtoread.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uplo ads/CLA-Challenges-Survey-Report-2013.pdf Random mutation or

Acquired characteristics?

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