2019 Symposium Student Scholarship Winner – Joanna Thompson (Pratt Institute)

In December 2019, I attended my second ACRL/NY Symposium: “Outside the Box: Redefining Ethical Innovation,” a day-long gathering of librarians from the five boroughs and beyond. Workshop topics included Asian American voices in academic library leadership, LIS student labor, open pedagogy, and zine librarian ethics. I left the symposium feeling prepared and excited about contributing to both scholarship and advocacy around open knowledge and ethics in librarianship.

As a new adjunct OER librarian at the City University of New York (CUNY), the panel titled Breaking Open: Race and Labor in Open Pedagogies at CUNY was particularly relevant for my current and future work. The panel asked vital critical questions about the current state of OER work in libraries, including whether the rhetoric of “open” matched the panelists’ experience of implementing OER at CUNY. The symposium was one of the few events during which librarians insisted on asking how the implementation of “open” occurs, rather than asking whether “open” is inherently positive. As more libraries move towards openness (open data, open knowledge, open pedagogy, open access, open educational resources…), we should not take the ethics of opening knowledge for granted. 

The symposium motivated me to continue pushing for ethical implementation of OER, which includes considerations of labor, accessibility, race, and gender, among others. I am looking forward to working with all of the librarians in ACRL/NY and at CUNY to push for the equitable and ethical implementation of OER.

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