Critical Library Management: Administrating for Equity


  • Candise Branum Oregon College of Oriental Medicine
  • Turner Masland Portland State University



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Social justice and critical theory frameworks have been utilized to discuss library pedagogy and cataloging, but librarians have been slow in applying critical theory to how we actually manage libraries and lead staff. Management is not glamorous; rather, many still hold the traditional view of management as upholding hierarchical values. At its core, both libraries and management are about people, and library managers and administrators have the power to formulate and uphold the library’s values.

Libraries do not exist in a vacuum; we work to empower the communities we work with, and social justice issues directly impact our patrons. In this article, we discuss the importance of integrating critical theory into library management, providing specific examples of how library managers can work towards creating and sustaining organizational systems that promote social justice and equity, regardless of the size of our departments or institutions.


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Author Biographies

Candise Branum, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine

Candise Branum is the Director of Library Services at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. She earned her BS in Sociology from Portland State University in 2005 and her MLS from Emporia State University in 2009. In addition to managing a small academic library, she is a member of the OCOM Faculty and teaches information literacy to masters and doctoral students. She is interested in radical pedagogy, information ethics, using technology to enhance UX, learning how to be a better leader, and believes wholeheartedly in both strategic planning and making things up as you go.

Turner Masland, Portland State University

Turner Masland is the Assistant Manager of Access Services at Portland State University, where he supervises the Resource Sharing Unit and manages the department’s student workers. He earned an MLS from Emporia State University in 2012 and a BA in Environmental Sociology from St. Lawrence University in 2006. Prior to his work at PSU, he has worked in a number of academic and medical libraries in the Portland area, giving him the privileged perspective entrenched in our region’s dedicated and creative librarian community. He has just accepted the position of Access Services Manager at Sonoma State University, and will soon be moving to Northern California.




How to Cite

Branum, C., & Masland, T. (2017). Critical Library Management: Administrating for Equity. OLA Quarterly, 23(2), 28–36.