Straddling Practical and Theoretical Borders: Critically Evaluating Role and Place Through a Discourse Analytic Lens

Roxy Garstad


Professional librarians benefit from a close examination of the meaning and purpose underlying their work. One of the most helpful and expedient ways of doing so is to employ non-LIS theories to aid in questioning processes and in critically examining personal work and institutional practices. Discourse analysis, and its related theory, critical discourse analysis, may be suitable for such a purpose. Utilized effectively, they can reveal the underlying power dynamics behind the library as an institution, including the role of librarians within an organization, and the sometimes-fraught interactions between librarians and patrons. The application of theories and methodologies to practice may ultimately improve the library experience for patrons.


discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis, library institutions, stereotyping, pa-tron relations, power dynamics

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