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The Flint Water Crisis: Searching for Social Justice in a First Year Composition Course  

NELIG Instruction Swap Dec. 9, 2016 presentation by Cathy Fahey
Last Updated: Dec 8, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Social Justice in Information Literacy Instruction

Since reading Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis by Lua Gregory and Shana Higgins, I've been experimenting with ways of adding social justice concepts to my information literacy classes.

I've made small changes to my lessons, such as making my example searches inclusive and calling out patriarchical, colonial, and heternormative language when it occurs in the library catalog. 

This class was the first time I could build an entire lesson around a social justice issue, and I had to figure out a way to 1) cover information literacy concepts, 2) inform students of the context and background of the issue, and 3) make it aplicable to #BlackLivesMatter. 

I was asked to prepare an information literacy class for an ENL110: Foundations of Writing class taking place during the #BlackLivesMatter Teach-In held at Salem State University in February 2016. The class professor wanted a basic library lesson that tied in with #BlackLivesMatter. 

I chose to focus on the Flint Water Crisis because I could bring up issues of class, race, and economic inequality, and how to find information about those topics in the library.  The class period was 90 minutes and I did not feel prepared to deal with the potential triggers and consequences of discussing more violent incidents in that limited time frame. Also, as a librarian, I do not have the same trust relationship that students have with their professor. I am a one-time visitor, so I did not want to force an uncomfortable discussion onto the students. 

In this guide I've copied the LibGuide pages I used with the students as well as an annotated copy of that page. There's also some information about using Google Forms and a copy of the lesson plan for that class. 

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