An “owning up” of white-IST trends in LIS to further real transformations

Bharat Mehra, La Verne Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


In the shadow of a uniquely American struggle for racial equality, who were we historically in the library and information science (LIS) professions and how has it shaped who we are in the present? An honest acceptance is important to realistically move forward in the future. On the occasion to commemorate Library Quarterly’s tenth decade, this article reflects on “owning up” of historical and contemporary White-IST trends considered “normative” in LIS for authentic transformations to expand diversity and social justice within its privileged canon and ranks. The representational form of the term “White [dash] IST” (in ALL CAPS) is coined in the article as an amalgamation of “White 1 Elitist” practices during six phases in LIS of the past and the present. An owning up of historical lapses and identifying limitations in contemporary LIS practices is important for reconciliation, retribution, and overcoming White-IST tendencies that exist even today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-239
Number of pages51
JournalLibrary Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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