Race as multidimensional: The personal shaping the professional in the library and information field

Clara M. Chu, Linda Ueki Absher, Renate L. Chancellor, Karen E. Downing, Shari Lee, Touger Vang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - This chapter argues that, though the field of library and information science has made some progress in advancing diversity and inclusion, race still needs to be acknowledged as a barrier and its collateral damage needs to be spoken in order to ensure equity in our practice, research, and/or service. Core to the argument is that race as a univariate measure, equated with phenotype, is problematic and simplistic. This chapter instead makes a case for race as multidimensional. Although race figures in how one is perceived, this lens diminishes the agency of people of color to define themselves through their own worldview, experiences, and actions. Methodology/approach - The chapter is a collection of interwoven first-person essays that reveal what people see, perceive, and mask, with the intention to continue to push an authentic conversation on race in the field. Contributors include librarians, educators, and scholars, who represent distinct dimensions of the race spectrum, question such categorization, and do not necessarily neatly fit into a racial category. They explore how they view race in the library and information field, the extent to which they feel included or not, and how they have attempted and continue to shape the field through their practice, research, and/or service. Findings - As individuals, each contributor speaks in their own voice, and as a collective, the authors move the race dialogue forward by speaking about dimensions of race from their own experiences, representing individual stories, and allowing their intersections to be revealed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-170
Number of pages16
JournalAdvances in Librarianship
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Interracial
  • Intersections
  • Library and information science
  • Multidimensional
  • Multiracial
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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