Educating pre-service school librarians about race, racism, and whiteness


  • Julia Burns Petrella University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



education for librarianship, school librarianship, whiteness, race, racism, critical theory


The racial makeup of the field of school librarianship is overwhelmingly white, standing in stark contrast to the racial demographics of today’s K-12 student population in our nation. Studies of white educators working with racially minoritized students show many detrimental effects, including deficits-based thinking and lowered academic expectations, highlighting how vital it is that pre-service school librarians learn about topics of race, racism, and the effects of whiteness in their school library preparation programs. Set within a framework of Critical whiteness Studies, my doctoral research investigates the structural and individual factors that influence the ways that today’s pre-service school librarians are taught about topics of race, racism, and whiteness. My methodology includes interviews with school library program coordinators, course instructors, current school librarianship students, and recent graduates of school library programs, as well as document analysis of course syllabi, educator preparation standards, and other relevant texts.






Works in Progress Posters