POST: The Neoliberal Library: Resistance is Not Futile

Chris Bourg (Standford University) writes about the role of the library in the neoliberal university, based on a talk she gave at Duke University on January 14, 2014. Several aspects of neoliberalism are defined, such as “the extension of market logic into previously non-economic realms,” and examples of this mentality in libraries are provided. For instance, it is seen in the emphasis on Return on Investment or in collection development, which has been turned over to the “market by signing on to Patron Driven Acquisitions programs that essentially signal that we trust the free market to build our collections.”

Bourg’s piece, while focused on libraries in general, has ties to other conversations  that address the role of cultural criticism in DH. Concerning libraries, Bourg asks that we “reconceive of our clients as not simply the undergraduates, graduate students, or faculty around us. Let’s start thinking about social justice as our client, or democracy, or an informed citizenry; and then let’s consider how our priorities and way of working might change as a result of that kind of thinking.”

dh+lib Review

This post was produced through a cooperation between Oliver Bendorf, Jolie Braun, Dana Bublitz, Beth Russell, Sveta Stoytcheva, and Amy Wickner (Editors-at-large for the week), Zach Coble (Editor for the week), and Caro Pinto and Roxanne Shirazi (dh+lib Review Editors).