The Social Justice and Libraries Open Conference is an unconference-style event for library workers and students focused on dismantling structural oppression. We work to theorize, strategize, and operationalize ways for libraries to empower people and ideas. We believe in critiquing power structures, working for justice, and building community in our field.

Participants are encouraged to pitch their own discussion ideas for the event. Topics with the most buy-in will be given a breakout space for the conversation to take place. The rest is up to you!

Some sample topics include (but are definitely not limited to):

  • The role of libraries in community activism/outreach
  • Whiteness/diversity in librarianship
  • Creating inclusive spaces
  • Critical/inclusive pedagogical practices

SJL is sponsored and organized by CritLib Seattle. For more information, contact sjlseattle@gmail.com.


Plan your trip to the Northwest School using the King County Metro Trip Planner Tool. The Northwest School is located at in the Capitol Hill neighborhood at 1415 Summit Avenue, Seattle WA 98122. Please use the main building's Crawford Place entrance for our event. It is short 10 minute walk from the downtown Convention Center.

Featured Speakers

Wayne Au is an Associate Professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington Bothell, and he is an editor for the social justice teaching magazine, Rethinking Schools. His work has focused generally on critical education theory, critical policy analysis, and teaching for social justice.

C. Davida Ingram is a Seattle-based, conceptual artist whose artwork focuses on storytelling. She uses social practice, performance art, and site specific installations in her work. She also explores desire, space, time, and memory using blackness as both fulcrum and prism. Ingram is specifically interested in counter-narratives to dominant culture that expand inquiry-making around 21st century black female subjectivity.


SJL wants to make sure your conference experience is comfortable and accessible! Below are the features we have in place to create an inclusive space. We welcome your suggestions and input.

If you need additional accommodations to participate in this event, please contact sjlseattle@gmail.com. We appreciate early requests so we can best meet your needs.

  • We ask that this be a scent-free space; please use unscented products before attending our event
  • Gender neutral bathrooms
  • ADA accessible entry
  • Alternate and advance versions of written materials will be made available upon request
  • Wheelchair accessible restrooms are available
  • Children are welcome, but childcare will not be provided
  • Priority seating upon request
  • Rooms will be arranged to accommodate wheelchairs

Additional considerations:

  • Parking will be limited; carpooling or use of public transit is encouraged
  • Participants will need to bring their own lunch, snacks, and beverages

Community Agreements

We strive to make this space a welcoming and open one. We recognize that discussions on diversity, justice and oppression can be triggering, challenging and emotionally taxing. In an effort to make space for all voices to emerge and critical discourse to take place, we provide a baseline of community agreements. These agreements are borrowed from Cultures Connecting. We welcome any and all suggestions that will make this a safe and productive space for all. Please contact us at sjlseattle@gmail.com

  • Experience discomfort
  • Stay engaged
  • Speak your truth
  • Take risks
  • Listen for understanding
  • Expect and accept non-closure
  • Be excellent to everyone

Please help us shape our conference Community Agreements and Code of Conduct on Twitter or Facebook: @sjlseattlle #sjlcode16

Who We Are

This conference was inspired by the #critlib conversation happening on Twitter. In an effort to localize conversations and build local community around inclusivity and community engagement in libraries, three University of Washington MLIS students have organized this conference in conjunction with a local Critlib Reading Group.

Reed Garber-Pearson does reference and instruction at the University of Washington and Seattle Central College. Reed will earn an MLIS from the University of Washington in June 2016.

Allison Reibel will earn her MLIS from the University of Washington in summer 2016. She is interested in youth and community college librarianship. Allison currently works for Seattle Public Library.

Marisa Petrich is a library instructor and reference specialist at UW’s Odegaard Undergraduate Library, and will receive her MLIS from the University of Washington in June 2016. She is interested in academic libraries.

Critlib Seattle Member Participants

  • Althea Lazzaro
  • Dave Ellenwood
  • Megan Watson
  • Danielle Rowland
  • Elaine Harger


Thanks to our event tablers: