Rutgers prof helps librarians avoid virtual microaggressions

Sandor Farkas
Collegiate Network Fellow

  • A Rutgers University professor is scheduled to present a webinar next month for college librarians on “mitigating microaggressions in virtual reference.”
  • The goal of the webinar is to help librarians recognize and avoid "indignities towards marginalized individuals" when they conduct online virtual help sessions.
  • A Rutgers University professor is scheduled to present a webinar next month for college librarians on “mitigating microaggressions in virtual reference.”

    During the February 21 webinar, Professor Marie Radford and researcher Lynn Silipigni Connaway will discuss microaggressions committed during virtual library help sessions, such as the one advertised on Rutgers’ own library website.

    "In this time of heightened online conflict, attendees will be provided with...guidelines to help them to both recognize microaggressions and to minimize them."   

    The event description defines microaggressions as “intentional or non-intentional verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities towards marginalized individuals,” claiming that these heinous behaviors are “subtle, nuanced, and difficult to detect and address, especially in virtual environments.”

    [RELATED: Librarian urges use of “microaffections”]

    The presentation will look at research on microaggressions, including “qualitative content analysis” of sessions from QuestionPoint, a “virtual reference service” that provides “24/7” online support for many libraries.

    “In this time of heightened online conflict,” the description states, “attendees will be provided with research-based examples and guidelines to help them to both recognize microaggressions and to minimize them to enhance service excellence.”

    [RELATED: Profs discover 5 new types of 'invisibility microaggressions']

    Radford’s other research includes “postmodern approaches to media stereotypes of librarians/libraries,” according to her faculty bio, which also notes that she “gives frequent keynote speeches and scholarly papers at national and international library and communication conferences and publishes widely in LIS [Library and Information Science] journals.”

    Her latest book, co-authored with Gary Radford, is the 184-page Library Conversations: Reclaiming Interpersonal Communication Theory for Understanding Professional Encounters.

    Campus Reform reached out to Radford and Connaway for comment, but has not received responses from either.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @SFarkas48





    Sandor Farkas

    Sandor Farkas

    Collegiate Network Fellow
    Sandor Farkas is a Collegiate Network Fellow at Campus Reform. Prior to starting this fellowship, he was a Tikvah Fellow. Farkas earned a degree in history from Dartmouth College, where he was editor-in-chief of The Dartmouth Review. Farkas also serves as an officer in the Virginia Army National Guard.
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