ALVIN M. SCHRADER
SCHOOL OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA



Ongoing Research Projects
Intellectual freedom and censorship

The aim of this ongoing work is to explore issues and trends in complaints about the ideas and materials that are made available through libraries in all sectors and schools in Canada and beyond. Of special interest is the relationship between freedom of expression and human rights within the context of library collections and services.

Queering libraries: Library services to sexual minority and gender variant (LGBTQ*) communities

This research explores the challenges and issues of inclusive library policies, services, and collections in all sectors about and for those who identify as sexual minority or gender variant—LGBTQ* or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, trans-identified, intersex, two-spirited, queer, and questioning individuals. One area of emphasis is on Canadian youth with limited Internet access and resources in rural and smaller urban areas. The research includes library policies and strategies for supporting LGBTQ* communities, starting with the need for a legal, ethical, and mission framework for dealing with sexual minority and gender identity issues, and challenging myths, stereotypes, and barriers to inclusive collections and services.

Intellectual freedom, Internet access, and filtering

This research addresses Internet filtering, including the implications of filtering in schools and libraries. Of special interest is the "digital closet" issuing from the adoption of commercial filters, focusing on questions about Internet access to constitutionally protected LGBTQ* information and websites and on the impact that the digital closet has particularly on young people.

Intellectual freedom and content labelling, ratings, viewer and audience advisories, and "trigger warnings," in all media

This research is concerned with the growing propensity in all forms of contemporary media to tag ? expressive content with keywords and descriptors that focus on selected dimensions such as sexuality, violence, and obscenity. These are forms of prior censorship, prejudicing readers/viewers/listeners to focus in advance on narrow, possibly even inconsequential, components of artistic expression rather than on overall themes, meaning, and value.

Challenges in articulating the value of libraries

This research addresses questions about traditional library statistics, how well they communicate the deep meaning of library value and effectiveness, and directions for developing new metrics that will shift awareness from raw numbers to library use, attitudes, and benefits as experienced through the user's eyes – from an insider vision to a culture of user-centred assessment. Recent research explored 2010 statistics and value propositions in all Canadian library sectors for the Canadian Library Association (National Statistical and Values Profile of Canadian Libraries, with Appendix A and Appendix B).

We are here: Edmonton queer history project

This is a continuing collaborative initiative to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Pride celebrations in Edmonton in 2015, by documenting, preserving, and raising public awareness of queer contributions in every sphere of daily life – social, nightlife, sports, religious, artistic, literary, educational, media, work, business, family, ethnic, political, legal – to the development of the City over the last half century or so, and especially aspects with ongoing civic impact. The project involves archival and media research and oral history interviews.

Earlier areas of research include school to work transitional experiences, professional education, foundations of library and information studies, inquiry methodology and theory construction, research and scholarship in academic librarianship, and Internet access policies (see resource guide to the Internet access policies of Canadian libraries in the public sector, which was archived in 2009).


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