We don’t just live in a bubble, separated from society

Although it is not my intent to do research in the form of a thesis for this degree, most of my interests tend to run towards social justice. In particular issues of intellectual freedom and freedom of information are of great interest to me, so if I was going to do research I it would be in this realm.

This is my second year at the iSchool at U of T. Last year I took a class about issues in librarianship for children and teenagers. We frequently discussed access to library materials to minors, which is the source of much debate among those in “library land.” Minors are sometimes limited to the types of information that they can access at the library in particular on the internet, although this is more common in the United States than in Canada. I would hope that my research could be more subtle, or something at least somewhat less examined.

In this fantasy parallel universe where I am doing research I would like to study the manner in which information is mediated in libraries through less obvious means, such as the biases of those charged with selecting materials. Reading Kristin Luker she discusses the impact that Foucault had on the 20th century research. She states that we can no longer take for granted that society exists in some “uncomplicated way and that we can measure and study it without undue fuss” (p.8, 2008). This is important, because I believe that it ties into the theme of my research topic. We should assume that some level of censorship, conscious or otherwise, occurs when selecting materials simply because those selecting the materials don’t live in some bubble separate from society.


I am not entirely sure how one would go about researching this, and the type of “library” would probably have to be narrowed quite a bit (to public or academic, for example). I guess learning how to go about this research question is something I will be learning in this class!



Luker, K. (2010). Salsa dancing into the social sciences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.



1 Comment

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One response to “We don’t just live in a bubble, separated from society

  1. Hi Portia,
    I also took the course Issues in Children and Young Adults’ Services last year, and thought it was very interesting to learn that in some libraries children and teens have been denied access to certain books (e.g., Harry Potter, Huckleberry Finn, The Diary of Anne Frank). Perhaps naively, I didn’t even realize it was an issue until I took the course. It would be interesting to learn the extent of this problem in Canada (censorship appears to be much more prevalent in the United States).

    I think that research in your chosen research area, accessibility and censorship and the bias that leads to it, could provide very useful information for those who are concerned about intellectual freedom. I definitely want to learn more!


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