Higher education institutions are increasingly formalizing internationalization priorities into their strategic plans. As a result library and information science (LIS) programs are beginning to encourage the inclusion of more international perspectives in student experiences. One means of doing so is by drawing upon international librarianship (IL), an LIS field of study since the 1950s. However, IL is a relatively small field that is not understood well. In order for IL to be studied, practiced, and funded in ways that are appropriate to its potential, this essay revisits the concept of IL, discusses some of its misconceptions, and advocates for more intentional, reciprocal, and reflective applications. It is also argued that IL praxis should be coupled with critical theorist (or critical librarian) values, in order to achieve the most balanced relationships.

About Author

Melanie Sellar began cultivating her teaching practice as the Community Outreach and then later eLearning Librarian at the University of California, Irvine. She then moved on to architect the next iteration of the information literacy program at Marymount California University in her role as the Education Services Librarian. Most recently Melanie has been further deepening her teaching praxis and pedagogical foundations in her work as Senior Instructional Designer at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Education where she develops online learning experiences and professional development programs for education faculty and graduate students. In 2005 as an MLIS graduate student at the University of Western Ontario (Canada), Melanie founded the non-profit organization Librarians Without Borders (LWB); she has served as its Co-Executive Director nearly continuously from that time. This LWB work led Melanie to the opportunity to teach international librarianship at the San Jose State University iSchool, where she has been an adjunct faculty member since 2015. In addition to her MLIS, Melanie has a BA in Linguistics from McMaster University and an MA in Linguistics from the University of Ottawa.