Register Today for the December Professional Development Webinar

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AzLA Professional Development

Dec 7, 2021, 11:34:35 PM12/7/21

Please join the AzLA Professional Development Committee for the December webinar.

This webinar is free to all librarians and library workers. Feel free to share it with your library colleagues.

Can't attend the live webinar? Register and you'll be sent a follow-up email with a link to the recorded webinar to watch at your convenience.


Registration Link:


Program Description:

Political neutrality has long been a governing principle of American librarianship. Going back to at least 1939, the ALA has treated library neutrality in this way, as conveyed in the Library Bill of Rights and the ALA Code of Ethics (, 2021). Many libraries explicitly include neutrality in operational policies and use it to secure equal treatment within their communities. However, a growing number of library workers, researchers, and writers are critically reassessing the role of neutrality in producing greater social justice. Neutrality provides a gloss wherein power structures can control information exchange and public access by relying on the myth that any deviation from a political “center” indicates bias and unfairness. On the contrary, it is argued that library neutrality inevitably perpetuates injustice, especially for people experiencing oppression and BIPOC communities in particular. An ethics of neutrality also separates current library practices from the material, historical reality of libraries functioning as racist, classist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, and transphobic institutions. With this in mind, it is vital to engage in an open and honest dialogue about neutrality and its role in putting boundaries around who can participate in libraries and do so while feeling safe and secure. In this program, a diverse group of panelists representing academic, public, and school libraries engage with the changing conceptualization of neutrality and its place in library governance. Panelists will focus on defining neutrality, personal and professional experiences with the harm done by institutional neutrality, and how libraries can move forward by shifting their focus to greater justice through diversity, inclusion, and equity. Doing so will help ignite a conversation in Arizona’s libraries that will help establish new modes of practice.


catherine lockmiller (she/her) is a health science librarian at Northern Arizona University. She completed her masters degree in English literature in 2011, and went on to complete a secondary masters degree in library information science in 2017. The best parts of her work involve researching and writing about critical theory in information science, and how it can build a resistance politics rooted in transformative justice. she gave a TEDx talk in 2018 on the harm done by sex assignment at birth, and in 2019 received a grant from the National Network for Libraries of Medicine to create an online course that details the lived realities and healthcare challenges of transgender and intersex athletes. catherine has recently started working with a colleague on organizing libraries and academic institutions in order to combat climate change and biodiversity collapse. In her spare time, she enjoys endurance running, backpacking, and weird video games.

Megan McGuire is a faculty librarian at Mesa Community College (MCC). She has worked at MCC for over 20 years starting as a student worker. She enjoys supporting students to succeed by teaching them about information creation, evaluation, and use, while also just being there as someone who will listen or provide a safe space to be. Megan’s work at the college surrounds equity and inclusion, open access to information, and online learning. She currently serves as Faculty Senate Vice President and a DEI Council Trichair. She loves the library mission of making communities stronger and empowering people in using information to enrich their lives. Her personal interests include reading all sorts of books except Westerns, hiking, attempting to garden, watching too much TV, and exploring Arizona with her kids.


Michelle Miranda-Thorstad (pronouns: she, hers/ ella) began working with in the public library field in 2010 where she grew to love the art of story hours. In 2017, she left public libraries in order to freely pursue inclusive story hours and was part of the core group to find Drag Story Hour- Arizona (DSH-Az) in Fall 2018. As the executive director, Michelle assisted in incorporating DSH-Az as the official Arizona chapter of the national Drag Queen Story Hour network. In 2020, Michelle joined Drag Queen Story Hour at the international level to assist in building the organization. Since then, she has been working developing story hours that help readers of all ages come together to be their truest selves. Beyond her nonprofit work, Michelle works for an academic library, and co-parents her Dachshund, Schnauzer, and American Short-Hair cat with her spouse in Mesa, Az.

Patricia Jimenez is a certified teacher-librarian at Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix, Arizona where she began as an English/Language Arts teacher. She is a proud alumna of Ball State University, Arizona State University, and most recently, the University of Arizona. With 28 years in public education, Patricia believes that every student deserves access to a school library and a committed and enthusiastic certified teacher-librarian.   


Sean George is currently the South Region Manager for the Phoenix Public Library and Co-Manager of the South Mountain Community Library, a partnership between the public library system and the Maricopa County Community College District.  Growing up in Florida and Louisiana, Sean has mixed Chahta, Mvskoke, and European heritage.  He completed his Bachelor's degree at the University of Southern Mississippi, finished his MLIS degree at Louisiana State University, and has worked in public schools and public libraries in Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, and now Arizona.


This webinar is sponsored by Emporia State University's School of Library and Information Management:

Lauren Clementino

AzLA Professional Development Chair

Reference Supervisor

Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library


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