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Call for Book Chapters 2016 : Cross-Border Librarianship in North America


When Jun 1, 2016 - Sep 15, 2016
Where N/A
Submission Deadline Jun 1, 2016
Final Version Due Sep 15, 2016
Categories    book chapters   libraries   librarianship   transnational studies

Call For Papers

Call for Book Chapter Proposals:
Cross-Border Librarianship in North America
Proposal Submission Deadline: June 1, 2016


Robin Isard, Algoma University
Adam Stewart, Bruce Mines and Plummer Additional Union Public Library

Book Description:

One of the values of earning a library degree for citizens of Canada, Mexico, and the United States is that—after graduation—these librarians are free to pursue employment opportunities in any of these three countries. Librarianship is one of sixty-three professions that benefit from Section 214(e) of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), permitting specific professionals renewable, temporary entry into Canada, Mexico, and the United States after submitting only a few required documents at the time of entry. The number of librarians working across NAFTA member countries is further increased by those individuals who possess multiple citizenship—for example, both Canadian and American or Mexican and American citizenship—who are similarly free to pursue work in multiple NAFTA member countries.

Despite the fact that library school faculty frequently encourage their students to pursue these cross-border employment opportunities, knowing what to expect once on the other side of the border is a topic not usually covered in library school curriculum. This book aims to demystify the experience of cross-border librarianship by assembling a collection of essays written by librarians who have navigated this specific form of transnational information work. Contributors will draw on their professional and personal experiences to write anonymized, educational—and at the same time—engaging and reflexive, narratives, which explore rewards, challenges, and best-practices in cross-border librarianship in North America. Essays will adopt the approach of life writing as the editors believe that this format is the most effective platform to support their goal of providing informative and engaging essays that can also serve as primary source material documenting the cultural, economic, historical, and political significance of this phenomenon.

The book will be organized around a number of themes such as “The Interview, Arrival, and Adjustment,” “The Work Experience,” “Law, Funding, and Politics,” “Class, Gender, and Race,” and “Standards and Technology.” Individual essays will address specific aspects of these themes written from the various national (Canada, Mexico, and the United States) and sector-specific (academic, public, school, and special libraries) experiences of the contributors. When completed, this book will represent the first study to address the specific experience of cross-border librarianship in North America, and will appeal to both library students and librarians contemplating this type of work as well as librarians desiring to better understand their own transnational work experiences.

Invitation to Contributors:

We invite proposals for essays exploring rewards, challenges, and best-practices in North American, cross-border librarianship written by librarians who have participated in this practice. Contributors should be citizens of Canada, Mexico, and/or the United States and have worked in a NAFTA member country other than the one they consider to be their primary residence, for example, a Canadian working in the United States or a Mexican working in Canada.

Contributors are expected to draw deeply on their professional and personal experiences to write anonymized, educational—and at the same time—engaging and reflexive, narratives that focus on a specific aspect of one of the above general themes around which the book is organized. Essays should be examples of life writing, using narrative and literary devices to engage the reader and help illuminate the lessons learned. An essay that might fit under the theme “The Work Experience,” for example, could be titled, “Precarious Prosperity: One Canadian Librarian’s Experience in a Right-to-Work State.” The editors welcome proposals that do not fit under the above preliminary themes given that—at the present time—these are only working concepts. Both sole- and co-authored essays are welcome.

Chapter Content:

Completed essays should include:

1. Basic demographic information for the author, including a discussion of citizenship.
2. Description of the author’s library school training and how it prepared them (or did not prepare them) for cross-border librarianship.
3. Engagement with a specific issue experienced while working as a cross-border librarian in North America that relates to one of the themes around which the book is organized.
4. Professional and personal reflections on the author’s experience of cross-border librarianship. (E.g., What were the rewards and challenges of cross-border librarianship? What are some of the differences between librarianship in Canada, Mexico, and/or the United States? What surprised you and why? What do you know now that you wish you knew before you pursued cross-border librarianship?)
5. Recommendations for best-practices in cross-border librarianship. (E.g., What are essential or special skills for cross-border librarians? What are some of the ways that library students and librarians can acquire these skills before embarking on cross-border librarianship? What can library schools do to better prepare their students for embarking on cross-border librarianship?)
6. Final chapters should total between 5,000 and 6,000 words in length.

Proposal Submissions:

Proposals should be single-spaced MS Word documents and include:

1. A working title.
2. A brief description of the essay in no more than 250 words.
3. The name and biographical information of the author, clearly describing their citizenship, education, and work experience.
4. A curriculum vitae or resumé for the author.
5. A writing sample. This could be, for instance, a previously published article or essay, a selection from an unpublished manuscript, or a newsletter article or blog post that accurately represents the author’s writing style.

Send completed proposals to: and


Please submit completed proposals no later than June 1, 2016.
Authors will be notified by June 15, 2016 whether or not their proposals have been accepted.
The deadline to submit completed essays is September 15, 2016.

About the Editors:

Robin Isard is Acting University Librarian at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and holds an MLIS from the University of Western Ontario. Robin started his library career working at the District of Columbia Public Library in Washington, D.C. as Head of Intranet Development. Following that, he lived many years overseas, primarily in West Africa, building IT infrastructure in The Republic of the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, and Guinea Conakry. He also worked in Ethiopia and Uganda on a telehealth project on behalf of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario. Currently, Robin is the Systems Librarian at Algoma University where he works primarily with open source technologies.

Adam Stewart is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Librarian at the Bruce Mines and Plummer Additional Union Public Library in Bruce Mines, Ontario, and holds a PhD from the University of Waterloo and an MLIS from the University of Western Ontario. Before beginning a career as a librarian, Adam worked as a Lecturer in religious studies and sociology at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo and has published widely—including one edited and one sole-authored book—in the fields of religious studies and sociology. His first position after library school was as a Librarian in Chicago, Illinois and he subsequently supervised an archive and special library at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

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