Coordinator of Instruction
Long Island University
MSLIS, Syracuse University, 2003
2014 ACRL Women and Gender Studies Section Significant Achievement Award for series title Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction by Maria T. Accardi
Photo © 2014 Michael Pilla
Queering the Collection
Classification is a cornerstone of library collections. After Emily Drabinski took a Theories of Classification class in library school and studied the “classification structures” of professional Scrabble players and high school wrestlers, she realized it was at the heart of human experience as well.
“As a queer person navigating heteronormative worlds, understanding my experience through classification structures felt true, too,” she recalls. “How can I change the structure so that life is better and more fair?”
Thirteen years later, Drabinski still strives toward that in her work as coordinator of instruction at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, where she brings queer, feminist, and radical materials to the collection and theory to the library workplace.
Drabinski also launched and edits a “Series on Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies” (Litwin Bks.) and sits on the editorial board of the academic journal Radical Teacher.
Recently she took the lead on migrating the journal to an open access platform, which kept it from folding. In the process of “explaining, convincing, and overseeing technical concerns beyond her normal expertise,” says nominator 2003 Mover & Shaker Jenna Freedman (Barnard Library), Drabinski became “an evangelist for open access publishing,” while also spreading “the gospel of librarianship to broader communities.”
Drabinski is a frequent presenter on these topics at conferences. “Emily has been enormously successful popularizing philosophies and pedagogies in mainstream circles,” says Freedman’s co-nominator Alana Kumbier. “In addition to modeling an approach to librarianship that combines advocacy, theory, and practice, she enables others to develop their own reflective, critical approach to librarianship.”