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Harsha Walia is a South Asian activist formally trained in the law and author of the award-winning book Undoing Border Imperialism. For the past two decades she has been involved in grassroots community organizing including No One Is Illegal, Anti-Capitalist Convergence, Defenders of the Land, and February 14th Women's Memorial March Committee. Harsha has made numerous presentations on race, gender and poverty to the United Nations and across campuses and media outlets in North America and Europe. She also sits on the editorial boards of Abolition Journal, Radical Desi, and Feminist Wire. Harsha is a recipient of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives Power of Youth Award, Westender's Best of the City in Activism Award, and been named one of the most influential South Asians in BC by the Vancouver Sun and "one of Canada's most brilliant and effective organizers" by Naomi Klein. Harsha's keynote will explore the challenges and possibilities of knowledge structured through the commons. What are the social, economic and political contexts of power and injustice that need to be subverted and transformed in order to ensure just relations with marginalized communities? How can sites and spaces of institutional knowledge act in the service of social movements?

Lisa Sloniowski is an Associate Librarian at York University where she is the liaison to the Department of English Literature. She is also a PhD student in the interdisciplinary Social and Political Thought program at York. Her research interests all relate to different ways of theorizing the contributions of libraries and archives to scholarly and cultural knowledge production from a feminist perspective, and as such her work ranges from examinations of labour issues to the cataloging of special collections to critical information literacy to the so-called semantic web. Lisa recently co-organized a 2 day workshop for academic librarians interested in critical librarianship, co-edited a special issue of Open Shelf on Academic Librarians and the PhD, and is the co-investigator on the SSHRC-funded Feminist Porn Archive and Research Project. In 2016, Lisa won the Library Juice Annual Paper contest for her article "Affective Labour, Resistance, and the Academic Librarian" which was published in the journal Library Trends. She is currently working on her dissertation provisionally entitled "Vexing Collections: Librarians and Disorder" and no, you may not ask how it's going. Lisa's keynote is entitled: Affective Resistance and the Academic Librarian

President's Reception May 29th

The President’s Receptions, hosted by Ryerson University, are a long-standing Congress tradition and an excellent networking opportunity. The Congress 2017 President's Reception for CAPAL will take place in the Mattamy Athletic Centre, the historic Maple Leaf Gardens, from 17:00 to 19:00 on May 29th.
The President's Reception is open to all registered CAPAL Congress attendees. 

CFP: Call for Proposals

CAPAL17: Foundations & Futures: Critical Reflections on the Pasts, Presents, and Possibilities of Academic Librarianship

CAPAL/ACBAP Annual Meeting – May 30 – June 1, 2017

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2017

Ryerson University

Toronto, Ontario

The Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians (CAPAL) invites you to participate in its annual conference, to be held as part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, which lies in the territory of the Haudenosaunee and the Mississaugas of the New Credit River. This conference offers librarians and allied professionals across all disciplines an alternative space to share research and scholarship, challenge current thinking about professional issues, and forge new relationships.


In keeping with the Congress 2017 theme, From Far and Wide: The Next 150, our focus is CAPAL17: Foundations & Futures: Critical Reflections on the Pasts, Presents, and Possibilities of Academic Librarianship.

This conference provides an opportunity for the academic library community to critically examine and discuss together the ways in which our profession is influenced by its social, political, and economic environments. By considering academic librarianship within its historical contexts, its presents, and its possible futures, and by situating it within evolving cultural frameworks and structures of power, we can better understand the ways in which academic librarianship may reflect, reinforce, or challenge these contexts both positively and negatively.

How can “recalling, retelling, and scrutinizing” our stories help us to understand the present and envision the future of academic librarianship? What are the logics and practices that constitute and reconstitute our profession, and inform our assumptions and approaches?

This conference engages with current discussions surrounding what many consider to be a significant juncture in academic librarianship: the turn towards critically examining the contexts and roots of our profession. How for instance, do we as a profession integrate understanding of the pasts and presents of broader social contexts and engage meaningfully in these necessary conversations?

Potential Topics:

Papers presented might relate to aspects of the following themes (though they need not be limited to them):

  • Critical reflections on librarian identity, agency, and representation (in areas such as gender, sexuality, race, decolonization/indigenization, professionalism, stereotypes)
  • Critical reflections on core values: intellectual and academic freedom, access to information, privacy of information, preservation and curation, professionalism, etc.
  • Bringing the oppositional practices of broader social mobilization around movements (e.g., Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, transgender rights, and others) to bear on our work
  • Critical librarianship in practice: collections development and management, information literacy, reference services, and other areas of service (e.g., cultural bias in knowledge organization; absent histories, etc.)
  • Critical reflections on career paths (e.g., early-career professionals, new and emerging roles, specializations, management, leadership, etc.)
  • Unpacking of language, rhetoric, and discourse that influence and constitute our profession and services (e.g., buzzwords, military or business speak, oppositional discourses of past/future, print/digital, progressive/obsolete, etc.)
  • Modes of knowledge creation, research dissemination, and engagement (e.g., oral traditions, co-creation, copyright, open access, and other forms of scholarly communication, etc.)
  • Critical review of current educational requirements and training for academic librarians

The Program Committee invites proposals for individual papers as well as proposals for panel submissions of three papers. Proposed papers must be original and not have been published elsewhere.

  • Individual papers are typically 20 minutes in length. For individual papers, please submit an abstract of no more than 400 words and a presentation title, with a brief biographical statement and your contact information.
  • For complete panels, please submit a panel abstract of no more than 400 words as well as a list of all participants and brief biographical statements, and a separate abstract of no more than 400 words for each presenter. Please identify and provide participants’ contact information for the panel organizer.

Please feel free to contact the Program Committee to discuss a topic for a paper, panel, or other session format. Proposals should be emailed as an attachment as a .doc or .docx file, using the following filename conventions:

  • Lastname_Keywordoftopic.docx

Proposals and questions should be directed to the Program Chair, Courtney Waugh at

Deadline for Proposals: the 3rd of January, 2017

Further information about the conference, as well as Congress 2017 more broadly, will be available soon.