Accesso Libre

Equity of Access to Information through the Lens of Neoliberal Responsiblization


  • Roderic Crooks UC Irvine



This paper uses the concept of neoliberal responsibilization, the reductive framing of systemic power dynamics as questions of individual choice and agency, to critically interrogate equity of access to information, a central value of the broader field of library and information science (LIS). Based on a case study of Accesso Libre, a public/private partnership based in a South Los Angeles public library, I argue that equity of access to information is an insufficient concept to evaluate the power dynamics of this (and similar) partnerships, wherein powerful corporations encourage the use of commercial informational resources in minoritized communities. As an alternative, responsibilization directs analysis to different questions about equity, a set of concerns that offer LIS theorists and practitioners a way of reflecting on the ethical commitments at the core of the field. 

Pre-print first published online 03/09/2019

Author Biography

Roderic Crooks, UC Irvine

Assistant Professor, Department of Informatics