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Borders and Belonging explores the role of libraries as both places of belonging as well as instruments of exclusion, xenophobia and assimilation. For over a century, North American libraries have liaised between immigrant communities and mainstream society by providing important sociocultural and educational services. Yet, outreach efforts have largely adhered to “Americanizing” ideals that reinforce ethnocentric and fatalist attitudes particularly toward undocumented and/or underprivileged migrants, refugees and asylees. As immigration continues to dominate public consciousness and political debates, the library profession must interrogate presumptions of immigrant incompetence or inferiority; professional awe whereby librarians are uncritically positioned as rescue workers; along with inattention to the contributions of immigrants within the profession as well as U.S. and Canadian societies. Through reflective essays, original research, and critical analyses presented by a range of specialists and thought leaders, Borders and Belonging challenges readers to dismantle problematic paradigms.
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