Siobhan Stevenson holds a PhD in Library and Information Science from the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University. She began her academic career at York University, completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre in 1982. She continued developing her craft at the L’Ecole Jacques LeCoq in Paris France, where she also took French classes geared towards “les etranger” at l’Université Sorbonne-Paris. Unable to make a living as a clown (in the style of Commedia dell’arte) on her return to Canada, she got a job as a public library clerk. She obtained an MLIS from the University of Western Ontario, School of Library and Information Science, and went on to work for an agency of the Ontario government responsible for ensuring an integrated system of public library services among the province’s 200-plus municipal libraries. Over the next decade she moved into increasingly senior management roles and became intimately involved in the crafting of public information policies against the backdrop of Canada’s push to build its information highways. As a result of these experiences, she felt compelled to pursue a PhD in LIS within the area of critical information policy studies. She joined the iSchool in 2005 and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2010.
Professor Stevenson’s research agenda occupies two distinct areas. Her expertise resides in the field of critical policy studies, where she combines a political economy perspective with the analytic tools associated with critical discourse analysis in order to uncover sites of social contestation and hegemonic struggle over information resources and information labour. Her current interests involve the relationship between corporate social responsibility initiatives and the imposition of a regime of intellectual property rights that privilege global information elites.
Her second area of focus is the institution of the public library and its role in the reproduction of capitalism as system of social and economic integration. Here, the ubiquity of that institution and its seeming banality make it an ideal object of analysis for uncovering contemporary struggles around issues of class, race, and gender. She has recently concluded a four-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded pan-Canadian study of the changing nature of work in large urban libraries, paying particular attention to the fate of public librarianship as one form of specialized information work. With the help of many graduate students, this project included the development of a database containing 4,300 Canadian public library jobs ads from 1950 through to 2015.
Concentrations: Critical Information Policy Studies; Library and Information Science
critical policy studies, political economy, library and information science, information workers, immaterial labour, intellectual property regimes
Stevenson, S. “Immaterial Labour, Public Librarians, And Third-Generation Public Libraries.” New Library World, 117.3/4 (2016): 186-200.
—. and Domsy, C. “Redeploying Public Librarians to the Front Lines: Prioritizing Digital Inclusion.” Library Review 65.6/7 (2016): 370-385
—. “Maybe We Could Use Our Makerspaces to 3D Print Some Professional Libraries, MLS And All?” Feliciter 61.1 (Spring 2015): 23-24,27.
—. New “Labour in Libraries: The Post-Fordist Public Library.” Journal of Documentation 67.5 (2011): 773-790. Doi: 10.1108/00220411111164664
Michelle Beaudoin. “From “e-school” to “iSchool”: a Political Economy Analysis of Education for Librarianship.” In progress.
Sheril Hook. “Simultaneous Production of Agent and Agency: Information Literacy in a Neoliberal Context.” In progress.
Co-Advisor (with Professor Nadia Caidi)
Susan MacDonald. “Ontario Public Libraries in the context of Canadian Immigration Policy: From Industrial to Information Society.” In progress.
Masters of Information
Stella Palikarova. “A Socio-Economic Model of Disability as Emergent From Discourses on Ideologies And Ethical Issues Surrounding the Brain–Machine-Interface (BMIs).” In progress.
INF2155 Public Libraries in the Community: Developing a Critical Practice
INF 3900 Professional Preparation: Understanding the Triad of Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) In Today’s Workplace
INF 3901/02/03 The Coop Experience