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Events: Sherrer Lecture

Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture in Library Service

Carolyn Caffrey
Associate Librarian at California State University, Dominguez Hills

Challenging Bias through Algorithmic Literacy
Friday, September 23rd, 2022
3:00 PM, Reception to Follow
Albany 220, Lewis & Clark College



Algorithms play an influential role in how information is filtered, mediated, and recommended in an online environment; yet their outsized role is often unaddressed in current media literacy and information literacy practices. As Virginia Eubanks so aptly phrases, algorithms can “automate inequality” by hardwiring racial and gender bias into the artificial intelligence frameworks that shape our lives. This talk will discuss definitional considerations for algorithmic literacy and how we, as non-coders, can mitigate bias and push for more transparent algorithms. The presenter will also share practical examples for educators and library professionals to incorporate algorithmic literacy into their own practice.

Carolyn Caffrey is the information literacy coordinator and an Associate Librarian at California State University, Dominguez Hills, where she focuses on integrating information literacy into the curriculum. Her research interests include critical pedagogy, algorithmic literacy, and information literacy program structures. Carolyn’s writing has appeared in College & Research Libraries, Reference Services Review, and Library Quarterly, among other venues.

About the Sherrer Lecture

The Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture in Library Service was established in 1999 by James J. Kopp to commemorate the contributions and legacies of a respected friend, colleague, and champion of service. Johannah was the Director of Lewis & Clark's Aubrey R. Watzek Library from July 1993 until her death in September 1998. 

Known for her warm smile, her boundless energy, vitality, and drive, her compassion and friendliness to all creatures great and small, and her devotion to service in all its connotations, Johannah Sherrer was a friend, a colleague, a mentor, a leader, and a champion of libraries.

Johannah came to Lewis & Clark in 1993 from Duke University where she served as Head of Reference.  She held positions as Coordinator of Reference Services and Collection Development and then Director of Public Services at the University of Northern Colorado.  She worked at the University of Dayton from 1970 to 1979, initially as Reference Librarian and then as Head of Reference.  She received her MSLS from the University of Kentucky, an MA in History from the University of Dayton, and her BA degree from the University of Portland.

Johannah authored and co-authored numerous articles and book chapters and was a frequent speaker and panelist at library conferences.  She chaired the ALA's Professional Ethics Committee and several other committees at the national, regional, and state levels.

Previous Sherrer Lectures

2021 - "Collecting Representative History : Building Community Archives"
Hannah Leah Crummé, Lewis & Clark College; Jennifer Fang, Japanese American Museum of Oregon; Anne LaVant Prahl, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education; Mariah Berlanga-Shevchuk, Five Oaks Museum

2019 - "Special Collections as Humanities and Science Lab: Getting Students Excited About Primary Sources"
Heather Wolfe, Folger Shakespeare Library

2018 -- "Local Codes:  Forms of Spatial Knowledge"
Shannon Mattern, The New School

2017 -- "Library Values and the Call to Service in Academic Libraries"
Scott Walter, DePaul University

2016 -- "An Imperfect Effort to Build the Perfect Academic Press"
Bryn Geffert, Amherst College

2015 -- "Google Searching for Black Girls: Old Media Stereotypes in New Media Practices"
Safiya Umoja Noble, University of California, Los Angeles

2014 -- "Discovering Information:  Investigations into How Students Search"
Andrew Asher, Indiana University

2013 -- "What Librarians and Faculty Should Know about Today's Students and Their Research Practices"
Alison J. Head, Project Information Literacy

2012 -- "Coming Soon to Campus:  The New "Free Agent" Learner - Are You Ready?" 
Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow 

2011 -- "Forward Thinking: Aligning Library Services with Faculty Needs"
Roger C. Schonfeld, ITHAKA S+R

2010 -- "Think with Me: The Possibilities of Public Conversations in Cultural Institutions"
David Carr, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

2009 -- "Straws In the Wind: Emerging Models of Library Service"
Lizabeth (Betsy) A. Wilson, University of Washington

2008 -- "Aligning Academic Libraries with Real User Needs"
Susan Gibbons, University of Rochester

2007 -- "A Convergence of Pathways:  Re-imagining Image Collections for Tomorrow's Teachers and Learners"
Elisa Lanzi, Smith College

2006 -- "Peering Through the Net:  Student Perspectives on the Net Generation--A Panel Presentation"
Craig Beebe, Tyler Caffall, Charlotte Helmer, Mahria Lebow, Mindy Ross, Eric Valentine

2004 -- "On the Same Path:  Faculty, Librarians, and IT Collaboration"
Susan L. Perry, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Council on Library and Information Resources

2003 -- "The Changing Face of Service:  A Panel Presentation"
Patricia Cutright, Victoria Hanawalt, John Helmer, Elaine Heras, Scott Smith

2002 -- "Service in a Collaborative Way"
Joan K. Lippincott, Coalition for Networked Information

2001 -- "The Importance of Being Learned"
Elizabeth A. Dupuis, University of Texas

2000 -- "The Fate of Service in an Increasingly Digital and Commercial World"
Jerry D. Campbell, University of Southern California

1999 -- "Service in a Complex Future"
Walt Crawford, Research Libraries Group