Holding Space to Discuss a Complicated Past: Exploring Medical Libraries’ Role in Perpetuating Racial Science, A Region 6 Spotlight Speaker Webinar

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Based on a recent commentary published in the Journal of Medical Library Association (JMLA) called, “Medical Libraries and Their Complicated Past: An Exploration of the Historical Connections Between Medical Collections and Racial Science,” this webinar presentation will briefly dive into the historical connections between medical libraries and racial science, especially focusing on empire building. This presentation will highlight ways for library workers, particularly those involved in library instruction, to engage their learners critically in understanding how medical sciences and collections have been shaped by racial science discourse that still endure in today’s medical practices experienced by patients who identify as Black, Indigenous, or persons of color.

Guest Speakers


Raymond Pun (he/him), Ed.D., MLS, is the Academic and Research Librarian at the Alder Graduate School of Education, a teacher residency program in California. In this role, he provides research support to graduate students/preservice teachers and teacher educators Pun is also a faculty member in the MA Pathway Program at Alder GSE. In addition, Pun is an active member in library associations such as the Librarians, Archivists, and Museum Professionals in the History of the Health Sciences (LAMPHHS).

Nicollette Davis (she/her) is an Assistant Librarian for Social Work, Kinesiology, and Health Sciences at Louisiana State University and based in Baton Rouge, LA. In 2023, she was selected as an Emerging Leader by the American Library Association. Her interests include critical librarianship, BIPOC community building, community engagement, and person-centered practices in LIS.

Patrice R. Green (she/her) is the Curator for African American and African Diasporic Collections at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In 2022, she was selected as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Heritage based at the Rare Book School. Green holds master’s degrees in Public History and Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina, with training focused on museums and material culture, historic preservation, and archives and preservation management. Her interests include archival representation, knowledge justice, and Black history and culture. Additionally, her work has allowed her to develop and steward collections that center Black life, enhance teaching and learning experiences, and cultivate Black memory


This webinar aligns with NNLM's objectives of empowering libraries and other members to cultivate a well-trained workforce in biomedical and health information resources while also striving to enhance health equity through valuable information. Focused on library workers, particularly those involved in library instruction, the webinar delves into the importance of engaging learners in understanding the historical influence of racial science discourse on medical sciences and collections. It sheds light on the enduring impact of these narratives on today's medical practices, especially for patients who identify as Black, Indigenous, or persons of color. The webinar aims to promote greater awareness and informed discussions within the medical librarianship community and beyond by addressing this crucial topic.

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Class Recording

Class Details

Date(s): November 17, 2023
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST
Platform: Zoom
CE Credits: 1.00
This class is sponsored by Region 6.
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Class Contacts

Host/Instructor: Bobbi L. Newman
Technical Assistance: Miles Dietz-Castel

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Register anyway and you'll receive the recording after the event.