VALA2020 Plenary 6 Walker

Be the Goose: On Barriers, Roadblocks and Finding Your Way in Library and Information Science

Thursday 13 February 2020, 4:00 – 5:10

Cecily Walker
  • Librarian
  • Social justice advocate

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2020 #p6

View the video of the presentation and view the presentation slides here:


People who live at the intersection of many different identities can sometimes experience barriers to success while working in libraries. While much of the literature acknowledges the existence of the physical, systemic, and personal barriers that can cause a marginalized person to believe that they are a poor fit for their organization, the demographic makeup of the profession ensures that marginalized people will find it difficult to find allies, mentors or advocates who share or are sympathetic to their unique challenges.

What’s a person to do when all she sees around her are people who don’t look like her or who don’t experience life the way she does? Cecily Walker will discuss some of the barriers she and other multiply marginalized librarians have experienced as they move through the profession, and she will share how she found an unlikely role model thanks to a video game about a little white goose.


Cecily Walker is a passionate librarian with 15 years experience in the profession. Currently based in Vancouver, her unique professional journey spans user experience, community digital projects, digital collections, and the intersection of social justice, technology and public librarianship. It was her frustration with the way that software was designed to meet the needs of highly technical users rather than the general public that led her to user experience, but it was her love of information, intellectual freedom, and commitment to social justice that led her back to librarianship. VALA represents Cecily’s first trip to Australia, but she hopes it won’t be her last.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.