Background: Medical libraries are engaging more with institutional repositories IRs and with critical librarianship. Libraries interested in using a critical librarianship framework for their IRs have the opportunity to apply this to their strategic plans. Critical librarianship is the belief that, in our work as librarians, we should examine and fight attempts at social oppression. This concept also applies to IRs. If the IR as a neutral space is unachievable and an actively harmful idea, it is important to strategize how to address that in our repository. Targeted outreach efforts can help to ensure a wider representation of items collected.
Description: Outreach tactics applying critical librarianship in an IR can be conceptualized from the beginning or incorporated later in a project. Although more complicated than relying solely on PubMed searches and self-submitted items, these efforts are necessary to ensure the IR is gathering and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion of authors and subject matter. Targeted outreach efforts undertaken to promote equity and representation will be discussed. Outreach at an individual author level, organizational departments, and employee affinity groups will be discussed. While PubMed searches capture many articles for inclusion, outreach and awareness is the main tactic to collect other literature. Strategies for increasing IR representation and diversity of authors, employment categories, locations, and subject matter in a large, complex institution will be explored. It is the goal that a critical librarianship informed IR can be a tool in addressing medical disparities.
Conclusion: Critical librarianship informed targeted outreach efforts as part of the launch and/or strategic planning for an IR creates the space to devote staff time and purpose for this intrinsic goal. This is an ongoing approach to medical library IR management and designed to inspire conversation. With both institutional repositories and critical librarianship as emerging and growing concepts in medical librarianship these discussions will be useful and instructive to institutional repository managers in medical and health science libraries.