Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science


Alexander Library 405A

E.E. Lawrence (they/them or he/him) conducts normative research on issues arising at the intersection of library & information ethics, readers/reading, and aesthetics. Their work seeks to intervene in interpretive disputes about the core values underpinning librarianship and what these entail, particularly with respect to leisure-time recommendation practices.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ph.D., Library & Information Science

University of Maryland, College Park
M.L.S., Library Science

University of Michigan
B.A., Comparative Literature


E.E. Lawrence’s work utilizes informal analytical methods to address questions about what we ought to do, believe, and value within the context of information cultures and institutions. They are especially interested in those questions that concern—or otherwise have implications for—the advancement of the library’s political aims via its recreational function. For instance, they ask in their research:

  • What ideal readers (and reader ideals) animate contemporary Readers’ Advisory? What sorts of skills, habits, or dispositions should we valorize in theory and in practice?
  • Under what conditions—if any—might we be called on to attempt to alter another person’s reading tastes?
  • When is an aesthetic recommendation un/successful? (And also: What constitutes success?)
  • What are librarians’ moral and pedagogical responsibilities vis-à-vis the use of automated recommender systems?

Some of Lawrence’s current projects include a conceptual analysis of the term diverse books, a critical inventory of the ways in which popular recommender systems abridge users’ aesthetic autonomy, and an interrogation of professional stereotype reaffirmation and resistance in popular romance novels authored by librarians. Future work will continue to explore various dimensions of leisure-time recommendation as an information practice.

Research Keywords

Selected Publications

Lawrence, E. (forthcoming). “Is Sensitivity Reading a Form of Censorship?” Journal of Information Ethics.

Lawrence, E. (2017). “Is Contemporary Readers’ Advisory Populist?: Taste elevation and ideological tension in the Genreflecting series.” Library Trends 65(4), 491-507.

Lawrence, E. (2017). “The Ethics of Contemporary Readers’ Advisory.” Proceedings of the Association for Information Science & Technology 54(1), 731-733.

Lawrence, E. and R. Fry. (2016). “Content Blocking and the Patron as Situated Knower: What would it take for an Internet filter to work?” Library Quarterly 86(4), 403-418.

Lawrence, E. (2015). “Everything is a Recommendation: Netflix, alt genres and the construction of taste.” Knowledge Organization 42(5), 358-364.

Awards & Recognitions

Berner-Nash Memorial Award, 2019

Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 2017

Miriam Braverman Memorial Prize, 2013