E.E. Lawrence


Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science


Alexander Library 405A

E.E. Lawrence (he/him) conducts normative research on issues arising at the intersection of library & information ethics, readers/reading, and aesthetics. His 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. He is 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, he asks in his 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 developing an account of the freedom to read that can capture systemic threats to our reading lives (such as those posed by inequities in the publishing industry) and an exploration of what it means to be a genuinely self-governing reader under non-ideal conditions.

Centers, Labs, Working Groups, and Clusters

Selected Publications

Lawrence, E. (in press). Of acquisitions & interference: Accounting for systemic threats to the freedom to read. Journal of Documentation.

Lawrence, E. (2021). "The Trouble with Diverse Books, Part II: An informational pragmatic analysis." Journal of Documentation.

Lawrence, E. (2020). "The Trouble with Diverse Books, Part I: On the limits of conceptual analysis for political negotiation in Library & Information Science." Journal of Documentation.

Lawrence, E. (2020). "Category Romances, Cozy Mysteries, and Civic Virtues: Justifying the promotion of popular fiction in the public library." Library Quarterly.

Lawrence, E. (2020). "On the Problem of Oppressive Tastes in the Public Library." Journal of Documentation 76(5), 1091-1107.

Awards & Recognitions

Berner-Nash Memorial Award, 2019

Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 2017

Miriam Braverman Memorial Prize, 2013

Research Keywords