Course Readings Centered on the Experience of Identity and Location, Place, and Situation
Column Editor: David Parker (Publisher and Founder, Lived Places Publishing; Phone: 201-673-8784)
Against the Grain V34#6
In the middle of the summer of 2020, as the pandemic raged and the death of George Floyd became both a catalyst and an awakening, I awoke one early morning to an all-consuming question: where are the books that explore social identity in the context of place, location, or situation? Where might publishing professionals bring in diverse, inclusive topics? For example, the experience of a person with sensory disability undergoing a surgical procedure; or the experience of a graduate student from Africa newly landed in a teaching position in a university in New Zealand; or an elderly queer person faced with moving into a retirement home; or the experience of a black feminist doing explicitly womanist research; or the reflections of a Mexican-American scholar on growing up in the southern United States? Thus, was born the idea for Lived Places Publishing (LPP).
The very next day I called my dear friend of 25 years Chris McAuley, a professor at UC Santa Barbara, and shared my idea for LPP with him. Chris and I quickly arrived at a framework for the publishing effort. We would recruit experienced academics to lead interdisciplinary and disciplinary collections as editors charged with securing promising titles and overseeing the peer review process. We would launch collections such as Black Studies, Disability Studies, Education Studies, Gender Studies, Queer and LGBT+ Studies, Forced Migration Studies, Latinx Studies, and more. And within these collections we would publish course readings that examined the intersection of social identity and situation/location.
My career in academic publishing and library database development juxtaposed nicely with Chris’s career as a professor and researcher. Together we defined our publishing focus, our author recruiting strategy and, importantly, how we would address access, distribution, affordability, and support for both author compensation and open access, based on author choice.
Fast forward to today, at the end of 2022, and Lived Places Publishing has 12 active collections, more than 50 books under contract, five books published, and a production schedule that looks to produce between 40 and 45 titles in 2023. We receive several new book proposals each week, outreach from prospective new collection editors with wonderfully creative ideas for new collections, and inquiries from faculty who want to integrate LPP titles into their syllabus.
Expanding Lived Places Publishing’s Library Collaboration
In the nine years I have been writing this column in Against the Grain, I have not presented my work, but rather uplifted the work of librarians, publishers, and organizations committed to enhancing the role of librarians in supporting teaching and learning and curriculum development. Today I break from this precedent and seek deeper collaborations and partnerships which expand Lived Places Publishing into academic and research libraries.
Not very long after Chris and I developed the outline of what LPP would be as a publishing company, I reached out to Jon Cawthorne, past ACRL President and Wayne State Librarian, to see if the concept resonated with a librarian. That first discussion with Jon led to him becoming the founding member of our advisory board. Jon has patiently and sagely advised our fledgling enterprise since inception and has been pivotal in defining our commercial and open access model with libraries in mind.
LPP books are available in print and eBook formats, and distributed through known library workflow solutions (ProQuest and Ebsco), and lesser-known products like Perlego, as well as directly from our website, Amazon, and many other digital book vendors. But our focus is with the collection as an institutional solution delivered directly by Lived Places to academic libraries. To this end, we offer the following attributes of our product:
• DRM-free, unlimited user access and unrestricted PDF download of titles
• Whole eBook interlibrary loan to one partner institution at a time
• 5% of all sales set aside to fund author-choice open access publishing at our average production cost (which we will publish on our website and update every six months)
• Affordable, perpetual access pricing with region-appropriate discounts to ensure every university across the globe can own the LPP collection
The First 40 Lived Places Publishing Titles
Our 2023 collection of 40 titles bears the mark of our distinctive approach to publishing course reading titles that examine the intersection of identity and situation/location. Here are just five examples:
1. Music and Black Community in Segregated North Carolina — Greg Freeland, California Lutheran University
2. Improving the Experience of Healthcare for People Living with Sensory Disability — Annmaree Watharow, The University of Sydney
3. Social Spaces for Older Queer Adults — David Betts, University of Newcastle
4. How Taiwan Awakens the Imagination of Young Africans — Charles Akwen, University of Lagos
5. Reconstructing Memory, Place, and Identity in Twentieth Century Houston: Sangre Mexicano, Corazon Chicano — Louis Mendoza, Arizona State University
Each LPP book includes learning objectives, recommended assignments and discussion guides, and is written at a length to be completed in two to three weeks of a course. Lived Places Publishing books are written to bring theory and concept to life and to illustrate the theories and concepts that underpin the curriculum in each discipline we publish to.
Early Adopters, Open Trials and Library Champions
We have just launched our library collection with our first five books: https://livedplacespublishing.com/page/librarians We will publish eight more titles in the first months of 2023, and our pace of publishing will accelerate into the spring, summer, and fall. We are looking for subject librarians, collection development leaders and those librarians who work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion movements in higher education. As a champion of our growing collection, we are looking for examples of how our collection resonates with faculty, departments and courses. Towards this end, we are offering open-ended trials for winter, summer and fall 2023 to fit academic course planning cycles. We look forward to feedback and guidance from the library community.
Please let us know if your library will join us in an extended, open trial, the length of which to be defined by your institutional needs. We understand the importance of not interrupting student or faculty access mid-semester. We have a set of guided questions for which we seek feedback that will be made available for review on request.
If we have sparked your interest in our publishing mission, and if you want to help us connect with curriculum and course changemakers at your school, then we ask that you join us as an early adopter or early trial partner of our 2023 collection of 40 course reading titles by connecting with our founder and publisher David Parker at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.