How Policies Portray Students: A Discourse Analysis of Codes of Conduct in Academic Libraries

Megan Bresnahan


In academic libraries, “codes of conduct” are policies that define what people who use those libraries are allowed to do in library spaces and serve as rules for enforcement. In this policy discourse analysis, the author examines these policies to understand what dominant discourses emerge about students who use libraries. The discourses represented in these policies portray students through frames of deficit thinking, adultism, exclusion, and surveillance. The study advocates for a critical shift in the design and purpose of these policies, and the results may inspire academic librarians to revise their policies to center care and respect for students.


code of conducts; library use policies; library spaces; user experience; policy discourse analysis

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Copyright Megan Bresnahan

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