Research & Teaching

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

Opportunities for Public Librarian Support: Cyberbullying and Young Library Patrons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 

In an increasingly digital world, cyberbullying is becoming an everyday problem for many youth. Librarians are in a unique position to assist cyberbullied youth. Often seem as non-authoritative, librarians have the ability to interact with cyberbullied young adults in ways other adults may not. Through the library space, librarians can provide tailored programming, empathy, and engagement to a population who may not have other options.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at particular risk for cyberbullying, as they often have difficulty understanding social norms and communication patterns. These differences in understanding communication can make these individuals targets for bullying behaviors. As demonstrated in popular press and recent research, cyberbullying is a pervasive problem among young adults ages 12 to 18. However, cyberbullied youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have received little interest from researchers. Through a mixed method approach, my colleague, Amelia Anderson in the School of Information at Florida State University, and I are investigating how public librarians can better prepare individuals with ASD to navigate communications in the online environment – both to avoid cyberbullies and to appropriately address conflict when cyberbullying occurs.

Thinking About Empathy in the Profession: A Comparative Study of American Museum Professionals and American Librarians

While often unacknowledged, empathy is an important component of everyday library work. When engaging with the public, librarians’ express empathy and compassion. This is particularly apparent when working with underserved and youth populations, as well as promoting social justice and advocacy. Like libraries, museum professional engage with the public frequently during the course of a workday. Yet little is known about how museums professional employ empathy during these interaction, if at all. In this collaborative study, my colleague, Dr. Laura-Edythe Coleman and I, are investigating how empathy is displayed and understood by museum and library professionals. Through the findings of surveys and semi-structure interviews of these professionals, we will explore the ways in which empathy can be better engaged within the library and museum setting.

The Responsibility of School Librarians in Digital Citizenship Instruction

Frequently, K-12 school librarians are tasked with digital citizenship instruction for the students their school. Tying in with information literacy instruction, digital citizenship involves teaching youth safe and responsible online behaviour. However, available resources for planning and conducting this type of instruction typically focuses on a classroom teacher audience. School librarians have smaller windows for engaging with students which makes instruction challenging to organize and perform. This study focuses the perceptions, expectations, and concerns of school librarians from a single state in Southeastern United States. Based up the results of a state-wide online survey, suggestions for developing librarian specific digital citizenship resources that can advance.

From Participant to Mentor, A Case Study of Youth Engagement in a Makerspace.

 In collaboration with Ryan Cain, a Doctoral Student in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences, we are investigating the progressive participation of one youth in a Makerspace located in the Southeastern Unites States. During a three-year timespan, this teen has evolved from an attendee to programs within the Makerspace to a mentor for fellow Maker youth. Using Hidi and Renninger’s (2006) four-phase model of interest development, we examine the Maker practices this youth engages in over the course of her involvement in the Makerspace to illustrate how her interests have developed. By exploring how this particular teen’s participation led to a well-developed interest in laser-cutting, we can add to conversation regarding youth Maker interest development.

The Roles and Dispositions of School Librarians Regarding Making

 Although librarians have begun incorporating Makerspaces into the library space, Makerspaces and making have received little research attention in library and information science literature. As part of a collaborative, multi-year IMLS funded study, this research investigates the impact of librarian identity, resources, and image on making programming and construction of Makerspaces. By offering a framework for understanding school librarians within the context of Making, this paper will provide a lens in which school librarians’ engagement with Making and makerspaces can be better represented.

The Making of a School Librarian: A Case Study of an Early Career School Librarian

As part of their everyday work, school librarians takes on a variety of roles and responsibilities often learning on the job. This case study focuses on the experiences of one early career middle school librarian over the course of a year. Drawing from observations and structured interviews, this research illustrates the ways in which a school librarian engages with students, creates the library spaces, buildings connections, and understands librarian roles, providing a picture of a young librarian in the field. Additionally, taking from these findings, recommendations will be made for potential improvements within library and information science program regarding education of school librarians.

 The Empathetic Librarian: Rural Librarians as a Source of Support for Rural Cyberbullied Young Adults

The primary focus of this dissertation is the integration of two perspectives: young adult perceptions of librarian support for cyberbullied youth and librarians’ perceptions of the support they provide cyberbullied youth. The integration of these perceptions will culminate in practical recommendations regarding cyberbullying support for school and public librarians. Using video autoethnography and interviews with rural young adults, school librarians, and public librarians, my research highlights the types of support cyberbullied young adults need and the ways in which librarians can provide this support. I successfully defended my dissertation on Monday, February 8, 2016 and I am currently working on journal articles based on this dissertation.

FUTURE RESEARCH PROJECTS

 Digital Citizenship and Information Literacy as Means of Preventing Cyberbullying Among Young Adults

 Information ethics is deeply rooted in the issue of cyberbullying. At the core of cyberbullying are unethical online behaviors and the poor online relationships of youth. However, this is one area where librarians and LIS researchers can help. This paper will introduce digital citizenship and digital literacy as possible avenues for preventing cyberbullying from occurring among young adults. Additionally, the paper will discuss the importance of including digital citizenship and digital literacy in LIS curriculum. Digital citizenship is critical for the intervention of cyberbullying. Through training on digital citizenship and digital literacy, librarians can educate young patrons on ethical, safe, and responsible online activities. Along with instructing future librarians in the basics of digital literacy and online behaviors, LIS educators must incorporate digital citizenship into relevant coursework. Librarians can use this information and training to develop programming, workshops, and training sessions for at-risk youth once employed in libraries

 Where Do We Go from Here? An Investigation into Future Directions of Library Services for Young Adults

Additionally, my teen participants discussed their library use (or lack thereof) in the interviews for my dissertation. Because of these interviews, I have become interested in the future of library services for youth. Recently, the Young Adults Library Services Association (YALSA) released a report, “The Future of Library Services For and With Youth: A Call to Action” which encouraged aspects of my dissertation work and continues to serve as an indication that more research is needed into the future of youth services. I am excited about the possibilities of learning more about what changes need be made to library services for young adults and how we can best meet the needs of this young and vibrant age group.


TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Adjunct Professor – Masters:

Assessing and Improving Your Library’s Social Media Presence (June 2017)

Public Libraries (Spring 2017)

Assessing and Improving Your Library’s Social Media Presence (August 2016)

Public Libraries (Spring 2016)

Adjunct Professor – Undergraduate:

Social Media Management (Summer 2016)

Lead Instructor – Undergraduate:

Introduction to Information Science (Spring 2016)

Introduction to Information Science (Fall 2015)

Teaching Assistant – Masters:

School Collection Development (Fall 2012)

Information Needs of Young Adults (Fall 2012)

Storytelling (Summer 2013)

Teaching Assistant – Undergraduate:

Social Media Management (Summer 2014)

Societal Implications of the Information Age (Summer 2014)

Introduction to Information Science (Spring 2014)

Introduction to Health Consumer Informatics (Spring 2014)

Information and Society  (Spring 2013)

Information and Society  (Fall 2013)

Introduction to Information Science (Fall 2013)

Guest Lecturer:

Technology for Information Professionals, Undergraduate course, College of Communication and Information, Florida State University (Spring 2014)

Perspectives on Information Technology, Undergraduate course, College of Communication and Information, Florida State University (Spring 2014)

Perspectives on Information Technology, Undergraduate course, College of Communication and Information, Florida State University (Summer 2014)

Perspectives on Information Technology, Undergraduate course, College of Communication and Information, Florida State University (Summer 2014)

Information Needs of Young Adults, Graduate Course, School of Information, Florida State University (Fall 2014)

IT Project Management, Undergraduate course, College of Communication and Information, Florida State University (Fall 2014)

Perspectives on Information Technology, Undergraduate course, College of Communication and Information, Florida State University (Fall 2014)

Information Ethics for the 21st Century, Undergraduate honors course, College of Communication and Information, Florida State University (Spring 2015)

Perspectives on Information Technology, Undergraduate course, College of Communication and Information, Florida State University (Spring 2015)

Information Needs of Young Adults, Graduate Course, School of Information, Florida State University (Fall 2015)

Assessing Information Needs, Graduate course, School of Information, Florida State University, (Fall 2015)

Information Ethics for the 21st Century, Undergraduate level course, College of Communication and Information, Florida State University (Spring 2016)

Perspectives on Information Technology, Undergraduate level course, College of Communication and Information, Florida State University (Spring 2016)

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