Author: Steven Yates

SLIS Hosts Community Archives Partner for Lunch and Discussion

On Wednesday, March 20, SLIS hosted the third annual archival discussion lunch with Bob Friedman, director of the Birmingham Black Radio Museum (BBRM). Faculty, alumni, and current students came together and discussed current themes and conflicts in archives. The BBRM is one of many community archives engagement opportunities nurtured by Dr. Riter for SLIS students interested in archival studies.

Pictured (left to right) above are a few of the lunch attendees: SLIS Assistant Director Dr. Ann Bourne, Emily Bibb (Curator of The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama), Alex Smith (Digital Archivist at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute), Bob Friedman, and SLIS Assistant Professor Dr. Robert Riter (Marie Drolet Bristol-EBSCO Endowed Professor and Archives Coordinator).


SLIS gives over $20,822 in new free books to Black Belt School Libraries

During March 2019,  The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) will award $20,822 in new, free books to elementary, middle, and high school libraries in Alabama via the SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt & Beyond Program.

School librarians in the Black Belt region were asked to apply for the book give-away program from January to February. We received applications from 30 highly deserving schools. The judges chose 6 school libraries in the Black Belt Region of the state to receive on average $2600 each in brand new children’s and/or young adult books. The judging of the applications was rigorous, as every school exemplified a significant need.

We have selected 2 Book Bonanza Beyond winners. The Beyond winner is a low-income private school in the Black Belt Region of the state, or a public school demonstrating significant economic need in an area of the state outside of the Black Belt. The purpose of this award is to give an equally deserving school library, that is not eligible to be a Book Bonanza for the Black Belt Winner,  a one-time opportunity to address literacy needs in their school community.

Please join us in congratulating the following winning school libraries:

2019 Book Bonanza Black Belt Winners:

Banks School, serving grades PreK-8  (Pike County), Librarian Kim Head
Dallas County High School, serving grades 9-12 (Dallas County), Librarian Amy Reeves
Mt. Olive Intermediate School, serving grades 3-5 (Russell County), Librarian Cyrone Overton
Pike County High School, serving grades 7-12 (Pike County), Librarian Kimberly Dunn
Sophia P. Kingston Elementary School, serving grades K-5 (Dallas County), Librarian Krystal J. Dozier
Sweet Water High School, serving grades PreK-12 (Marengo County), Librarian Patricia Jones

2019 Book Bonanza Beyond Winner:

Thorsby High School, serving grades K-12 (Chilton County), Librarian Vanessa Langston (pictured below)
Woodstock Elementary School, serving grades PreK-4 (Bibb County), Librarian Terri Woodruff

Note: County listed is the county in which the school resides and not necessarily the name of the school system.

Established in 2009 by Dr. Jamie Naidoo, the SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt (& Beyond) is an annual program that provides free new books to school libraries in the Black Belt region of state. Schools in the Black Belt region are encouraged to apply again in January next year for a chance to receive free books for their school libraries during the next SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt & Beyond Program. Low-income private schools in the Black Belt Region or schools in economically disadvantaged areas of the state outside the Black Belt are encouraged to apply next year (in January 2020) to be a Beyond Winner.  If you need additional information about the program, please contact Dr. Jamie C. Naidoo at or SLIS at 205-348-4610. Information is also available on the program website:

Pictured below: 2019 Book Bonanza Beyond Recipient Thorsby High School (Chilton County) Librarian Vanessa Langston receives boxes of new books in the eleventh year of the program.

SLIS Students, Faculty, and Alumni Present at 10th Annual Diversity Symposium

SLIS was well represented at the 10th Annual Discerning Diverse Voices Symposium. This symposium featured a number of speakers, on such topics as: diversity and politics, diversity and reputation, and engaging diversity. The theme of this year was sports, with a keynote panel on the activist athlete and a keynote discussion with Justin Ching, founder of j-school. Several SLIS faculty members are members of the College of Communication and Information Studies Diversity Forum.

Many current students shared their research during the symposium. Sammi Bryan presented her paper, “Surviving the Catalog: Organizing and Representing Sexual Trauma and Violence in Public Library Collections.” Yvette Joyner presented her poster, entitled, “Library Relevance Literature and the Digital Divide: Critiquing Future-Proofing Trends for Rural Communities.” Hannah Hurdle presented her poster, “Examining Challenges to Access of Information: Services and Technologies for People with Disabilities.” Chism Lien also presented a poster on “The Representation of Diverse Creators in Art Museums’ Digital Collections.”

Dr. Bharat Mehra, EBSCO Endowed Chair in Social Justice at SLIS, presented during the “Engaging Diversity” panel, which was moderated by Assistant Professor Dr. John Burgess. Dr. Mehra’s paper, “Diversifying Engaged Scholarship to Further Social Justice in the Rural Southern and Central Appalachian Region,” highlighted initiatives implemented in diversifying engaged scholarship in communication and information professions to further social justice and social equity in this region. Assistant Professor Dr. Miriam Sweeney served as a member of the 2019 Symposium Planning Committee.

Several SLIS Alumni also took part in the symposium. Ellie Campbell (MLIS ’14) presented “Tupelo Pride,” a short documentary film about the first ever LBGTQ Pride event held in Tupelo, Mississippi, as part of the “Engaging Diversity” panel. She also presented a paper titled “Promoting Diversity in the Law Library.” Joi Mahand (MLIS ’18) presented her poster, “Black Girl Magic: The Diverse Voices of Black Girls in Children’s and Young Adult Literature.” Michael Fitts (MLIS ’01) and Sylvia McAphee (MLIS ’01) co-presented their research, “3D: Discerning Diversifying Deliberately,” during the poster session as well.

Congratulations to all the participants who represented SLIS at the 10th Annual Discerning Diverse Voices Symposium.

Pictured below (L to R): Current SLIS students Sammi Bryan, Yvette Joyner, Hannah Hurdle, Chism Lien.

Pictured below (L to R): SLIS Professor Dr. Bharat Mehra; SLIS Alumni Ellie Campbell, Joi Mahand, Sylvia McAphee, and Michael Fitts.

Student Accolades: February 2019

Samuel Edge, a current MLIS student, was recently published in The Serials Librarian. His article, “A Subject ‘Queer’-y: A Literature Review on Subject Access to LGBTIQ Materials” was first created as an assignment in Dr. Miriam Sweeney’s Race, Gender, and Sexuality in LIS class. Edge is interested in promoting equitable and community-driven access to information and is currently employed by the Mayo Clinic as a prospect development analyst.

Jillian Sico, a current MFA Book Arts student, was recognized by both the University of Alabama Graduate School, the College of Communication & Information Sciences, and SLIS for Outstanding Research by a Master’s Student for her highly significant research in the field of book arts which has regional, national and international impact. Read more about Jillian’s research here.

Kyle Holland Joins the MFA Book Arts Faculty at SLIS

The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies is pleased to announce the appointment of Kyle Holland as an Instructor and Studio Manager in the MFA Book Arts program. Kyle is a book artist and printer with strong interest and knowledge in hand papermaking. His work draws on his experiences growing up in the South and examines his identity within the context of a masculine subculture. His work has been exhibited internationally and can be found in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nevada Museum of Art, The Center for Book Arts, Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design, and UC Berkeley among others. Holland has a BFA in Fine Arts from the Memphis College of Art, and is a candidate for an MFA in Book Arts + Printmaking at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA (expected May 2019). He has taught papermaking, printing, and book arts courses for the University of the Arts, the Cleveland Institute of Art, and numerous book art centers and studios in the United States. You can learn more about Kyle and his work by visiting his website: