Author: Steven Yates

Alumni Spotlight – August 2021

Jaena Hollingsworth Alabi (MLIS, ’06) was recently promoted to full professor in Auburn University Libraries. Alabi currently serves as librarian for English, psychological sciences, and Africana studies and is the Ralph Brown Draughon Library Help Desk Coordinator at Auburn.

Julia M. Brown (MLIS, ’16) was named interim director of the Douglas County Public Library in Nevada. Read more about her background and current appointment here.

Dr. Rachel Fleming-May (PhD, ’08) and Regina Mays have published a new book, Fundamentals of Planning and Assessment for Libraries. Fleming-May is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. A press release about the book’s publication can be found here.

Congratulations to our alumni on these outstanding accomplishments!


Faculty Spotlight – July 2021

Dr. Bharat Mehra has had a number of recent publications and presentations become available:

Bharat Mehra served as a guest editor of the special issue entitled “Intersecting Theories and Methods to Research Social Justice in LIS Scholarship” of the International Journal of Information, Diversity, and Inclusion 5(2) in May 2021. Access the issue’s table of contents here. His editorial entitled “Operationalizing Theories and Methods to Integrate Social Justice in LIS Scholarship” is available here.

LaVerne Gray and Bharat Mehra published an article in April 2021 entitled “Going Against the Current of Hegemonic “White-IST” Discourse: A Doctoral Program Journey from Critical Student + Guide Perspectives” in the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 62 (2), 182-200. Read the article’s abstract here.

At the of May 2021, the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science published “Agriculture-Based Community Engagement in Rural Libraries” by Vandana Singh, Bharat Mehra, and Everette Scott Sikes. The article can be accessed here.

Elena M. Lopez, Maggie Capse, and Bharat Mehra moderated and contributed to a panel entitled “Know, Partner, Lead: Co-Designing New Directions for Family Engagement in Public Libraries” during the 2021 American Library Association Annual Virtual Conference held June 23-29. Joseph Winberry and Bharat Mehra delivered a paper presentation entitled “Fifty Years in the Fight: A Thematic Analysis of Social Responsibilities Round Table Newsletters, 1969-2019” during the conference as well.

Student Spotlight – July 2021

Kandi Massey, current MLIS student, was awarded the 2021 Master’s Level Scholarship from the Alabama School Library Association at their virtual conference in June.

Valeria Dávila, current MLIS student, and Emily Reynolds (MLIS ’21) will be presenting a poster at the Society of American Archivists (SAA) conference in August on the new podcast the UA SAA launched back in the spring. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the podcast, this link will take you to the series! The poster will be available at this link on August 2 and will be available throughout the conference.

Congratulations to all on these accomplishments!

Faculty Spotlight – June 2021

Dr. Laurie Bonnici recently co-authored an article regarding vaccination information on Facebook and the application of Speech Act theory as it relates to pro- and anti-vaccination perspectives from various groups. The work is entitled, “What are the saying? A speech act analysis of a vaccination information debate on Facebook” and can be found here.

Dr. Jamie Naidoo was recently featured as a guest speaker on the podcast hosted by Reach Out and Read. He discusses the portrayal of “rainbow families” in children’s books and why LGBTQ+ children’s books continue to be the most challenged genre. The link to the podcast can be found here.

Dr. Bob Riter co-authored an article with Kevin Bailey (Archival Studies Certificate program graduate) and Dr. Jeff Hirschy (MLIS ’16, PhD ’20). Entitled “Exhibitions as Public Health Interventions: The University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society,” the article highlights the work being done at the University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society to provide social and historical context of tobacco products. The article appeared in the American Behavioral Scientist journal and can be found here.

Dr. Steven Yates presented at the 2021 Alabama School Library Association Virtual Conference on June 15, 2021. He and Susan Zana (MLIS ’08) presented “Strategic Planning for School Libraries.” He also presented “Packing Your Toolkit with Free and Cost-Friendly Resources: UA SLIS Students Share Their Favorites” with current MLIS students Meredith Felton, Minda King, and Catherine Shipp.

James L. “Jim” Baggett (MLIS ’97) Named the 2021 Outstanding MLIS Alumnus

Jim Baggett is the 2021 recipient of the School of Library and Information Studies MLIS Alumnus of the Year. Jim graduated in 1997 from the Master of Library and Information Studies program with a concentration in special collections. He is currently the Head of the Birmingham Public Library Archives and Archivist for the City of Birmingham, Alabama. Some of his responsibilities include supervision over employees and projects, collecting and actively preserving material on the history of Birmingham and Birmingham city records, and assisting researchers who visit or contact the Archives from around the globe. He also represents his institution in professional organization, directs digitization projects, and curates exhibits.

Baggett elaborated on how COVID-19 has impacted the services provided at his institution. “For much of 2020 we were unable to serve researchers in person, so we expanded the services that we offer remotely, including digitizing items for researchers. All of our programming is being done online and we plan to keep the online component after we return to in-person programming because we are drawing hundreds more views online that we would draw in-person visitors.”

If he could come back to UA and take any class, Jim said he would probably take a book arts class. “I was never able to work that into my schedule years ago, but I always suspected they were having more fun than the rest of us.” Some advice he has for current students is to “get as much hands-on experience as you can through internships and volunteering. It’s the only way to know for sure that this is the career you want, and it will make you much more employable.”

Baggett said the American Library Association (ALA) Core Value that most inspires the work he does is diversity. “Diversity is a core value that guides how we build and operate the Archives. While we focus on preserving the history of a fairly small geographic area—Birmingham and the surrounding area—within that we have a diverse collection that includes letters, diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, and oral history interviews from a wide variety of Birmingham’s communities. These include the African American community, Jewish community, Birmingham women, the Hispanic community and other immigrant communities, and most recently our LGBTQ+ communities. We hold records of large corporations, prominent families, and political and community leaders, but we also hold the papers of homemakers, schoolteachers, musicians, athletes, activists, labor organizers, environmentalists, and the diaries of a shoe salesman.”