Category: SLIS News

Makiba Foster: UA SLIS 2016-17 Alumnus of the Year

As an undergraduate history major, Makiba Foster assumed that her academic career might be limited to more traditional paths such as law school or a Master’s Degree followed by a PhD. After one unsatisfying year of Law school, Foster believed that the she would continue her graduate studies in American Culture Studies and ultimately pursue a PhD. Unaware of other career options for history majors, Makiba sought the advice of a mentoring professor who introduced her to the idea of librarianship. During her last semester of graduate school, she decided to take a class in SLIS and finally had the ah-ha moment she had been searching for! “I could stay in an academic research environment and contribute to the scholarly community as a librarian. That’s when I decided to forgo the PhD and pursue an MLIS. Best decision ever!” Makiba says. However, after 10 years of experience as a librarian in academic and research environments, Makiba says she has been inspired to finally pursue coursework towards a PhD.

During her career as a researcher and instructor, Foster has combined her passion for teaching information literacy with her instincts as a skilled collaborator to design courses and initiatives that positively impact both students and fellow faculty members. Her research work ranges from social media’s role in the information universe to social justice in collection development and reaches broadly across the field of librarianship. Makiba has also worked with faculty to incorporate Twitter as a classroom tool for information sharing.

While at Washington University, Makiba co-developed a for-credit library class for returning/nontraditional adult students. “These adult learners were eager to understand how libraries had changed since they had last used them. We were excited to teach them new skills of information literacy and how gaining these lifelong skill would aid them in their college career and beyond,” she says. In 2015, Makiba’s innovative courses for adult learners were featured in Library Journal.

Now the Assistant Chief Librarian for the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Makiba Foster, manages a staff of research professionals with responsibility for establishing priorities and procedures for collections access and preservation. The Research and Reference Division contains diverse collections, which include books, periodicals, microforms, maps, and databases that focus on people of African descent throughout the world.

Foster states that the role of libraries stretches beyond books and the walls of the library building, emphasizing instead, that libraries must create opportunities for partnership and collaboration within their service communities. She advises that all types of libraries should highlight their “dynamism and extraordinary work” and become vested stakeholders in efforts to make the community thrive. “Librarians must listen to the needs of the community,” states Makiba, “and then present possibilities where the libraries help to provide practical and innovative services, thereby increasing satisfaction, awareness, and visibility.”

As an MLIS student, Makiba was chosen as an IMLS scholar, a valuable peer mentoring experience that challenged her to contribute positively to the profession. She encourages students to use their time in SLIS to find ways to merge their interests and passions into their careers as librarians. “From hip hop librarian collectives to librarians contributing to awesome digital humanities projects, the field of librarianship has so many possibilities. SLIS allowed me as a student to discover the world of librarianship and for that, I am truly grateful.”

SLIS Honors Day 2017

SLIS hosted students, alumni, family, and faculty for Honors Day, on April 6, 2017. This year, SLIS hosted honors day on the 5th Floor, providing an opportunity for guests to tour the newly renovated facilities. Providing the guest keynote speech for the ceremonies were SLIS students Hannah Bowser and Jennifer Fain. Ms. Bowser spoke about her research on archival hidden collections, and Ms. Fain shared her research on ways to improve outreach to undocumented workers in Birmingham, AL.

The following is a list of 2017 Award Recipients:

Bethel Fite Endowed Scholarship
Winifred Lucy

Corr Scholarship
Cristina Castor and Matthew Smith

Faculty Scholar Award, MLIS Program
Hannah Bowser

Florine Oltman Award
Kelly Grove and Baheya Jaber

Raymond F. McLain Book Arts Award
Kyle Clark

Student Paper Award
Hannah Bowser

SAC-Sponsored Teaching Recognition Award
Dr. John Burgess

Please join us in congratulating their accomplishments!

Recognition of SLIS Faculty Tenure and Promotions.

It is our pleasure to announce that SLIS faculty member Robert Riter has been granted tenure and Anna Embree and Jamie Naidoo have received promotions to full professor. These accomplishments represent the outcome of countless hours of work and dedication to teaching, research, and service that extends far beyond the SLIS community. Please join us in celebrating these significant accomplishments.

Makiba Foster Special Public Lecture

You are invited to attend a special public lecture by Makiba Foster from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Please mark your calendars on March 22nd from 1-3pm in Gorgas Room 205 when Ms. Foster will be offering the following lecture:

Documenting Dissenting Voices: Libraries and Social Justice

When ideas of library neutrality seek to disentangle libraries from the lives of patrons and the politics of the time, there are librarians who demand action and advocacy. This lecture will discuss libraries documenting social movements through participatory community archives and the activist practitioners hoping to disrupt systems of oppression that also exist in the field of LIS.

Makiba Foster is the Assistant Chief Librarian for the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Prior to her role at the Schomburg, she lead collaborations at Washington University in St. Louis Libraries focusing on community archives and social justice work. Documenting Ferguson, a community sourced digital archive and Mapping LGBTQ St. Louis, a Mellon Funded GIS mapping project, are examples of this work. She is active in state and national library associations and she has authored articles published in Library Journal and Library Management.

The School of Library and Information Studies and the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama are excited to sponsor this free lecture that is open to the public. Coffee and dessert will be provided. A promotional flyer for Ms. Foster’s visit in attached below for distribution. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

SLIS Student wins MLA Scholarship

Christine Remenih was selected by the Board of Directors of the Medical Library Association to be the 2017 Medical Library Association Scholarship recipient. The MLA awards this scholarship in the amount of up to $5000 to a student who, according to the scholarship description, “shows excellence in scholarship and potential for accomplishment in health sciences librarianship.” Remenih, a member of the 12th National Online MLIS Cohort, will be honored at the President’s Awards Dinner at MLA’s annual meeting in Seattle, Washington. Remenih is the second SLIS student to be awarded the MLA Scholarship, following Cathy Murch, a member of the 2nd National Online MLIS Cohort in 2007. Murch is currently a Bioinformatician and Systems Librarian at Lake Hospital System in northeastern Ohio. Please join SLIS faculty and staff in congratulating Christine Remenih for this well-deserved honor!