Category: SLIS News

Faculty Spotlight – October 2021

Dr. Bharat Mehra published a paper entitled Libraries Reclaiming “Social Justice Warriors” during “Miss Rona’s” Global Pandemic Crises in The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy 91(4), 385-401The publication may be accessed here:

Dr. Mehra and Joseph Winberry (PhD candidate, University of Tennessee) published a chapter entitled “’Politic’ Talks to Address the Global Democracy Recession in Academic Libraries of the South: An Exploratory Website Analysis” in Libraries and the Global Retreat of Democracy: Confronting Polarization, Misinformation, and Suppression (Advances in Librarianship: Vol. 50) edited by Natalie Greene Taylor, Karen Kettnich, Ursula Gorham, and Paul T. Jaeger (pp. 183-210) published by Emerald Group Publishing (Bingley, United Kingdom).  Access the abstract for the publication here:

Dr. Bob Riter and former SLIS students Jeff Hirschy and Kim McDade recently published an article in collaboration with community partner Bob Friedman. Friedman is the director of the Birmingham Black Radio Museum. The article is entitled “Preserving the History of Birmingham Black Radio: A Discussion of Preservation, Outreach, and Collaboration.” Their article can be found here.

Dr. Steven Yates recently presented at the 2021 national conference of the American Association of School Librarians, held October 21-23 in Salt Lake City. He presented “COVID Taught Me to Collaborate! Using High-Touch Marketing to Elevate Your Practice” with Dr. Michelle Wilson (MLIS ’05). He also moderated the panel “Federal and State Advocacy for School Libraries: New Challenges and Opportunities” featuring panelists Amanda Kordeliski, Director of Libraries and Instructional Technology for Norman (OK) Public Schools, and Kevin Maher, Deputy Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the American Library Association.

Alumni Feature – Toni Carter (MLIS ’01)

Toni Carter (MLIS '01)
Toni Carter (MLIS ’01)



We are proud to publish another interview from one of our many UA SLIS alumni. Toni Carter (MLIS ’01) recently celebrated the publication of her book Introducing Scholarly Research: Ready-to-Use Lesson Plans and Activities for Undergraduates by ALA Editions. Recalling her time as a SLIS student, Carter said, “To be honest, I don’t remember having a stated concentration, although I leaned towards academic libraries and archives. In fact, I worked in the Hoole Special Collections Library as a student.” Fifteen of her twenty years in librarianship has focused on library and information literacy instruction.

After working 12 years at Auburn University, she began a new position as Director of Kares Library at Athens State University in September 2021. Her responsibilities include everything library-related, stating, “I lead the library staff and faculty and with their help, manage the building, the budget, the resources, the donor-relations, the outreach, and more. Every day is a little different, and I like it that way”.

In terms of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the services Toni provides, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic during her time at Auburn. Similar to many university libraries, they transitioned to remote teaching and learning. As instruction coordinator, she could do much of her work at home, and spent almost all of 2020 and a part of 2021 working from home. At Athens State, library faculty and staff currently work in-person but do most of their reference work and all of instruction virtually. Most courses being taught this semester are online.

When asked if she could come back to Alabama to take any course, Toni said, “Organizational psychology! I realize that’s not a SLIS course, but the roles that I have filled throughout my career required a good bit of emotional intelligence. I would be interested to see how the use of this skill by leaders affects workplace morale, particularly in an academic library setting.”

Toni’s advice for current and prospective library science students is, “People who choose librarianship as a career often want to ‘give back’ to their community or society as a whole. In my experience as an academic librarian, this may not happen during your first month or even first year on the job. It takes patience and persistence to find those opportunities in which you can make a difference. It’s worth the work and the wait, though.”

The ALA Core Value that most inspires her work is Education and Lifelong Learning. “[It] has been the center of my universe as a librarian. I strive to help students graduate college as both curious and critical thinkers. I want these graduates to effectively locate, evaluate, and use information in all areas of their life. It’s through their efforts to answer the important questions and solve societal issues that I can also contribute to the greater good.”

We greatly appreciate Toni giving us her time to share her experiences and advice and we wish her the best as she continues her work in academic libraries!

Naidoo Named as Interim Director of UA SLIS

Dr. Jamie, Campbell Naidoo, SLIS Interim Director and Professor
Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo, SLIS Interim Director and Professor

Dr. Mark Nelson, Dean of The University of Alabama (UA) College of Communication and Information Sciences, has announced the appointment of Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo as interim director of the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS). Dr. Naidoo will be stepping into this administrative role as Dr. Jim Elmborg returns to the faculty before retiring at the end of the academic year.

“Dr. Elmborg was the exact right person at the right time to lead our School of Library and Information Studies,” said Nelson. “His thoughtful and deliberative style along with his commitment to transparency and integrity helped us to navigate changes and prepared us for a new level of collaboration within our college.”

Dr. Naidoo will begin his role as interim SLIS director on October 1, 2021. “I’m excited to continue the work Dr. Elmborg has started and serve alongside my colleagues as we expand and strengthen SLIS’s programs in archives, book arts, information science, and library studies,” said Naidoo.

Dr. Naidoo earned his Ph.D. in information science and MLIS degree from the University of Alabama SLIS program prior to working as an assistant professor at The University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science. He returned to UA SLIS in 2008 where he’s been serving as the Foster EBSCO professor, teaching courses in library services to diverse populations, youth programming, and children’s and young adult materials and services. Dr. Naidoo has also worked in both school and public libraries in  Alabama.

His research agenda centers on the representation of LGBTQIA+ and Latinx populations in children’s materials as well as public and school library services to LGBTQ+ children and/or families. Dr. Naidoo has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and books on these topics, in addition to presenting his work at national and international conferences. In 2016, he received the American Library Association’s Achievement in Library Diversity Research for his work. Dr. Naidoo is also the past president of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and board member of the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY).

In 2021, Dr. Naidoo received the University of Alabama Outstanding Faculty-Initiated Engagement Effort for his Book Bonanza for the Black Belt and Beyond program which he started in 2009. The program donates new children’s and teen books to school libraries in economically disadvantaged areas of Alabama.

A national search for the new school director will launch in fall 2022. Founded in 1972, SLIS currently offers graduate degree and certificate programs in book arts and library and information studies. Our Master of Library and Information Studies degree is accredited by the American Library Association. For more information about UA SLIS, visit

Faculty Spotlight – September 2021

Dr. Bharat Mehra and Chris Barrett also published a chapter entitled “Out of the Closet? Exploring the Infoscape of LGBTQ+ Fiction for/about Youth in India” in International LGBTQ+ Literature for Children and Young Adults.

Dr. Jamie C. Naidoo and recent MLIS graduate Sadie Zabawa published the chapter “Sameness & Difference in Visual Representations of Same-sex Couples in International Children’s Picture Books” in International LGBTQ+ Literature for Children and Young Adults (pp. 183-198) edited by B. J. Epstein and Elizabeth Chapman and published by Anthem Press (London, United Kingdom).


Congratulations to these faculty members and students for their contributions to the LIS field!

SLIS Faculty and Students Present at ALISE 2021

SLIS was well-represented in the planning and execution of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) conference. The conference was held virtually September 20-24, 2021, and the theme was “Crafting a Resilient Future: Leadership, Education, & Inspiration.”

Dr. John Burgess presented two juried papers and served as a panelist on two panels.

  • Juried Paper with MLIS graduate Juliana Mestre: “A Survey of the Communication of Core Values in Alabama Public Library Online Policy Statements”
  • Juried Paper: “Sustainability as Moral Obligation for LS Practice in Edge Cases of Global Catastrophic Risks”
  • Panelist: Pedagogical Practices of Information Policy Instruction
  • Panelist: (Re)envisioning an Information Ethics/Policy Course for the Future

Dr. Laurie Bonnici and Dr. Bharat Mehra served as proposal reviewers for the conference. Dr. Mehra also serves as a co-chair for the Community Connect mini-grants offered through ALISE.

Dr. Jim Elmborg presided as a co-convener of the ALISE Deans & Directors meeting during the conference in his role as co-chair of the ALISE Dean & Directors Group.

Kaeli Nieves-Whitmore, a UA College of Communication & Information Sciences PhD student, presented a work-in-progress poster titled “Learning Through Experience: Reflecting on Community-Engaged Scholarship.”

Congratulations, all!