Library and information science (LIS) has a dual history; as a profession that is over 80% white and female, the LIS workforce has been plagued with segregation and a lack of representation. However, LIS also has many amazing stories, stories of people of color changing the profession and the lives of their patrons. It is imperative that these stories be unearthed, to celebrate our success stories, but to also learn from our mistakes.
This talk will discuss examples of segregation in LIS, specifically highlighting The Carnegie Scholars who were a group of 30 graduate students of who attended the University of Illinois after the Civil Rights Movement and the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Discussion will then turn to the difficulties of conducting this type of research and the challenges that come with trying to unearth both good and bad episodes of LIS history.
Dr. Nicole A. Cooke is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information Sciences, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she is also the Program Director for the Master’s of Library and Information Science program. Dr. Cooke is a 2012 graduate from Rutgers University with a PhD in communication, information, and library studies, where she was one of the first 12 American Library Association Spectrum Doctoral Fellows. She holds the MLS degree from Rutgers University, and a M.Ed. in Adult Education from Pennsylvania State University.Previously, Dr. Cooke was a tenured reference and instruction librarian at Montclair State University (NJ).
Dr. Cooke is professionally active in ALA, ACRL, the Association of Library and Information Science Educators (ALISE), and several other professional library organizations. Dr. Cooke was awarded the 2017 ALA Achievement in Library Diversity Research Award, presented by the Office for Diversity and Literacy Outreach Services, and the 2016 ALA Equality Award. She has also been honored as the University of Illinois YWCA’s 2015 Leadership Award in Education winner in recognition of her work in social justice and higher education, and she was selected as the University’s 2016 Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award for Teaching and Mentoring in Diversity. She was the 2013 Recipient of the Norman Horrocks Leadership Award given by ALISE, and Library Journal named her a Mover & Shaker in 2007.
Dr. Cooke’s research and teaching interests include human information behavior (particularly in the online context), critical cultural information studies, and diversity and social justice in librarianship (with an emphasis on infusing them into LIS education and pedagogy).
Dr. Cooke is the author of the book, Information Services to Diverse Populations: Developing Culturally Competent Library Professionals (Libraries Unlimited, 2016), and co-editor of the book, Teaching for Justice: Implementing Social Justice in the LIS Classroom (Litwin Books/Library Juice Press, 2017). She has published articles in journals including JASIST, The Library Quarterly, InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information, Polymath: An Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Journal, Library and Information Science Research, Information Research, and New Review of Academic Librarianship.