Key words of the 2017 IRDL applications

One of the things we enjoy about reading all the IRDL applications is that we get to keep a finger on the pulse of the current research interests of academic librarians around the United States. When an applicant submits their proposal we ask them to list five key words or phrases that represent the topic of their proposed research. Here’s a word cloud of the key words from this year’s applications. In the image below, the larger the word, the more times the word was given as a key word in the applications.

2017 IRDL call for applications

We will be accepting applications from December 1, 2016 to January 13, 2017. Scholars accepted to the Institute will be notified in early March 2017. Application information may be found at

IRDL is changing

Are you thinking about applying for IRDL in 2017? There are a couple changes to the program you need to know about:

1. The summer workshop will now be one week long. When we think about sustainability of a model such as IRDL we realize that being away from home/work for two weeks — that was the length of time for the summer workshops in 2014-2016 — can be a hardship. In 2017-2019 we are condensing the curriculum into 7 full days. In 2017 you will arrive to LMU on Saturday, June 3, begin the workshop on Sunday, June 4, work with us through the week, finishing the program Saturday night. You will return home on Sunday, June 11 and be back to work that next day; you’ll only be away for one week. Good, right? Read on…

2. You will be paired with a formal mentor. Your peers in IRDL cohort will still be your best research supporters after leaving the summer workshop but we want to make sure you have all the help you may need to complete your research. With a mentor you can expect consistent communication from a librarian who has designed and executed their own research projects. During the academic year after your workshop experience you will be matched with a mentor to help cheer you on and give guidance as you complete your IRDL project.

We look forward to reviewing your proposals. The application center opens on December 1, 2016.

SAGE highlights the experiences of the 2016 IRDL Scholars

In a recent blog post at the SAGE Publishing’s Connection website they have highlighted the experiences of 10 of the 2016 IRDL Scholars, to identify what their big takeaways have been so far. Read the post at this URL:

LMU receives IMLS grant to continue IRDL

We are pleased to have been awarded a 2016 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Continuing Education grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (the award announcement is at this URL: With this new grant we will continue to offer the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship in 2017, 2018, and 2019. During these three years we will be focusing on sustainability of the model so that IRDL can continue. Stay tuned for more details as we progress, and thank you for your support in helping us get to this point.

IRDL Scholars Respond to Orlando, Part 4

GruberI woke up to a barrage of Tweets about Orlando. It took me a few seconds to figure out why. Once I did, my first thought was, “Oh no. Not again.” Every mass shooting takes me right back to December 2012; my daughter was 6 months old when 20 children and 6 staff were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Prior to that, mass violence was something in the background that flashed on TV screens in waiting rooms or went viral on Facebook but never really hit home because I didn’t let it. After Sandy Hook, things changed and hurt, like I had been punched in the gut. How was I supposed to reconcile children being shot in their first-grade classroom with my new responsibility of caring for a tiny vulnerable child?

That is where my mind went when I heard about Orlando. To the victims and their families. To those in a place they thought was safe. To the perpetrator and his family. And inevitably, to the weapons. When will our leaders feel compelled to fix loopholes that allow easy access to weapons of unnecessary destruction? My cynical side thinks that if first-graders aren’t worth strong gun control laws, no one is. But will this be the time, after what some call the biggest mass shooting in the history of the U.S.? One journalist asked:  “Would these mass shootings and killings be any less serious or tragic if they weren’t the deadliest?” I say unequivocally, no. Every life matters and every individual is someone’s child, brother, sister, partner, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, co-worker, father, mother, friend.

I’ve only learned how to be an ally as an adult, or indeed what that even meant. I grew up in a conservative community with conservative schools that, even in 2016, have been accused of discrimination against those in the LGBTQ+ community. I think of our Muslim brothers and sisters, who are already victimized and face discrimination, even by those who claim to speak for the majority but fill their speech with vitriol, blatant lies, and calls for violence.

But as scary a place as this world is, I choose hope. As an academic librarian, I am surrounded by a profession focused on service, social justice, and equality. It is a privilege to work with college students every day who give me hope for the future. They are energetic and caring, and demonstrate an embrace of diversity that is improving our campuses and our communities every day. They are our future leaders, and indeed are showing us how to lead already.

At first I told my fellow IRDL scholars that I didn’t have anything to say online about the Orlando massacre. I just didn’t have the words. But I realized that if allies don’t speak out in support of all those who are vulnerable, who will?

Anne Marie Gruber
Instruction & Liaison Librarian
2016 IRDL Scholar

This blog post is part of a series of IRDL Scholar responses to the shooting in Orlando, FL, on 6/12/2016.

IRDL Scholars Respond to Orlando, Part 3

DerrickWhen we say your names, it will be loud and clear as a bell. There will be no wavering in our voices, for they will be steady and distinct. We do so in your honor and memory. We will grieve because loss is hard, but we will not surrender to it or actions born in hatred. We might feel compelled to give up and bite our lips but know that we will get through it.  We will do so because of you.

When we say your names, it will be with love. We have felt your anguish but we will not let it define us.  Each of you: unique, special, a gift, a dream. With our hearts heavy, our tears salty, we throw our heads back to the sky, shut our eyes tight and wonder Why? in your absence, but know this is fleeting. We will climb out and emerge from our chrysalises leaving our misery behind, then we will beat our wings and share our colors and fly and we will do so because of you.

When we say your names, and we will say them again and again, we will do so because we are connected, we are love, and we all shine despite the darkness of our pain.  We held your hands and rocked you in our arms in comfort and protection as your flame began to dim. But we never let you go. You are in our thoughts, and in our hearts, memorable and substantial and mighty as mountain ranges.  And we did this because of you.

You are not lost on us and when we find you again, we will take away the smooth, solid stones of our despair and put them away for good. Then we will smile and with it release the torment from our hearts. And it will resonate with you as we lock our fingers together in reunited glory. Our foreheads will touch; our cheeks hot and flush with joy and you will know we found a way to be triumphant through it all. Will we look into your eyes and nod our heads and be at ease and we will say your names.

Derrick Jefferson, Communication Librarian
American University

This blog post is part of a series of IRDL Scholar responses to the shooting in Orlando, FL, on 6/12/2016.

IRDL Scholars Respond to Orlando, Part 2

Rutledge“So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.’” (Patton Oswalt)

One of the traits I appreciate the most about the queer people and allies I know is our ability to bring people together; we create chosen families and kinship networks to support one another even if our families our communities are less supportive. Losing the beautiful people at the Pulse club feels like losing part of that family.

I also grieve for the loss of a safe place for queer people to be themselves unapologetically. I grew up in a conservative church that condemned homosexuality. When I left, I cut ties with many of the people in my support networks. My parents, although they eventually were quite supportive, were horrified to learn the truth. To survive emotionally, I took refuge with other queer people online and in clubs like this one. For some people in the community, a bar or nightclub is the only safe space they have.

As we learn more about the events at Pulse, it becomes clearer that this violence more directly affected queer and LGBT people of color, who already face additional challenges surviving in a country crippled by racism. My heart breaks for them and their families, as well as for the Muslim LGBTQ people and allies who will face additional scrutiny in the following months. I would like to ask other White people, in light of our privilege, to think deeply about how we can support people of color in these communities by providing both material resources as we are able and by doing our own work to embrace and promote anti-racism.

Although I feel afraid, disheartened, and lost in this moment, I also feel deeply held and witnessed by the other IRDL scholars in this community. Even though we have met each other so recently, I take solace in knowing that we have come together as a family of choice, and I am so grateful for all of the gentle hearts and fierce spirits here that are fighting against ignorance and hatred.

Lorelei Rutledge is a Faculty Services Librarian and the online reference coordinator for the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.

This blog post is part of a series of IRDL Scholar responses to the shooting in Orlando, FL, on 6/12/2016.

IRDL Scholars Respond to Orlando

LisbonThere’s much to say about the shooting in Orlando. I’m the G in LGBT. I’m a librarian. I’m also honored to be part of the 2016 IRDL cohort. For this tragedy to happen at this precise moment gave me pause to think about the relationship between the LGBT community and librarianship. I think it is no surprise that many LGBT people find a home in our profession, and there are many straight allies who have stood by our side long before the national zeitgeist said it was okay to treat LGBT as equals who deserve dignity and love just like any other person.

When I read about the statistics of the Pulse club massacre: 49 dead, approximately 50 injured – I started to realize that it’s very likely one of these men or women would have become a librarian. The Daily Beast gave brief profiles of the victims.  Many were already living out their professional lives as business owners, IT specialists, financial aid officers…some were too young to know what career they would discover. We know that the path to our profession is often a winding one, and we will never get the chance to see what these people could have been.

I wonder what we as librarians should do next? I remember our core values – the Library Bill of Rights states “Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people…” [emphasis mine]. We help people question the status quo, we help our patrons think critically and not give in to easy to swallow bigoted narratives. We have the capacity to use our spaces for discussions, events, and displays – which make it clear that we support LGBT people and that Library spaces are for them. We will need to do the same for our Muslim friends and patrons as a new wave of Islamophobic rhetoric begins to grow.

I am far too much an optimist to end on dark notes. This tragedy makes many of us scared and sick to our stomachs, and dashes the hopes of many LGBT people who found new hope with the legalization of gay marriage a year ago, and we are reminded that we are still not equal. But so much has changed for the better – 20 years ago people may have tacitly accepted and even quietly praised the systematic slaughter of LGBT people, and we are a very long way from that dark past. Support for our community has been overwhelming – Communities are raising money for affected families, Airlines are offering free flights to victims’ families, The City of Orlando has set aside cemetery plots at no cost for any families who want to bury their loved ones there. OneBlood, and Orlando blood bank, was overwhelmed with donors looking to help, animal charities are making sure victim’s pets are safe and cared for.

On a final note – the IRDL is hosted at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. LMU is a Jesuit  and Marymount institution, and I’m sitting across from Christian iconography as I’m writing this. It is no secret that religious and LGBT communities have had a difficult relationship – and for LGBT people of faith it’s been an especially difficult journey to openness and acceptance. Today there will be a prayer vigil honoring the Pulse shooting victims, at the campus chapel. The flags of the campus are at half-mast. Our hosts have gone above and beyond to make us feel safe and accepted here.

There are many reasons to grieve, and it’s important to do so. But also remember, as Mr. Rogers reminded us, to look for the helpers in times of disaster. This time, there are so many helpers.

Adam H. Lisbon

Professor Adam H. Lisbon is the Japanese & Korean Studies Librarian at the University of Colorado Boulder and a member of the 2016 IRDL cohort.

This blog post is part of a series of IRDL Scholar responses to the shooting in Orlando, FL, on 6/12/2016.

The 2016 IRDL Scholars

MelissaMelissa Bauer is the Online Learning Librarian at Kent State University at Stark in North Canton, Ohio, where she works with faculty and students on supporting information literacy and online education. Her research project for IRDL explores the information seeking behavior of online students through ethnographic methods.

MohamedMohamed Berray is the Social Sciences Librarian and Coordinator for Government Information at Florida State University. He earned his MLIS Degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and his MA in Political Science from the American University in Cairo. He is a former Fulbright Scholar. Mohamed’s research interests are diversity in libraries; employability of early career librarians; and investigating the broader implications of e-books acquisitions in academic libraries.

CourtneyCourtney Block is Instruction, Reference, & User Engagement Librarian at IU Southeast in New Albany, Indiana. Prior to IU Southeast, Courtney was Public Services Manager at the Charlestown Clark-County Public Library. Courtney received her MLS from IU Bloomington in 2010. Courtney’s passions include library advocacy and user experience, and she firmly believes that focusing on the human experience happening inside the library is the best way to demonstrate library relevancy in an overwhelmingly digital age.

LatriceLatrice Booker is the Coordinator of Library Instruction at Indiana University Northwest. She earned an MLS from Indiana University in Indianapolis in 2006 and MBA from Indiana University Northwest in 2012. She is very active in library associations, including serving as an American Library Association Councilor-at-Large, past co-chair of the ACRL Scholarships Committee and member for the ACRL Diversity Committee. She was a 2009 Emerging Leader. Her research interests include the correlation between information overload and information selection, personalized learning for information literacy and satisficing information behaviors within higher education.

JonathanJonathan Cain is the Librarian for Data Initiatives & Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon. He delivers library services to the Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management and leads a Research Data Management team at the University of Oregon Libraries. Before coming to UO, Jonathan served as an Assistant Professor/Reference and Instruction Librarian at Hunter College - City University of New York. He holds a MSLIS from Pratt Institute, a MA in Africana Studies from New York University, and a BS in Anthropology from the College of Charleston.

DennisDennis Christman is the the Technical Services Librarian at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, WA. He completed his MLS from Emporia State University in 2014 and a BS in Computer Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2006. He has worked in school, public, and academic libraries in the United States and China. His research interests include international programs, assessment, educational technologies, and mindfulness in the library.

EmilyEmily Crist is a Research and Instruction Librarian at the University of Vermont where she works as the liaison librarian to Global Gateway, the international student bridging program. Her research interests include working with multilingual writers and information literacy instruction for English Language Learners. Emily holds an MLIS from McGill University and an MA in English from Ball State University.

ElectraElectra Enslow is a Health Sciences Librarian at the Washington State University – Spokane Campus. Her current research interests are investigating equity of library services for on and off campus students and teaching evidence-based practice research skills to health sciences students so they are able to use these skills in a clinical setting. She earned an MA in Library and Information Studies from UW-Madison and a BA from The Evergreen State College.

Anne MarieAnne Marie Gruber is the Instruction & Liaison Librarian at University of Northern Iowa. New to the tenure track, she researches the library’s role in academic service learning, particularly working to understand faculty perceptions of how information literacy instruction might influence students’ motivation and engagement with service learning projects. She is the married mother of a preschooler and is active with public health advocacy and STEAM education.

DerrickDerrick Jefferson is the Communications Librarian at American University in Washington, DC. A California native, he received his MLIS from Louisiana State University as a Project Recovery scholar in New Orleans, a program established to rebuild libraries while educating LIS students after the storms of 2005. His research interests include information literacy, critical thinking, and diversity and inclusion issues in academic librarianship. He also enjoys collecting records, indulging in tacos, and short story collections.

SavannahSavannah Kelly is a Research and Instruction Librarian at the University of Mississippi in Oxford where she is the liaison to the School of Education and Department of Psychology. After completing her MLIS in 2006, she worked as an inner city public librarian for two years, in special collections for a year, and then moved to Santa Barbara, California, where she worked in academia for six more years. Her research interests include first-year students’ postsecondary academic transitions, interdisciplinary teaching collaborations, effective assignment design, and the role of affect on students’ research processes.

KateKate Lambaria is the Fine Arts Librarian at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she is the liaison for Architecture, Art, Dance, Film, Music, and Theatre. She holds an MS in Library and Information Science and a BA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests center on the relationship between scholarly communications issues and the fine arts.

AdamAdam H. Lisbon is the Japanese & Korean Studies Librarian at the University of Colorado Boulder. Before becoming a librarian, he was an English teacher in Japan and then San Francisco. After completing a library tech program at the City College of San Francisco, he pursued his MLS the University At Albany (SUNY) while also working part time at Albany Public Library. Now he spends his free time Hiking the Rocky Mountains and Exploring the American West.

ChrisChris Marino is the Reference and Outreach Archivist at the Environmental Design Archives at UC Berkeley. Before coming to Berkeley, she worked as a Project Archivist at the Architecture and Design Collection at UC Santa Barbara. Hailing originally from Los Angeles, Chris received her Masters of Library and Information Science degree with specialization in Archival Studies from UCLA. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego in Ethnic Studies. Chris brings her passion for architectural records, research, access, and education, as well as four years of experience processing collections, providing research assistance, and curating exhibitions.

LeniLeni Matthews is the User Experience Librarian at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Five months fresh to academia, she is working on several projects at UTA including data collection of study room usage and wayfinding in the library. A former Chicago Public Schools teacher, Leni appreciates assessment in a different learning environment. Leni’s interest in study groups derived from her personal experience as a student and observations of study groups in the library. She received her MS in LIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

LaurenLauren Olewnik is an Instruction and Reference Librarian at Castleton University in Vermont. She serves as liaison to the Natural and Health Sciences, Psychology, Mathematics, Computer Information Systems, and Nursing departments. She collaborates with faculty to develop information literacy experiences for students in these majors. Connecting and building rapport with students is an important part of her professional practice, allowing her to contribute to the integrative learning and student-centered philosophy of Castleton. Lauren received her M.L.S. from the University at Buffalo. In addition to her library and campus responsibilities, she is also a volunteer coach for Girls on the Run, a national program dedicated to the supportive and healthy growth of young girls in grades 3-5. Her research interest for the IRDL program focuses on understanding how undergraduate research students create, use, and organize research data, as well as identifying how best to incorporate data information literacy in the undergraduate research experience at public liberal arts institutions.

RaymondRaymond Pun is the first year student success librarian in California State University, Fresno. In this new role, he is charged to create and coordinate the first year library experience and information literacy program across campus. Prior to his appointment in Fresno, he has worked in New York University Shanghai and The New York Public Library: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building as a reference librarian. His IRDL project explores how first year students in communication studies can meet the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy and the National Communication Association's (NCA) learning outcomes.

LoreleiLorelei Rutledge is a Faculty Services Librarian and the online reference coordinator for the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah. She has an MS in Information from the University of Michigan and an MA in Communication from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her interests include assessing reference services, especially online reference services, developing and improving online teaching and learning opportunities, and encouraging diversity and inclusion in libraries and higher education.

JordanaJordana Shane is the Instruction & Reference Services Coordinator at the D. Leonard Corgan Library, King’s College, in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Prior to King’s, Jordana was the Coordinator of Information Literacy at Philadelphia University, and has also worked in public, school, and law libraries. Jordana’s research interests focus on the curricular integration and assessment of information literacy, faculty-librarian collaboration, and the contributions of academic libraries to student learning and retention. She holds an MSLIS from Drexel University, and an MS in Information Technology in Education, with a concentration in Instructional Design & Development, from Nova Southeastern University.

AmandaAmanda Woodward is the User Engagement Library at Woodbury University in Burbank, CA where she is responsible for library outreach, marketing, and overall user experience. She is also the liaison and collection development specialists for the College of Transdisciplinarity, Psychology, and Fashion Design. Prior to Woodbury, Amanda was a corporate librarian at Disney Consumer Products in Glendale, CA. She holds a BA in English from the University of California, Berkeley and an MLIS from UCLA. Her research interests include student engagement and experience with the library, visual literacy instruction, and embedded librarianship.

DesiraeDesirae Zingarelli-Sweet is a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Loyola Marymount University’s William H. Hannon Library. She serves as liaison to the university's theological studies, philosophy, bioethics, and yoga studies programs. Desirae holds an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh, an MAR in New Testament Studies from Yale Divinity School, and a BA from Oberlin College in Classics and Religion. Her research interests include information literacy instruction for social justice and information-seeking, evaluation, and citation behaviors of student and faculty researchers in religious studies.