Introduction


I am a faculty member in the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at The

Lunch at Enrico's: One of the last good places

Lunch at Enrico’s: One of the last good places

University of Iowa.  I came to Iowa in 2000 as an assistant professor.  I was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2006.  I was Director of SLIS from 2006-2011.   After five years as Director, I stepped down and returned to a standard faculty appointment.

In 2006, I published several articles that helped start a conversation among librarians about the relationship between library practice and critical theory. The article “Critical Information Literacy: Implications for Instructional Practices” suggested ways critical pedagogy might give shape to educational programming in academic libraries (see the menu up above if you want to download that article). During my time as SLIS Director, interest in critical library practice began to grow nationally, building on the many ways librarianship connects with critical social theory. Upon returning to faculty life, I was excited to re-engage this effort, to contribute more to refine these ideas, and to otherwise nurture critical practice in libraries.  Much of my work since 2010  is devoted to this goal.

In 2003, I initiated one of the first digital humanities projects at The University of Iowa. The Virtual Writing University Archive was a collection of recordings of creative writers talking about their work. The nucleus of this collection came from an extensive collaboration with the International Writing Program and its storehouse of recordings.  The collection grew to encompass approximately 2,000 recordings from “Live from Prairie Lights” (a local radio program that features live readings from the independent local bookstore) and from other sources that promote creative writing in and around Iowa City. In addition to laying the foundation for much of the “virtual writing university,” this project provided the campus with a large-scale example of how digital humanities could provide new avenues for humanistic research and inquiry. Since 2010, I have devoted a great deal of work to building and supporting digital humanities infrastructure for the university.  See the “digital humanities” link to the left for more.

These two main interests–Critical Library Practice and Digital Public Humanities–form the substance of my academic work. I try to balance the demands of faculty work (research, service, and teaching) as evenly as I can.  I treat these activities as intimately connected and mutually informing.  In terms of publications, I have written a number of articles that have received recognition and awards , including translations into Spanish and reprints of work in international collections. I have also had leadership positions in over $4 million dollars of grants. I was single Principal Investigator on one grant of just under $1 million, and I have been co-PI with meaningful leadership on another $2.5 million. As a teacher, I have focused on critical practice and digital work and helping students develop professional identities in these two emerging areas. I have worked with several students to publish class papers in refereed journals.