Assistant Professor Nicole A. Cooke is one of three winners of the 2016 Kenneth and Sylvia Marantz Fellowship for Picturebook Research, which encourages scholars from the United States and abroad to make use of resources available at the Marantz Picturebook Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art in their research. Cooke will receive a stipend of up to $1,500 to spend approximately one week at Kent State University’s Reinberger Children’s Library Center, where the Marantz Collection is housed.
Cooke’s project is titled “Something Beautiful: Social Justice, Empathy, and Cultural Competence in Children’s Books.” She will conduct a content analysis of works in the collection, looking specifically for implicit and explicit depictions of social justice, as well as instances of the precursors of social justice advocacy (e.g., reflection, empathy, cultural competence).
In her project proposal, Cooke stated: “Picture books, such as those in the Marantz Collection, play an important role in developing literacy in our library users—from traditional literacy (as it relates to reading), to visual literacy, to cultural literacy. Exposing patrons of all ages to the messages contained in children’s literature can have lasting and beneficial effects, and can shape how readers view the world. It is for this reason that it is vitally important to examine the social justice messages that exist in the current literature and to advocate for even more social justice and diversity in the world of picture books.”
“Per my interests in incorporating social justice into LIS pedagogy, I will look for the messages contained in the texts (e.g., through dialogue, via the illustrations, etc.), and consider how they can be incorporated into the education of future librarians (not just youth librarians). Furthermore, I will be considering how such messages can influence the everyday practice of these librarians.”
Cooke is an assistant professor at GSLIS, where her research interests include human information behavior, particularly in an online context, eLearning, and diversity and social justice in librarianship. She has published articles in journals including The Library Quarterly, Library & Information Science Research, InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information, Polymath: An Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Journal, Information Research, The Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, The New Review of Academic Librarianship, and The Library and Book Trade Almanac 2013. Cooke also coauthored Instructional Strategies and Techniques for Information Professionals (Chandos Press, 2012).
Named a Mover & Shaker in 2007 by Library Journal, Cooke is professionally active in ACRL, ALISE, and several other professional library organizations. She holds an MLS degree from Rutgers University, an M.Ed. in Adult Education from Penn State, and a PhD in communication, information, and library studies from Rutgers University, where she was an ALA Spectrum Doctoral Fellow.