Cooke to speak at CIDLIS, Emporia State forum, NCA

Assistant Professor Nicole A. Cooke will speak at several events this fall, talking on topics ranging from inclusion in LIS to social structures of "small worlds."

Cooke is slated to speak at the 2015 Conference on Inclusion and Diversity in Library & Information Science (CIDLIS), held on October 15-16 at the University of Maryland. CIDLIS—formerly the Symposium on Diversity in LIS Education—draws practitioners, educators, and scholars to discuss issues of diversity, inclusion, and information access in the LIS field.

Cooke’s talk, "Diversity and Social Justice in the LIS Curriculum," addresses the lack of courses related to diversity and social justice in LIS programs in the U.S. and Canada.

From the abstract: Librarianship is a profession characterized by women, specifically white women, according to Census data and the American Library Association’s Diversity Counts document (2012). While the field has been making slow and insignificant progress towards diversifying its professional workforce, the curricula in library and information science (LIS) graduate programs have been even slower to reflect issues of diversity and social justice, and therefore are not adequately preparing students to work in and with diverse communities.

This paper will discuss the importance of diversifying LIS curricula, report the findings of [a 2015] research project, and provide suggestions as to how programs can more consistently incorporate issues of diversity and social justice into their curricula.

On November 14, Cooke will deliver the keynote address at the Emporia State University (ESU) School of Library and Information Management PhD Research Forum. She will speak on teaching and social justice in LIS and will lead the day’s activities, speaking with ESU students and faculty on topics related to her own research and publications.

Cooke also will speak at the National Communication Association’s Annual Convention, held on November 19-22 in Las Vegas. She will participate in a panel discussion of topics relating to the television show, "Orange is the New Black." Cooke’s paper is titled, "The Golden Girls and the Others."

Abstract: Information science scholar Elfreda Chatman studied the social worlds of female prisoners and posited that women, such as the inmates at Litchfield Prison, live in small worlds. A small world is one that "requires a public form of life in which certain things are implicitly understood" (1999, p. 212). The construction and maintenance of such worlds enable the inmates to embrace opportunities to normalize their new existences.

Within the small world of Litchfield are even smaller worlds, separately inhabited by the prison staff, the Black, Hispanic, and Caucasian inmates, and groups known as the Golden Girls and the Others. Each of these worlds aims to demarginalize its members by destigmatizing their everyday life experiences and prison routines, and each small world features its own language, norms, and boundaries. Inhabitants enter these small worlds though a gatekeeper (or gatekeepers) who maintain order and enjoy power and influence, until the dynamics shift and they are displaced. This research will examine the complex social construction of the temporary, but very real, small worlds and the subsequent social hierarchy that emerge in a women’s prison.

Cooke's 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. In 2012, she earned a PhD in communication, information, and library studies from Rutgers University, where she was a 2008 ALA Spectrum Doctoral Fellow. She holds an MLS degree from Rutgers and an M.Ed. in adult education from Penn State. Prior to joining the GSLIS faculty, she was an instruction librarian and tenured assistant professor at Montclair State University’s (NJ) Sprague Library.

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