Alumna teaches in Botswana as Fulbright Scholar

Julie Edwards

Julie Edwards (MS '05) fell in love with Botswana in 2015 when she helped plan a conference there for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Reference and Information Section. As soon as her conference ended, she vowed that one day she would return. She is now back in Botswana as a Fulbright Scholar for the 2017-2018 academic year.

At the University of Botswana (UB), she is teaching two courses—Understanding the User (LIS 304/LIM 300) and Information and Society (LIS 211)—working with master's students, and collaborating with library colleagues on continuing education workshops.

"I have big classes full of wonderful students, and I enjoy working with them tremendously. In addition, all of my colleagues here have been so supportive, both professionally and personally, in helping me feel welcome and part of the community at UB," Edwards said. 

Next semester she will teach a special topics class based on her book, Transforming Libraries, Building Communities: The Community Centered Library, which she coauthored with Melissa S. Robinson and Kelley Rae Unger.

Her interest in public libraries and community engagement led Edwards to enroll in the iSchool as a Leep student in 2003.

"After I graduated with my master's degree in English literature, I was working in a small library in central Wyoming. It really hit me one day how closely librarianship was related to social justice work, and I loved that. I realized that there was so much potential to work with communities on issues that are important to them, and I wanted to be a part of that," Edwards explained.

She is making the most of her time in Botswana, both inside and outside of the classroom. She and her husband love to look for wildlife and explore the countryside. In the upcoming months, she hopes to get out and work with librarians in their communities.

According to Edwards, "I've never been busier, happier, or more fulfilled in my professional work as an academic librarian–I think that says it all!"

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Wine classification analogy leads to librarianship

Working on his application for graduate study at the iSchool at Illinois, Michael DeNotto (MS '12) wanted to make his personal statement stand out. DeNotto worked at an upscale wine shop after receiving his master's in English studies and communication from Valparaiso University. There he discovered a "fascinating wine classification system that determined whether a wine was a vin de pays or premier cru or grand cru." He used the wine classification analogy in his personal statement to demonstrate his interest in librarianship.

Michael DeNotto

Rollins to receive Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award

Alison C. Rollins (MS '17) has been selected to receive a 2018 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award, which is given annually to six women writers who demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers.

Alison Rollins-cropped

2018 ISAA award recipients recognized

The iSchool Alumni Association (ISAA) honored its 2018 award recipients at the ISAA Annual Meeting and reception, which was held on June 24 during the annual meeting of the American Library Association in New Orleans.

Thomas wins two Hugo Awards

Lynne M. Thomas (MS '99), head of The Rare Book & Manuscript Library and an iSchool adjunct professor, has won two Hugo Awards—science fiction's most prestigious award. Thomas, now a seven-time Hugo Award winner, joined the University Library in July 2017.

Lynne M Thomas

Get to Know Jill Gage (MS '04), Newberry Library

Jill Gage's degree from the iSchool and specialty in English makes her a perfect match for her work at the prestigious Newberry Library. In her current role, she manages one of the world's leading collections in printing history and serves as bibliographer for British literature and history. Gage credits the innovative coursework at the iSchool as excellent preparation for her career in special collections.

Jill Gage close-up