Kate McDowell

Photo of Kate McDowell

Associate Professor

PhD, Library and Information Science, Illinois

239 LIS
(217) 244-8957
kmcdowel [at] illinois.edu

Office Hours

Tuesdays 1:00-3:00 p.m. or by appointment
Curriculum Vitae   

Research Focus

Storytelling practices and applications (in higher education, non-profits, business, and public service); youth services librarianship; children's print culture history; public libraries as cultural spaces.


Kate McDowell is an associate professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where her courses include youth services librarianship, history of readers, and storytelling. She has published articles in Children and Libraries, Book History, Libraries and the Cultural Record, and Library Quarterly. Her article “Surveying the Field: The Research Model of Women in Librarianship, 1882-1898” won the biennial 2010 Donald G. Davis Article Award of the American Library Association’s Library History Round Table.


Storytelling (IS409AG)
Storytelling (IS409AO2)
Storytelling (IS409AU)

Research Projects

App Authors: Closing the App Gap II

The focus of this three-year, multisite project is development of app-based curricula and tools for use in school and public libraries. These tools will teach children aged eight to twelve how to build their own apps, providing them with early programming experience, and allow them to share their creations with other children. The project further establishes libraries as places to engage youth in STEM exploration and digital development that reflects their own experiences.

Completed Research Projects

Selected Publications, Papers, and Presentations

McDowell, Kate. 2014.  “Open Wide the Doors: The Children’s Room as Place in Public Libraries, 1876-1925.” Library Trends 62, no. 3 (Winter 2014): 519-529.

McDowell, Kate. 2014. "Exploring the App Gap," 8th International Symposium on Library Services for Children and Young Adults, National Library of Korea, Seoul, South Korea.

McDowell, Kate. 2013. “Evolution in Children’s Science Books, 1882-1922.” In Culture of Print in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine, Greg Downey, Rima Apple, and Stephen Vaughn, eds., University of Wisconsin Press. 

McDowell, Kate. 2012. “Oh the Places We’ve Been!  The Roots of Evaluation in Youth Services, 1882-1930.”  Children and Libraries 10, no. 2 (Winter 2012): 32-35, 41.

McDowell, Kate, and Caroline Nappo. 2012. “Evolution in Children’s Science Books: Recommendations and Library Collections, 1863-1956.” Library Trends 60, no. 4 (2012): 655-674.

McDowell, Kate.  2011. “Children’s Voices in Librarians’ Words, 1890-1930.”  Libraries and the Cultural Record 46, no. 1 (2011): 73-101.

McDowell, Kate. 2011. “Understanding Children as Readers:  Librarians’ Anecdotes and Surveys in the USA, 1890-1930” in The History of Reading, Vol 1: International Perspectives, c. 1500-1900, S. S. Towheed and W. R. Owen eds., Palgrave MacMillan, 147-162.

McDowell, Kate.  2010. “Which Truth, What Fiction?  Librarians’ Book Recommendations for Children, 1876-1890” in Education and the Culture of Print in Modern America, Adam R. Nelson and John L. Rudolph eds., University of Wisconsin Press, 15-35.

McDowell, Kate. 2009. “Surveying the Field: The Research Model of Women in Librarianship, 1882-1898.” The Library Quarterly 79 (3): 279–300.

McDowell, Kathleen. 2009. “Toward a History of Children as Readers, 1890-1930.” Book History (Pennsylvania State University Press) 12: 240–265.

McDowell, Kate. 2009. “Which Truth, What Fiction?: Librarians’ Book Recommendations for Children, 1876-1890.” In Education and the Culture of Print in Modern America, ed. Adam Nelson and John Rudolph. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Madison Press, 15-35.

Related Topics

Design and Evaluation of Information Systems and Services, Diversity and Social Justice, Education of Information Professionals, Libraries and Librarianship, Youth Literature, Culture, and Services, history of childhood, childhood studies, history of libraries, literature for children and young adults, comparative storytelling (digital and traditional), gender in children's literature, technology in youth services librarianship, distance education pedagogy