Kathryn La Barre

Associate Professor

PhD, Information Science, Indiana University

Room 203, 501 E. Daniel St.

(217) 244-4449


Other professional appointments

  • Faculty Affiliate, Gender and Women's Studies
  • Faculty Affiliate, Women & Gender in Global Perspectives Program

Research focus

Interrogating historical and contemporary naming practices and power dynamics in cultural heritage collections of films, comics and zines. Methods: Community-based participatory research and oral history.

Honors and Awards

  • Association for Library and Information Science Education and OCLC Library and Information Science Research Award, 2010
  • Centennial Scholar, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois, 2011-2012
  • Director-at-Large, Association for Information Science & Technology, 2015-2018
  • Principal member of the Knowledge Organization Research Group in the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2016-present
  • J. William Fulbright Specialist, 2016-2023


Kathryn La Barre is an Associate Professor at the School of Information Sciences and Gender and Women's Studies faculty affiliate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work interrogates the power dynamics of historical and contemporary naming practices in cultural heritage collections. Her research has been published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, Library Trends, Knowledge Organization, Libraries and the Cultural Record, and Cataloging and Classification Quarterly.  She is an active member of the Association of Information Science and Technology,  serving as the Chair of the 80th Anniversary Working Group, as co-facilitator the oral history project "Leaders of Information Science Worldwide" and the ASIST Curator. Her public outreach activities include: hosting Zine workshops, Caretaker for the UCIMC Zine Library, and Librarian at the Rantoul Multi-Cultural Center.

Project CoBRA (Comic Book Readership Archive)

Office hours

By appointment, please contact professor

Publications & Papers

La Barre, K., and Courtney Richardson. (Spring 2021) ‘Chaos and Conception in the openED Archive’ Library Trends 69(3), 642-667. 
La Barre, K., Spencer Lilley, and Paulette Kerr (2021). Diversity in local and comparative contexts: Grounding change in academic libraries through dialogue. International Insights, 82 (10). College and Research Libraries News. 
La Barre, K. (Summer 2023) Fostering Community Reading Networks at the Illinois State Library School: Student-organized Traveling Libraries: 1898-1907. Champaign County Genealogical Society Quarterly.  

La Barre, K. (2010). Facet analysis. In B. Cronin (Ed.) Annual Review of Information Science and Technology. Volume 44, pp. 243-284. Medford, NJ: Information Today.

La Barre, K. (2010). Pauline Atherton Cochrane: Weaving value from the past. Libraries and the Cultural Record, 45(2), 210-237.

La Barre, K. and Cordeiro, R. I. (2012). That obscure object of desire: Facets for film access and discovery. In (Diane Neal, ed.) Indexing and Retrieval of Non-text Information, pp. 234-262. München, Deutschland: De Gruyter Saur.

La Barre, K. and Tilley, C. (2012). The elusive tale: Leveraging the study of information seeking and knowledge organization to improve access to and discovery of folktales. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 63(4), 687-701.

La Barre, K. (2012). Spelunking in the archives: Or how I learned to love the art of the unexpected. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 39 (1), 32-34.

La Barre, K. (2013). Preface to revised edition of H. Curtis Wright. Jesse Shera, Librarianship, and Information Science, pp. i-vii. Sacramento: Library Juice Press.

La Barre, K. (2017). Interrogating Facet Theory: Decolonizing Knowledge Organization. In Richard P. Smiraglia and Hur-Li Lee (Eds), Dimensions of Knowledge: Facets for Knowledge Organization, pp. 7-30. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag.


Educator perspective. Webinar: Ask the Experts Resource Description and Access Webinar. American Library Association, Association for Library Collections and Technical Services - Continuing Education Committee; February 2011.

Visiting lecturer hosted by the U.S. State Department, Semantic digital libraries: Indexing and Summarization course. Carlos III University, Alcalá, Spain; October 2011.

Keynote speaker, Resource Description and Access Workshop. Indiana Library Federation; Fort Wayne, Indiana; November 2011.

Overview of KO research in their social, cultural and political dimensions (vocational training, ethics, culture and identity, context, sustainability). ISKO Brasil – II Congresso Brasileiro em Representação e Organização do Conhecimento, Rio de Janiero, Brasil; May 2013.

Invited speaker and workshop facilitator, Vision, Understanding and Power. KNOWeSCAPE workshop "Knowledge Orders and Science" (COST Action TD1012), Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Hague, Netherlands; October 24-25, 2013.

Invited speaker, Decolonizing Knowledge Organization. Knowledge Organization Research Group, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; November, 2016.

Make a Zine writing workshop, Education Justice Project, Danville Correctional Facility, December 2017.

Guest lectures at the Center for Library and Information Management Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai India, various dates - January 2018.

Keynote speaker, Excellence in Academic Librarianship: Initiatives at the University of Illinois. National Conference on Role of Academic Libraries for Excellence in Research. Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India; January 16, 2018.

Invited lecture, The future of libraries/librarians: The Rumours of our Demise are Greatly Exaggerated. Mumbai University, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, January 29, 2018.

Completed Research Projects