I am currently a Professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I coordinate the PhD program and the School Library Media specialization. My pronouns are she/ her/ hers.
My current research focuses on social justice issues in youth library services, diverse youth literature, and the role of school librarians in education reform. I have written and presented extensively on culturally relevant pedagogy, critical race theory, and the role of libraries in serving diverse youth.
In the Spring of 2015, my then 13-year-old son, who attends the Carolina Friends School, had the opportunity to take a Civil Rights Tour with 20 other middle school students. They began in Montgomery and made their way north, stopping in Selma, Birmingham, Alabama, and Greensboro. He came back fired up to fight for social justice and was particularly excited that he had added his name to the Wall of Tolerance found at the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Alabama. The wall digitally displays the names of more than half a million people who have pledged to take a stand against hate and work for justice and tolerance in their daily lives. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website, “the Wall demonstrates that individuals, not government or organizations, are responsible for continuing the march for social justice. It stands as a dynamic representation of the strength of the movement in America.” Visitors to the Civil Rights Memorial Center have the opportunity to take the pledge and add their names to the Wall during their visit.
By placing my name on the Wall of Tolerance, I pledge to take a stand against hate, injustice and intolerance. I will work in my daily life for justice, equality and human rights – the ideals for which the Civil Rights martyrs died.
I consider my research, teaching, and service, like the Wall of Tolerance, to be my public pledge that as an LIS professional I will work for social justice – to ensure that youth who have been traditionally marginalized in the United States have access to the liberties, rights, opportunities, and successes that have been denied them through institutional inequities built on racism, sexism, homophobia, power, and privilege, to create library programs and services that build on the strengths found in these communities, and to empower youth whose voices have been historically silenced to trust their voice and the truth they seek.