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Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecture and Scholarship Awardees

2020 Lecture Awardee

Safiya Umoja Noble, 2020 Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecturer

Safiya Noble Headshot
photo by Stella Kalinina

The 2020 presenter of the Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecture at the ARL Fall Forum is Safiya Umoja Noble. Noble is an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the Department of Information Studies, where she serves as the co-founder and co-director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2). She also holds appointments at UCLA in African American studies and gender studies. She is a research associate at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford and has been appointed as a commissioner on the Oxford Commission on AI & Good Governance (OxCAIGG). Her academic research focuses on the design of digital media platforms on the internet and their impact on society. Noble is the author of the best-selling book Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism and co-editor of The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Culture, and Class Online and Emotions, Technology & Design. She holds a PhD and MS in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a BA in sociology from California State University, Fresno.

2020 Scholarship Awardee

Nix Mendy, 2020 Julia C. Blixrud Scholarship Awardee

Nix Mendy headshot

Nix Mendy is a 2019–2020 Spectrum Scholar and library associate at Tulane University where they arrange a large literary collection, build reparative description projects alongside the collection management team, and enhance accessibility to five distinctive units. They also independently lead oral history projects regarding LGBTQ+ identity and migration within the African diaspora. Before graduating from the creative writing program at Emerson College, they were honored with Distinction in Poetry for their thesis “Snow Black.” Their archival research on the cultural impact of Snow White and the region of Southern Louisiana strengthened the novel-in-verse. Yet the desire to think more deeply about collection development, particularly silences and gaps in the records, led them to study archives management at Simmons University and complete their master of science. They seek to challenge misrepresentation and foster greater self-determination in the historical record by prioritizing the stories and expertise of marginalized communities.

Mendy’s overview of the 2020 ARL Fall Forum

2019 Lecture Awardee

Jaron Lanier, 2019 Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecturer

Jaron Lanier
photo by Doug
Menuez, Stockland

The 2019 presenter of the Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecture at the ARL and CNI Fall Forum is Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist, composer, musician, artist, and award-winning author who writes on numerous topics, including high-technology business, the social impact of technology, the philosophy of consciousness and information, internet politics, and the future of humanism. A pioneer in virtual reality (VR), Lanier founded VPL Research and led teams originating VR applications for medicine, design, and numerous other fields. He is currently the “octopus” (which stands for Office of the Chief Technology Officer Prime Unifying Scientist) at Microsoft. He was a founder or principal of startups that were acquired by Google, Adobe, Oracle, and Pfizer. In 2018, Lanier was named one of the 25 most influential people in the previous 25 years of tech history by Wired Magazine. He has appeared on such TV shows as The View, PBS NewsHour, The Colbert Report, Nightline, and Charlie Rose, and has been profiled on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times multiple times.

2019 Scholarship Awardee

Madelynn Dickerson, 2019 Julia C. Blixrud Scholarship Awardee

Madelynn Dickerson

Madelynn Dickerson is the research librarian for digital humanities and history at the University of California, Irvine and is entering her final semester of coursework for the MLIS from San José State University. She graduated with an MSc in art history from the University of Edinburgh, and has a BA in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Before pursuing a career in librarianship, Dickerson taught art history and composition full-time at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. She has since worked all over the library with positions in circulation, reference, collection development, and digital scholarship services. Dickerson’s professional and research interests include the evolving role of libraries in facilitating new forms of research, cultures and infrastructures around digital scholarship, and intersections between art and technology.

Dickerson’s overview of the 2019 ARL-CNI Fall Forum

2018 Lecture Awardee

Bernard “Bernie” Banks, 2018 Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecturer

Bernie Banks
image courtesy
Kellogg School of
Management at
Northwestern University

The 2018 presenter of the Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecture at the ARL and CNI Fall Forum is Bernard “Bernie” Banks, a noted expert on the subjects of leadership and organizational change. Currently, he is the associate dean for leadership development and a clinical professor of management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. As an associate dean, Banks possesses responsibility for leader development integration across the school’s global portfolio of programs.

Banks retired from the US Army as a brigadier general in 2016 after having successfully led West Point’s Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership from 2012 to 2016. In addition to having studied leadership extensively, he has led multiple military units ranging in size from 10 to 500 people. In 1995, Banks was selected from over 40,000 officers to receive the Army’s top award for entry-level managers, the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award. In 2006, the Apache Helicopter unit he was leading in South Korea was designated as the top Apache Helicopter unit globally in the US Army’s annual best aviation unit competition.

Banks’s slides from the 2018 ARL-CNI Fall Forum

2018 Scholarship Awardee

Justin Fuhr, 2018 Julia C. Blixrud Scholarship Awardee

Justin Fuhr is pursuing a master’s degree in library and information studies at the University of Alberta. Fuhr has a BA in English literature from Canadian Mennonite University and a library and information technology diploma from Red River College. He currently works at the University of Manitoba Libraries in library systems. It is Fuhr’s career goal to be an academic librarian at a research institution. He is interested in the junction between design and information studies, in particular with web development and online instructional videos. His research interests also include examining the continuing education of information professionals for alternative skills used in academic libraries, such as programming languages, application development, and audiovisual production, along with reskilling librarians to provide modern academic library services such as research data management.

Fuhr’s overview of the 2018 ARL-CNI Fall Forum

2017 Lecture Awardee

Wolfram Horstmann, 2017 Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecturer

image courtesy of Goettingen State and University Library

The 2017 presenter of the Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecture at the ARL and CNI Fall Forum is Wolfram Horstmann, director of the Goettingen State and University Library at Georg-August-University of Goettingen since 2014. Prior to his current position he was associate director at the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, UK. He is currently leading several strategic projects in the areas of scholarly communication, open access, research data, and digital transformation for the University of Goettingen and for the library in Goettingen. He is executive member and chair of the Steering Group on Scholarly Communication and Research Infrastructure for the European research library association LIBER. In the Research Data Alliance (RDA), he is member of the Organisational Advisory Board and chairs several working groups, including Libraries for Research Data and Long Tail of Research Data. He has acted as advisor to several bodies and initiatives, such as the European Commission, the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the Nature journal Scientific Data. Further information is available via the Goettingen State and University Library website.

Horstmann’s slides from the 2017 ARL-CNI Fall Forum

2017 Scholarship Awardee

Giao Luong Baker, 2017 Julia C. Blixrud Scholarship Awardee

The 2017 recipient of the Julia C. Blixrud Scholarship is Giao Luong Baker, strategic digital initiatives librarian at the University of Southern California (USC). She facilitates partnerships with researchers, libraries, and archives to develop digital collections for the USC Libraries, which dovetails with this year’s ARL and CNI Fall Forum theme of “Libraries and the Research Enterprise.” Prior to her current position, Baker worked for over a decade as a staff member managing digitization projects for inclusion in the USC Digital Library, an online resource dedicated to furthering research, teaching, and learning.

Baker is completing her final coursework in the University of North Texas master of science in library science program. She serves on the board of the Los Angeles City Historical Society, and was a 2016–2017 American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum scholar and the recipient of the 2016 LITA/OCLC Minority Scholarship in Library and Information Technology. Her professional and research interests include developing infrastructure to cultivate cross-departmental collaborations, exploring first-generation college student experiences, and increasing diversity in digital collections.

Baker’s overview of the 2017 ARL-CNI Fall Forum

2016 Lecture Awardee

Ajay Nair, 2016 Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecturer

The 2016 presenter of the Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecture at the ARL Fall Forum is Ajay Nair, senior vice president and dean of campus life at Emory University. As Emory’s chief advocate for nearly 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Nair’s broad portfolio of responsibilities ranges from intercollegiate athletics and the Greek experience to student health services and residence life. He also provides leadership and strategic direction in cultivating an ethically engaged community consistent with Emory’s vision. Nair’s research interests include quality assurance in educational systems, service learning and civic engagement, and Asian American identity. His co-edited book, Desi Rap: Hip-Hop in South Asian America, focuses on the complexities of second-generation South Asian American identity.

2016 Scholarship Awardee

Sofia Leung, 2016 Julia C. Blixrud Scholarship Awardee


The 2016 recipient of the Julia C. Blixrud Scholarship is Sofia Leung, learning studio librarian at University of Kansas (KU) Libraries. Her professional and research interests include diversity and inclusion in libraries, critical librarianship, and student outreach and engagement, which dovetail with this year’s ARL Fall Forum theme of “Libraries and Archives as Agents of Social Justice.” Leung earned her MLIS degree, as well as a master of public administration degree, from the University of Washington in 2014. Before joining KU Libraries in 2015, she worked as a research services librarian at Seattle University, and she was an ARL Career Enhancement Program fellow at North Carolina State University Libraries in 2014.

Leung’s scholarship application essay and overview of the 2016 ARL Fall Forum

2015 Lecture and Scholarship Awardees

Tara McPherson, 2015 Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecturer

Tara McPherson is an associate professor of critical studies at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts and director of the Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Studies in the USC Libraries. Her research engages the cultural dimensions of media—including the intersection of gender, race, affect, and place—and focuses on the digital humanities, early software histories, and the development of new tools and paradigms for digital publishing, learning, and authorship. She is author of the award-winning Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender, and Nostalgia in the Imagined South and the forthcoming Feminist in a Software Lab, as well as editor or co-editor of several collections.

Slides from McPherson’s keynote at the 2015 ARL Fall Forum

Liz Hamilton, 2015 Julia C. Blixrud Scholarship Awardee

Liz Hamilton earned her MLIS degree from Dominican University in 2015, where she received the Graduate School of Library and Information Science Outstanding Graduate Award. She also holds a BA in religion from Oberlin College. She completed a practicum in the Northwestern University Library Digital Collections department as part of her MLIS studies and has worked for the Northwestern University Press since 2011.

Infographic that Hamilton submitted with her scholarship application

Hamilton’s overview of the 2015 ARL Fall Forum

If you have questions about the Memorial Lecture or Scholarship, please e-mail JCBfund@arl.org.