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Library Assessment Conference 2014 Travel Award Recipients Selected

UW Suzzallo Library, image © Chris Dubé

ARL and the conference planning committee have awarded five outstanding individuals Library Assessment Conference Travel Awards for 2014. These grants are offered to students and early-career professionals from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups who have demonstrated a strong interest in assessment and have the potential to contribute to the profession by deploying and developing innovative assessment and evaluation methods and strategies. The awards cover attendance, travel, and meals at the Library Assessment Conference, which will be held at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, August 4–7, 2014.

Mohamed Berray is a diversity resident librarian at Pennsylvania State University (PSU), where he works in electronic-resource management and as a subject specialist and collections librarian for political science and law. He serves on PSU’s Library Assessment and Metrics Council and recently led the analysis of the library’s 2013 LibQUAL+® results. Mohamed was a Fulbright scholar at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro in 2011–2013. He holds an MLIS from UNC Greensboro and an MA in political science and a Graduate Diploma in migration studies from the American University in Cairo.

Nicole Branch is librarian for research and digitization at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. Her research interests include studying the information literacy gap of students entering higher education from under-resourced public schools and assessing the impact of instruction in bridging this gap. Nicole is in the inaugural cohort of Loyola Marymount University’s Institute for Research Design in Librarianship, and she was an ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (IDRW) Diversity Scholar in 2008–2010. She holds an MLIS from San Jose State University and a BA in anthropology with a minor in African American studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Sojourna Cunningham is a diversity resident librarian at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), where she has conducted website-usability studies and student focus groups and assisted in the analysis of LibQUAL+ survey results. She has piloted several assessment research studies, including a longitudinal space assessment of UTK’s recently renovated library commons. Sojourna was selected as a 2014 American Library Association Emerging Leader. She holds an MLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BA from the University of Pittsburgh.

Isabel Gonzalez-Smith is academic resident librarian and visiting instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her professional interests focus on user experience of technology, services, and spaces in academic libraries and assessment as a vital phase in identifying and analyzing needs, improvements, and modifications within a library. At UIC, Isabel serves on the User Experience Council and Web Advisory Group, and she is conducting a research project assessing the use of library research guides in first-year composition courses. Isabel holds an MLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She attended the Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians from Traditionally Underrepresented Groups in 2012.

Ebony Magnus is user experience and reference librarian at Michigan State University, where she has redesigned data-reporting tools, developed a workshop series on data analysis and visualization, and played key roles in the library’s space-assessment study and implementation of Summon 2.0. Ebony attended ARL’s seminar for new assessment professionals and the Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians from Traditionally Underrepresented Groups in 2014. She holds an MLIS from the University of British Columbia, an MA in English literature from Carleton University, and a BA in English literature from the University of Victoria. At the Library Assessment Conference, Ebony will present a poster, “Outer Spaces: Observing Campus Common Spaces to Gain Insight about Library Space Usage.”

The awardees were selected by a committee comprised of members of the ARL Diversity and Leadership Committee and the ARL Statistics and Assessment Committee.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.

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