Carolina Hernandez, student success librarian at University of Houston Libraries, is the 2022 recipient of the Rooks Early Career Librarian Fellowship.
Former UH Libraries dean Dana Rooks and spouse Charles W. (Mickey) Rooks, PhD established the fellowship endowment to support a UH librarian in professional development and research opportunities, such as memberships, conference fees, travel costs, equipment, and technology.
Hernandez is assessing the hiring process in academic libraries and how to make it more equitable and inclusive for applicants. “I’m working on a project focused on job postings and related application requirements, and how these can create barriers to application for Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color (BIPOC) identifying applicants,” Hernandez said. “Through interviews, I’d like to find out what characteristics have discouraged BIPOC individuals from applying to academic librarian positions, and also the encouraging characteristics that could be replicated elsewhere.”
The research that Hernandez is conducting aligns with student success priorities of the University. The insights discovered could lead to librarian applicant pools that better reflect the diverse UH student population. “Part of what can help students succeed is their ability to see themselves as researchers and scholars, and representation can help with achieving their goals,” Hernandez said. “Ultimately, our ability at UH Libraries to support student success hinges on the strength of the people that work here, so hiring practices need to be examined to ensure we’re vetting candidates in an equitable and effective manner.”
Hernandez received a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Arts degree in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from Rutgers University.