The University of Houston Libraries welcomes Emily Deal as the new English librarian.
Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals.
As the new English librarian, I’ll be providing instruction, research, and collection development support to the students and faculty of the Department of English. I’m also part of the Liaison Department’s new Research Services Team, which provides support for emerging methods of scholarship, including digital humanities. I look forward to contributing to the new digital scholarship services the library offers as we evolve to serve the growing needs of our researchers.
Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian?
I have a degree in English, but for the last five years I worked as the distance learning librarian at a university in Louisiana, so returning to work with an English department feels like a much-welcomed homecoming for me. Serving as distance learning librarian taught me a lot about being flexible and user-centered; libraries should be adapting to their users’ needs, not the other way around. Also, despite showing no aptitude for it whatsoever, I studied creative writing as an English student, so I’m especially excited to partner with the Creative Writing Program on the Poetry and Prose reading series.
Please describe your first impressions of the University of Houston.
It’s a vibrant, diverse, and forward-thinking community, and everyone here has been incredibly supportive and welcoming. I’m thrilled to be here. I’m also brand new to the city of Houston, and I love it. My favorite spot so far is the Rothko Chapel, and I love the Houston Ballet. I also like living in a city where it’s basically encouraged to eat tacos every meal of the day.
What is your favorite book/movie/cuisine/hobby?
I might have too many favorite writers to name, but I often return to Amy Hempel, Joy Williams, and Elizabeth Bishop. Some of my favorite books I read in the past year include Ottessa Moshfegh’s Homesick for Another World (I also loved her earlier novel Eileen), Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties, and Eimear McBride’s The Lesser Bohemians. When I want something plotty, I generally go for crime fiction. Natsuo Kirino is a favorite there, and yes, I’m always up for a trip to Murder By The Book.