University of Houston Libraries welcomes Veronica Douglas as the new instruction coordinator.
Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals.
As the UH Libraries’ instruction coordinator I oversee the library’s information literacy initiatives in lower-level undergraduate courses such as English Composition. I’ll also be responsible for assisting liaison librarians incorporate information literacy into their respective subject areas, offering professional development to my colleagues in the areas of teaching and assessment, and developing a vision and plan for the library’s teaching program. My goals include empowering librarian colleagues to embrace their identity as teachers and recognize their expertise as educators; debunking the idea that information literacy is just about library instruction or research skills instruction; and working with faculty at the University of Houston to design courses and assignments that take a critical approach to incorporating information literacy.
Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian?
I’ve been a liaison librarian and teacher throughout my 11 year career in libraries. Over the past 6 years, I’ve become a strong proponent of critical information literacy, which focuses on the sociocultural, political, and economic forces that influence the ways in which information is created, valued, shared, and accessed. I try to teach information literacy as more than just library or research skills, and encourage students to consider how information shapes the world in which they live. I am also very interested in feminist pedagogy and how it can be used to empower students in the information literacy classroom by valuing their unique perspectives and experiences. My research interests center around the application of relational cultural theory to librarianship, which I see as a way of bringing the work of relationship-building we do as librarians to the forefront of our professional values.
Please describe your first impressions of the University of Houston.
I’m actually returning to the University of Houston! My first job out of library school was as the psychology and social work librarian at the UH Libraries. I moved away in 2009 because my family relocated, and I am so glad to be back at UH. I’m impressed by the growth and advancement of the university—there are so many new buildings, excellent student success initiatives, and advances in research projects. The diversity of the campus community was something I always loved about UH and I am happy to see that the spirit of inclusion continues on this dynamic campus.
What is your favorite hobby?
Over the past year I’ve developed a pretty regular yoga practice and have really appreciated the physical and mental benefits that accompany this activity. I’m still very much a novice, but I find that yoga practice helps me feel more at peace with my limitations and prouder of my accomplishments and strengths. It’s a great way to quiet my mind, which is always going a mile a minute, and I can definitely feel myself getting stronger, which is a bonus. I’ve even managed to get my 6 year old son interested in yoga, although he is far more flexible than I am!