The University of Houston Libraries welcomes Emma Fontenot as the new social sciences librarian.
Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals.
I’ll be working with students and faculty in communications, sociology, political science, and economics to provide research, instructional, and collection development support. I am also a member of the Liaison Services Research Services Team which provides support for things such as data visualization, digital scholarship projects, statistical analysis programs like SPSS, and more. I am especially excited about working with students and showing them all the resources UH Libraries has to offer.
Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian?
My background is in political science—political theory to be precise. It heavily influences my research interests as a librarian as my work tends to blend political theory with library and information science. My background has also shaped my perception of librarianship. I see it as an inherently political profession. Our goal is to freely and objectively disseminate information, which in turn allows people to make informed decisions. Knowing that I am helping students develop the skills that will allow them to formulate well-founded opinions is extremely rewarding.
Please describe your first impressions of the University of Houston.
I love UH! It’s an extremely vibrant campus. Whether it is students playing music or hosting high profile events, there always seems to be something interesting going on. I also love the diversity on campus. Coming from a fairly small city, I find it refreshing to see people from all walks of life on a daily basis. And I couldn’t ask for more supportive colleagues. Everyone has been extremely welcoming and encouraging.
What is your favorite hobby?
I love to travel. Two summers ago, my political science graduate advisor invited me to join his study abroad class for a month in London. Ever since then I haven’t stopped traveling. A couple of weeks after returning from the UK I somehow convinced my husband to drive us from Jackson, MS to Vancouver, BC and back around through California. It was amazing. We covered 7,500 miles in 12 days camping out wherever we could. And last summer I went on a solo backpacking trip to Europe. It’s now my ultimate goal in life to travel full-time.