University of Houston Libraries welcomes Jennifer Holland as a new librarian in the department of Teaching and Learning.
Please describe your role at UH Libraries. How does your work align with the teaching and learning priorities of the University?
As a member of the Teaching and Learning team, I will be teaching classes, developing learning materials, and working with folks in the early stages of their research. Much of my work focuses on facilitating learning experiences around information literacy outcomes. It is vital that students develop skills and competencies to engage with information in ways that are effective and ethical in order to perform well academically and think critically about what matters to them. Information literacy also encompasses understanding systems of information production and knowledge creation, which is integral to the University’s initiatives around scholarly engagement and research output. We are so privileged to have access to the wealth of information resources and special collections available through UH Libraries. It’s important for students to engage with these resources effectively and develop critical awareness about the social, cultural, and economic forces that shape the information landscape.
Please share a bit about your background and research interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian?
I received my library degree from the University of Arizona, which is also where I’d previously obtained an MFA in Creative Writing. Before I decided to become a librarian I was working as an adjunct instructor for composition. I’ve always been drawn to communities of learning, but teaching writing didn’t feel like a calling. I really enjoyed research assignments because they could be very self-directed and gave students the opportunity to learn more about their own interests, whether it was related to climate change or breakdancing. The first time a librarian came to my class to talk about research strategies was very eye-opening because it showed me another way to support student learning that felt less directive yet still very empowering. That really appealed to me, as someone who values both critical inquiry and learner autonomy, and it was a big part of what led me to become a librarian.
What are one or two things you’d like faculty and students to know about working with a Teaching and Learning librarian?
The Teaching and Learning team is really welcoming and supportive. We strive to provide research support and facilitate learning experiences that are relevant and inclusive of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and abilities. Each person’s research journey is guided by their unique motivations and lived experiences, which means no two research experiences are exactly alike, even if the topics are the same. One of the great pleasures of my job is meeting people and learning about the issues that are meaningful and authentic to them. Research does not have to be an isolated endeavor. It can also be an opportunity for connection and community, which is hopefully what faculty and students will discover when working with a teaching and learning librarian!