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Welcome to the homepage for the Future of Youth Public Librarian Education project. This site will eventually support a yearlong collaborative initiative to reimagine preservice education for today’s public youth services librarians.

Project Staff

Dr. Brian W. Sturm is a Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS). Dr. Sturm’s teaching interests focus on youth services in public libraries, materials for youth, and developmentally appropriate practices in libraries.  His research emphasizes immersion in information environments: the state of being completely engrossed in whatever you are doing, whether that’s reading, story listening, or playing video games.  Most people have been “lost in a book” or deeply engaged in some form of media, and Dr. Sturm has dedicated his research career to exploring the experience of immersion and the various influences that help us get immersed.  Prior to his academic career, Dr. Sturm was a natural history museum docent, gave planetarium shows, worked as a wildlife rehabilitator, and taught outdoor education to 5th graders in California.  He has also been a professional storyteller for over 25 years. His curriculum vitae is available online.

Dr. Sayamindu Dasgupta is an assistant professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS). Dr. Dasgupta’s research focuses on developing tools to support data science education for youth and on using data science in the service of education. He designs, builds, and studies systems that engage young people in doing data science. Dr. Dasgupta received his doctorate from MIT in 2016, where he was a part of the Lifelong Kindergarten research group, and his work was centered around the Scratch programming language and online community. Before coming to UNC, he was a Moore-Sloan and WRF postdoctoral fellow with the eScience Institute at the University of Washington. His research has received recognition and awards at a number of human-computer interaction conferences (CHICSCWVL/HCCIDC). In 2014, he was selected as a member of the Forbes 30 under 30 list for Education.

Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell is a Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), where she coordinates the School Library Media specialization. Her current research focuses on  social justice issues in youth library services, diverse youth literature, and the role of school librarians in education reform. She has written and presented extensively on culturally relevant pedagogy, critical race theory, and the role of libraries in serving diverse youth. Dr. Hughes-Hassell is a past president of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA); her presidency work focused on how libraries can support youth activism. Along with Dr. Casey Rawson and SILS PhD student Kimberly Hirsh, Dr. Hughes-Hassell developed the IMLS-supported Project READY curriculum, which offers free online professional development focued on racial equity for school and public youth services library staff.

Dr. Casey Rawson is a Teaching Assistant Professor at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science, where she teaches research methods and youth services courses to MSLS and MSIS students. She also works with Project READY (ready.web.unc.edu) to create racial equity-focused online and face-to-face professional development for school librarians and other educators. Her research interests include equity and inclusion in youth services librarianship, instruction in school and public libraries, and education of LIS professionals. She has written, taught, and presented widely in these areas. Dr. Rawson holds a Ph.D. and MSLS in Information and Library Science from UNC Chapel Hill, an MAT in Middle Grades Education from the University of Louisville, and a BS in Biology from Duke University. Before pursuing her MSLS, she was a middle school science teacher.