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Professional Position, Experience and Research Interests

sophienewIn July 2012 I was appointed to the position of Head, Bronfman Business Library at York University Libraries  for a five year term. This library, based in the Schulich School of Business, serves all business programs on campus. Previously I was the Business Librarian and Information Literacy Librarian (2010-12), and before that, and since 2003, I had the title of Business Librarian.

Right now, and starting September 2014, I am on a one year sabbatical leave from my role as Head, Bronfman Business Library.

Before working at York University I was Business/Economics & Special Projects Librarian (1999-2003) at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

Business Librarian Experience
My work as Head of the Bronfman Business Library at York University includes management and administrative responsibilities, reference and research (in-person, chat, phone and e-mail), information literacy instruction at undergraduate and graduate level, 601 project consultations for MBA students, collections development, and liaison with my assigned areas.  In terms of individual subject areas,up until my sabbatical leave in September 2014 I have been  responsible for health industry management, human resource management, management and strategic management, consulting, marketing and organizational behaviour.  In terms of previous experience, I was responsible for the areas of business and economics for over three years at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Information Literacy Experience
I have a long-standing interest in the area of information literacy which began when I worked at Laurier University where information literacy was among the special projects I undertook. This included a role as chair of the Information Literacy Task Force. The task force prepared a plan mapping a way forward for information literacy programming at Laurier.  A large piece of this involved planning, developing and implementing a course-integrated web-based information literacy tutorial targeted primarily for first year students. Over 2,000 students participated in this tutorial during the two year period 2001-2003. At York I now have almost four years experience (January 2007 – July 2008, May 2010 – current) in chairing our committee responsible for developing and promoting an information literacy program for York University Libraries. This committee develops and carries out an annual set of objectives within the context of a more general five-year set of goals, adjusted as necessary. During 2010 I led the committee in the creation of a new five-year plan for information literacy at York University Libraries. This included the organization of a one-day retreat with instructional librarians. The plan is available on our web site:  Information Literacy Plan 2010-2015 Engaging Student Learning Through Partnerships.

Research Interests

One of my key  research interests is faculty’s information literacy attitudes, perceptions and experiences of information literacy both as this relates to undergraduate and graduate students. I have conducted two studies at York University in this area (one using a survey instrument and the other semi-structured interviews). This has involved faculty across different disciplines. My progress to date is documented in the presentations and publications section of this website.

Other research interests of mine include the area of information literacy assessment, faculty development in the area of information literacy, and mainstreaming academic literacies in curricula in higher education.

Sabbatical Projects

I was on sabbatical (my first one) from May 1st 2009 – April 30th 2010. During the period July to December 2009 I was a “Visiting Professional Scholar” at the School of Information and Library Studies (SILS) at University College Dublin. I engaged in research for the school in the area of continuing professional development (CPD). The focus was to provide an overview of trends and developments in the area of CPD for Irish library professionals and to form recommendations on  possible future directions for the school in this area based on interviews and a survey which I conducted with librarians in academic, public and special libraries in Ireland.  An executive summary of the full report, titled Continuing Professional Development and Irish Libraries: Report of Key Survey Findings, is available. I also gave several guest lectures during this time as part of courses taught in the School, in addition to a community guest lecture titled Future Forward: Reflections on New and Emerging Service Directions in Canadian Academic Libraries.

From January to April 2011 I engaged in qualitative research and conducted  semi-structured interviews with York faculty on their attitudes, perceptions and experiences of information literacy in the context of undergraduate education. I presented on  results from this research and a former survey-based study at the LILAC conference in March 2010. This presentation, including the slides and audio, is available in YorkSpace. I also presented on this research, especially findings from the research interviews with faculty,  at the WILU conference in June 2011 and the presentation and audio are also available in YorkSpace.


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