Student Charlotte King-Mills Aims to Promote Information Access for Diverse Populations

Community Profile

San José State University School of Information student Charlotte King-Mills wants to use her passion for information literacy instruction to engage diverse communities in information sharing.

After graduating in May 2014, she hopes to get a job in an academic library, “working closely with first-generation students of color to help them succeed in a college environment,” she said. “I hope to provide culturally competent scholarship and advocate for under-served patrons through a diverse perspective within academia.”

King-Mills has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2005, and says her MLIS coursework has proved helpful in her current job as Director of Education for the Parkinson’s Association in San Diego, California.

“It has already enhanced my ability to work effectively with patrons,” she said. “I’ve completed a community analysis, enhanced our programming and developed strategies to maximize our outreach efforts.” Her background in adult education will also help her in the future, as she plans to support the information-seeking needs of college students.

Since starting the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program in fall 2012, King-Mills has received a number of honors. In 2013, she received the SLIS Blanche Woolls Spectrum Scholarship – one of the SLIS scholarships awarded to current students based on academic merit. In 2012, she received a Spectrum Scholarship from the American Library Association’s Office of Diversity.

She also received a scholarship in 2012 from the San Diego chapter of the Special Libraries Association. The following year, she began serving as the chapter’s student liaison. She said earning the ALA and SLA scholarships “allows me to network among and learn from a stellar combination of academic and special collections librarians whom I admire.”

King-Mills, who earned a bachelor’s in gender studies with a concentration in art history from DePaul University in Chicago, is completing an internship at San Diego State University that entails helping digitize parts of the illustrated children’s book collection. She is also assisting a librarian at California State University-San Marcos on a citation analysis research project.

She describes libraries as living organisms that are full of possibilities. “It is my enthusiasm for and commitment to these democratic, community spaces that draws me to the profession,” she said. “In this spirit, I hope I can contribute to librarianship a smidgen of what libraries and librarians have given to me.”

Influential Classes

“Dr. Michelle Simmons’ INFO 210 Reference and Information Services course really helped me think through ways of effectively interacting with patrons. Dr. Mary Somerville’s INFO 204 Information Organizations and Management class introduced me to methods for successful professional collaboration. Dr. Michael Stephens’ INFO 287 The Hyperlinked Library course was a wonderful class that taught me how to bridge information theory with practice. I enjoyed developing plans to implement emerging technology tools in libraries.”

Career Tips

“Network, network, network. I’ve felt so supported by the librarians and students I’ve met. The information field is one that truly encourages students and emerging professionals. Also, take a variety of courses to get a better feel for the type of librarianship that most appeals to you.”

Tech Tips

“I think the most important thing to do is to play. I learned in my hyperlinked libraries class that while technology will constantly change, our professional role is to remain nimble and open to discovery when assessing a particular tool’s usefulness. So instead of staying rigid in what tools are most useful, aim at staying abreast with the mindset that one tool may be best for a particular information space while not ideal for another.

“However, lately I am obsessed with Enter a URL and this tool turns any Web page into a print-friendly document. Printing fewer pages helps save trees.”

Professional Affiliations

American Library Association (ALA) Black Caucus and New Member Roundtable; Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL); California Academic & Research Libraries Association (CARL); California Library Association (CLA); Special Libraries Association (SLA)

Best Conferences

ALA annual in Chicago; SLA annual in San Diego

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