Christine Jenkins, an Associate Professor Emerita at the School of Information Sciences, published important, early work on LGBTQIA+ representations within youth literature while teaching a wide range of courses at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.
Jenkins received her BA (1971) in English and Art from Macalester College and an MS (1973) in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Following her graduation, Jenkins gained practical experience as a librarian and media specialist in the Ann Arbor public school system. In the late 1980s, she returned to graduate school, earning an MA (1989) in English and Children’s Literature from Eastern Michigan University and a PhD (1995) in Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.1 During this time, she served as the Intellectual Freedom Information Coordinator at the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), providing resources to Wisconsin schools and libraries facing active book challenges.2
After joining the faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (today’s iSchool) at the University of Illinois in 1994, Jenkins taught popular courses in youth services and literacy, helped to establish the K-12 library media specialist program (today’s School Librarian Licensure program), and became a passionate advocate for the school’s pathbreaking online master’s degree in Library and Information Science (LEEP). From 2007 to 2010, Jenkins served as the CCB faculty director and helped to coordinate the Center’s community outreach, guest lecture programs, and special events such as the Storytelling Festival. Professor Jenkins retired in 2015.3
One of Jenkin’s most lasting impacts to librarianship is her advocacy for LGBTQIA+ scholarship and service. In 1982, she co-authored, with Julie Morris, A Look at Gayness: An Annotated Bibliography of Gay Materials for Young People, which was the first published bibliography dedicated to LGBTQIA+ juvenile materials. Additional publications include The Heart Has Its Reasons (2006), Top 250 LGBTQ Books for Teens (2015), and Representing the Rainbow in Young Adult Literature: LGBTQ+ Content Since 1969 (2018).4
1 Christine Jenkins CV.
2 6/24/2015 Interview Transcript, CCB Files, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.