Faculty and Students


Sarah Park Dahlen

Associate Professor

PhD Library and Information Science, Illinois

Sarah Park Dahlen’s research addresses Korean adoption in children’s literature, Frank Carpenter and Frances Carpenter’s writings for children, and diversity in children’s literature and library education. She is cofounder of the scholarly journal Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, with Gabrielle Atwood Halko; coeditor of Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors Through Reading (2013), with Jamie Campbell Naidoo; and co-creator of the 2015 and 2018 Diversity in Children’s Books Infographics, with David Huyck, which are based on data from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She holds an MS and PhD in library and information science from the University of Illinois and a BA and MA in Asian American Studies from UCLA. She previously has served as an assistant professor of library and information science at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Elizabeth Hoeim

Assistant Professor

PhD English, Illinois

Elizabeth Hoiem’s research interest include the history of children’s literature, reading and literacy and more specifically, the history of technological innovations in children’s literature—from early children’s books and toys to contemporary applications of digital pedagogy.

She teaches courses on the history of children’s literature, reading and literacy, and fantasy.  She has published in Children’s Literature, Children’s Literature in Education, The Lion and the Unicorn, and Digital Humanities Quarterly. Her current book project, The Education of Things: Mechanical Literacies in British Children’s Literature, 1760-1860, investigates the class politics of learning with objects and has been supported by an NEH fellowship.

Kyungwon Koh

Associate Professor

PhD Library and Information Studies, Florida State

Kyungwon Koh’s areas of expertise include digital youth, the maker movement, learning and community engagement through libraries, human information behavior, and competencies for information professionals. Her work has been published in leading IS/LIS journals such as JASIS&T, LISR, Information Research, JRLYA, JELIS, and Library Trends. Koh’s research has been supported by an IMLS National Leadership Grant (2016), IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Program Early Career Development Grant (2014), and ALISE Research Grant Award (2010).

Rachel Magee

Assistant Professor

PhD Information Studies, Drexel​

Rachel M. Magee is a youth advocate who teaches about and researches youth technology and information practices, informed by her background as a public librarian. Her work has been published in Library Quarterly and Young Adult Library Services and has been supported by an IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Program Early Career Development Grant (2018), ALA/Google Ready to Code Faculty Fellowship (2017), and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2011-15).

Kate McDowell

Associate Professor

PhD Library and Information Science, Illinois

Kate McDowell’s research interests include storytelling practices and applications (in higher education, non-profits, business, and public service), youth services librarianship, children’s print culture history, and public libraries as cultural spaces. Her current research project is on Storytelling at Work, and she is working on a book called Storytelling Thinking for Professionals. McDowell is also the storytelling consultant to campus-level Advancement at the University of Illinois. Her workshops for nonprofits bring together the tools of storytelling with many areas, including fundraising, career preparation, business, and public service.

Sara Schwebel

Sara Schwebel

Professor and Director, Center for Children's Books

PhD History of American Civilization, Harvard

Sara L. Schwebel ’s research interests include children’s and young adult literature, history/social studies pedagogy, public history, and digital humanities.

She is author of Child-Sized History: Fictions of the Past in U.S. Classrooms (Vanderbilt UP, 2011); co-editor, with Jocelyn Van Tuyl (New College of Florida), of Dust off the Gold Medal: Rediscovering Children’s Literature at the Newbery Centennial (Routledge, forthcoming); and editor of Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader’s Edition (U of California Press, 2016) and The Lone Woman and Last Indians Digital Archive. The archive was built with undergraduate students and is part of a larger collaboration with the Channel Islands National Park; together, the NPS site and Digital Archive were honored with the Organization of American Historians’ Stanton-Horton Award (2019) and the American Studies Association’s Garfinkel Prize in Digital Humanities, Honorable Mention (2017).

Schwebel has served on the National Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of the USA (2005-11) and the Children’s Literature Association (2015-17). She was an inaugural member of the Scholars Council for the University of Florida’s Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature (2015-20). She holds a PhD in the history of American civilization from Harvard University and a BA in history from Yale College. Before beginning her academic career, she taught middle school history and literature in Virginia and Connecticut. 

Carol Tilley

Associate Professor

PhD Information Science, Indiana

Carol Tilley’s research interests include the history of youth services librarianship, children’s print culture, information inquiry and instruction in school libraries, information seeking and use, and media literacy. She teaches courses in comics reader’s advisory, media literacy, and youth services librarianship. Tilley’s comics research has been featured in the New York Times, BoingBoing, WNYC’s Takeaway, and other media outlets. She has served as an Eisner Award judge (2016) and president of the Comics Studies Society (2018-2019). Her current book project, Comics and Youth: How a Mass Medium Transformed a Generation examines young people’s relationship to comics as well as adult gatekeepers’ understanding of that relationship.

Doctoral Students

Claire Irwin

Clair’s research focus is people with medical disabilities and their information behaviors, with the end goal of determining how libraries can promote disability equity in their services and programs in supporting these individuals.

Cass Mabbott

Cass’s research focuses include critical theory in LIS education and information organizations, information behavior of children, youth services in public libraries with emphasis on diverse users, children’s literature, research methods, and management of public libraries.

Julia Burns Petrella 

Julia’s research interests include youth services and school librarianship, LIS education and pedagogy, and the significance of race, racism, and whiteness to librarians working with young people. Her proposed dissertation research investigates the ways that pre-service school librarians are educated about topics of race and racism in their LIS programs, with a special focus on the impact of whiteness, and with particular consideration given to the obstacles and opportunities faced by LIS educators in teaching these topics.

Lettycia Terrones

Lettycia’s research interests center on the aesthetic/political strategies that occur visually and textually in Chicana-created picturebooks.

DeAnza Williams

DeAnza’s research interests include multicultural representation in youth literature; library services for teens (collections, programming, teen spaces, and evaluation of services offered); everyday life information-seeking behaviors of teens; public libraries as informal learning centers; and library leadership and management.

Andrew Zalot

Andrew’s interests include young adult literature, adaptation studies, and intellectual freedom. He is particularly interested in mapping out cases of book banning in the United States to understand how the political climate of a state might influence the banning of texts. He is also interested in evaluating how educators respond to texts being removed from classrooms and library shelves.