With the turn of the new year, the University of Iowa welcomed Dr. Lucy Santos Green as the next Director of the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). Dr. Green is the 2022 president-elect of the Association for Library and Information Science Education and comes to Iowa from the University of South Carolina where she was a professor in the School of Information Science. It was the culture and people that drew Dr. Green to the SLIS program.
“I really enjoy more of the fine arts pull, the humanities pull,” Dr. Green explains. “Iowa has a program that leans more that way, toward that kind of artistic aspect of librarianship. And so, it just was very attractive to me because that’s what I love about librarianship.”
Dr. Green joins Iowa in the wake of the SLIS accreditation process through the American Library Association, which takes place every seven years. While accreditation can be daunting for a department, Dr. Green views it as a way to learn about SLIS and settle into her new position.
“My biggest priority right now is using that accreditation process as a way to get to really know all of the nuts and bolts of the program,” says Dr. Green. “What can we build on and expand because we know we're doing it well, and how can we redirect our focus?”
One point of focus in Dr. Green’s work is positioning librarianship as a global endeavor. During her time at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Green chaired the International Association of School Librarianship Conference and Research Forum. Dr. Green addresses the importance of learning from different librarianship practices around the world.
“It's a tendency of any people, any human group, to believe the way they do things is the only way or the best way,” Dr. Green expresses. “The more that we can be in conversation with people outside of our spheres of familiarity, I think the better we become. People from different places, a lot of times share very similar struggles, but they are informed in the way they solve those struggles by their own contexts, their own resources.”
Alongside promoting international connections in librarianship, Dr. Green investigates the role of librarians as instructional designers and education partners. Her research centers ways that librarians can create and support inclusive teaching practices for marginalized populations, with a focus on LGBTQIA+ and first-generation immigrant students and communities.
“If you're a school librarian, how can you make sure that your programs and your collection and your services are helping all students in your school become academically successful—not just while they're at your school, but that they develop skills that help them continue to learn?”
Dr. Green elaborates, “If you're a public librarian, same question, how do you make sure that people in your community, no matter what neighborhood they're from, no matter what socio-economic group they are a part of, how do you make sure that they have what they need to feel welcomed and supported as a member of your community?”
Dr. Green recounts the impact her school librarian had on her experience in middle school after permanently emigrating from Brazil to the United States.
“I just remember seventh grade being a miserable, miserable year,” Dr. Green says. “And the librarian, the school librarian took me in. She had me in the library all the time. I could go in anytime to help her shelve, to help her work on stuff.”
Alongside the school librarian, Dr. Green identifies her choir teacher as the other person who made the biggest difference in her life. Before turning to library and information sciences, Dr. Green earned a degree in music education. Music continues to be an important part of Dr. Green’s life, and she is a member of The Cecilia Ensemble, a professional choral group. In 2015, The Cecilia Ensemble represented the United States at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.
Dr. Green describes the process of working with The Cecilia Ensemble whose members live all over the country. “We have about a week to learn the music, rehearse, get it ready to go, and perform.”
In addition to her passion for music, Dr. Green loves her two rescue dogs and is excited about the dog-friendly spaces that Iowa City offers. While Dr. Green is waiting on her husband to join her in Iowa City to begin in-depth exploring, she is enjoying being an Iowa City resident.
“I love that it's a smaller town. I really prefer smaller towns in general,” Dr. Green expresses. “I feel like you get to have all the perks of a big city, but none of the irritations of a big city and you still get to have that sense of close-knit community.”
After living in the South for most of her life, Dr. Green jokes that Iowa gives her the opportunity to finally wear her sweaters. Despite the novelty of winter in a place like Iowa, Dr. Green is accustomed to the process of relocating. Dr. Green recounts moving around a lot as a child and connects these experiences to the happiness she finds in meeting new people.
“Until I got married, I don't think I ever lived in a place for more than four years,” Dr. Green says. “So, I have come to really appreciate the process of making new friends. I'm always up for a tea or for lunch, for getting to know somebody, for hearing someone's story.”
Dr. Green’s story illustrates a passionate and dedicated educator and researcher committed to making an impact in the field of library and information science, and the Graduate College welcomes her to the University of Iowa and the Hawkeye community.