Naomi Woods: Serving communities through public librarianship
By Yasameen Kazemi
Naomi's hometown: Windsor, Ontario
Queen of the theatre and the community, Naomi Woods, 22, is pursuing her master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences at Western University.
Naomi’s passion for community started from a young age. As both of her parents were always heavily involved in community service, Naomi aspired to continue her parents’ legacy, but just did not know how to go about it.
After finishing her undergraduate degree in Drama in Education and the Community at the University of Windsor, Naomi was looking for a way to re-centre herself and get back in touch with her core values. When she learned of the opportunities for community work and co-op in the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at Western, Naomi knew it was the right program for her.
“I was drawn to library sciences because everybody deserves to learn to read. That sounds so obvious, but there are children—especially minority children—who are not getting served well enough by their communities, they just don’t have resources for them,” said Naomi.
With a vision of her dreams but no idea of how to realize them, Naomi could not have found the MLIS program, offered through the Faculty of Information & Media Studies, at a better time. Through the MLIS curriculum, Naomi has gained meaningful information about how libraries are serving the children in their schools, and about literacy rates in the community. It has also shown her where there are deficiencies.
“This program has whole classes I can take on services for different diverse populations—that is something I care about. I want these kids to be able to see kids like themselves in children’s books. The order of what you see most in children’s books is white children, animals and others, and then children of colour” says Naomi.
She is currently collecting squishmallows and has recently taken up crochet.
Recognizing this lack of representation led to her discovering a new passion for ensuring local libraries provide space and reading materials that are diverse and inclusive of all children.
Pursuing this goal allows Naomi to bridge her passion for theatre with her mission to improve local libraries. Theatre is a way to tell stories and give people a voice; it is important for people in the community to have access to these stories and other artistic outlets that resonate with their own self-expression. Both libraries and theatre enable people to get involved in telling a story, with library sciences concerned with how those stories are shared equitably, and how they are preserved.
In addition to finding ways to help children in her community, Naomi has also found her own sense of community within FIMS and with the students in the MLIS program. This is true despite all of her classes currently being taught virtually.
“I’m actually really surprised at how much group work I have still been able to do even though everything is online. There is such a diverse background for people. I got my undergrad in theatre; some of my other classmates have undergrad degrees in public health. You get to collaborate with people from different areas and I like that.”
Profiles in the Meet Our Students section are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.