FIMS Profile

Amber Matthews

  • About Me

  • Publications

  • Service

  • Awards

I am a Library and Information Science (LIS) doctoral candidate and hold a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship (Doctoral). In addition to my doctoral work, I designed and teach LIS 9160 - Antiracism in Library and Information Science (information here). This course will be offered next in the Summer 2023 term for students in the Master of Library and Information Science program.

My study is an urgent inquiry into new forms of community-based services for Black youth in Canadian public libraries. Broadly, this research asks how public libraries can engage with practice-based approaches found in other youth services (e.g., community, sports, and employment and training) to re-envision service delivery. It answers the need for Canadian-centric research that engages in community partnership to address pertinent social issues facing Black youth and aims to enhance capacity through collaboration, promote early interventions for youth, and identify strategies to combat exclusion in social services. 

Prior to returning to scholarly research, I had a nine year career in fundraising and community development. I worked for several large charities including hospital foundations, children’s and youth rehabilitation and treatment centres, and a shelter for abused women and children. With increasingly senior roles and responsibilities, I worked collaboratively with communities to help raise over $70 million in program and capital funding and made tangible improvements to non-profit organizations, healthcare, and community services in Canada and abroad. As a complement to my scholarly work, I have also facilitated education and literacy programs for equity-deserving children and youth through a community-led partnership with community agencies in the London area. 

To date, my work has appeared in Directions Journal published by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Canadian Journal for Information and Library Science, Partnership Journal, Education for Information, and Open Shelf Magazine. My work has received awards from the Canadian Association for Information Science (Best Paper and Best Student Paper - 2021), the Library Research Round Table of the American Library Association, and funding from the Ontario Library Association. Read more about my research here

Forthcoming Work 

Book Chapter 
Matthews, A., & Thomas, S. (2023 forthcoming). Anti-Racism in Practice: The Development of a Black Community Public Library in Canada. In KC Williams-Cockfield & Bharat Mehra (Eds.), How Public Libraries Build Sustainable Communities in the 21st Century. Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing Limited.
 
Refereed Research 

Matthews, A. (2021).Reversing the gaze on race, social justice, and inclusion in public librarianshipEducation for Information37(2), 187–202.

Mongeon, P., Brown, A., Dhaliwal, R., Hill, J., & Matthews, A. (2021). A bibliometric analysis of race-related research in LIS. Education for Information, 37(2), 231–246. 

Matthews, A. (2021). Reading the silence: Canadian library responses to racial injustice. Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science, 44(1), 83-104. 
 
Matthews, A. (2020). Racialized youth in the public library: Systemic racism through a critical theory lensPartnership15(1), 1–17. (This article was invited for republication in the September 2020 issue of Directions Journal published by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.) 
 
Matthews, A., Bennett, G., Joian, M., & Brancatella, J. (2019). Indigenous young adult literatureEmerging Library & Information Perspectives2(1), 165-179. (Lead author).

 

Other Refereed Contributions

Matthews, A. (2021, June). Reading the silence: Canadian library responses to racial injusticePaper presented at the 2021 Canadian Association for Information Science Conference. Virtual Conference. (Awarded Student to CAIS/ACSI Award for Best Student Paper)

Mongeon, P., Brown, A., Dhaliwal, R., Hill, J., & Matthews, A. (2021). A bibliometric analysis of race-related research in LISPaper presented at the 2021 Canadian Association for Information Science Conference. Virtual Conference. (Awarded Best Paper).

Matthews, A. (2020, September). Diversity is not the answer: towards anti-racist praxis in LISPaper presented at the 2020 Canadian Association for Information Science Conference. Virtual Conference. 

Matthews, A. (2020, June). Surveillance in the Non-Profit Sector: The Case for Information as Property Law. Paper presented at the Association for Nonprofit and Social Economy Research Conference. Virtual Conference. 

Invited Talks 

Matthews, A. (2020). Advancing anti-racism in public libraries. Invited talk at the "Make Good Trouble" Now; Teach-In for Racial Equity. University of Buffalo. Buffalo, NY. 

Editorials 

Matthews, A. (2020, September 9). Part III: Antiracism in practice. Theory in practice: Moving from systemic racism to anti-racism in Ontario public libraries. Open Shelf: Magazine of the Ontario Library Association (OLA)

Matthews, A. (2020, June 4). Part II: Addressing systemic racism. Theory in practice: Moving from systemic racism to anti-racism in Ontario public libraries. Open Shelf: Magazine of the OLA.   

Matthews, A. (2020, April 6). Part I: Systemic racism in public libraries: Theory in practice: Moving from systemic racism to anti-racism in Ontario public libraries. Open Shelf: Magazine of the OLA. 

Other Contributions 

Matthews, A. (2020, January). Critical Approaches to Engagement with Racialized Youth in the Public Library. Paper presented in Mediations Lecture Series. Western University. London, ON. 

Matthews, A. (2019, September). Racialized Youth and the Public Library: Towards Equity in Public Library Practice. Public Lecture. September 25, 2019. Western University. London, ON. 

Matthews, A. (2019, March). Racialized Youth and the Public Library: A Critical Race Theory Approach to Program Utilization and Effectiveness. Poster presented at FIMULAW Interdisciplinary Conference. Western University. London, ON.

 

Faculty Service

  • Appointments Committee (2022 - present) 
  • President, LIS Doctoral Students Association (2020 to 2022) 
  • Member, FIMS Faculty Council (2020 to 2022)
  • Member, LIS Doctoral Program Committee (2020 to 2022)
  • Co-Chair, FIMS Doctoral Research Forum (2020)

 

Community Service 

  • Library Volunteer, Where We Are Now Black Community Center, (2022 – Present) 
  • Youth Mentor, Community Living Ontario (2020 to 2022) 
  • Breakfast Club, Neighbourhood Resource Association of Westminster Park (2021 to 2022)
  • Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, City of London (2019 to 2022)
  • Event Volunteer, Emancipation Day Celebration (2018 to 2020)
  • Board Member, Intercordia Canada (affiliated with L’Arche Canada) (2012 to 2016)
     

External Awards and Funding

  • Jesse H. Shera Award for the Support of Dissertation ResearchLibrary Research Round Table of the American Library Association, 2022
  • SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, 2021-2024, $105,000
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, 2021-2022, $15,000 (declined for SSHRC)
  • Research and Continuing Education Fund, Ontario Library Association, 2021, $2,000
  •  Ontario Graduate Scholarship, 2020-2021, $15,000
  • Dr. Janette Baker Scholarship, Ontario Library Association, 2018-2019, $2,500


Internal Awards

  • Christopher Mathew Dixon LIS Memorial Scholarship, FIMS, 2020, $1,400
  • Dean's Entrance Award, FIMS, 2019, $4,000


Conference Awards

  • Student to CAIS/ACSI Award, Canadian Association for Information Science, 2021, $1,000
  • Best Paper Award (jointly awarded with Philippe Mongeon, Alison Brown, Ratna Dhaliwal, and Jessie Hill), Canadian Association for Information Science, 2021