FIMS Profile

Paulette Rothbauer
Associate Professor

FIMS & Nursing Building Room 4052
Phone: 519-661-2111 x88512

University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7
Fax: 519-661-3506

About Me

I teach MLIS9003 Information Sources & Services, and the LIS doctoral elective FIMS9878 Human Information Practices. I am slated to teach a course on Readers Advisory Services in 21/22, and to facilitate 9800 An Introduction to Doctoral Level Scholarship. I welcome inquiries about any of these courses.

In Winter 2021 Heather Hill, Marni Harrington, Danica Pawlick-Potts, and I facilitated the inaugural LIS9370 Introduction to Indigenizing and Decolonizing LIS on a course about Indigenous Issues in LIS. This course featured a number of Indigenous LIS experts. It was supported by the 2020 Fellowship in Teaching & Learning from the Centre for Teaching & Learning at Western.

I supervise a number of individual studies with MLIS and LIS doctoral students each year and work in varied supervisory roles with the following LIS PhD students and candidates: Joe Artinger, Amber Matthews, Mike Ridley, and Jay Thompson. Previous PhD students include Dr. Greg Nightingale, Dr. Nafiz Zaman Shuva, Dr. Davin Helkenberg, and Dr. Lucia Cedeira Serantes.

I welcome inquiries from MA students in Media Studies with research interests related to reading, readers, or publishing.

For the past fifteen years or so, I've been researching reading, identity, and libraries, looking at the practices of queer young women for one study, and those of rural and small town teens for another. I am curious (and passionate) about the roles that public libraries play (or can play) in terms of supporting personal and social identities, and feel like I could spend the rest of my career exploring this. While I maintain an active research interest in the reading practices of teens and young adults, my new research agenda has taken a turn to look more closely at the place of reading and libraries among older people (70 years +). I also continue to be interested in the public library as place.


Current Research:

I research reading, readers, and public libraries. My current research agenda seeks to understand the significance of both reading and library practices of older adults (people over 70 years of age). This work is ongoing – interviews with older adults are currently on hold due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Some selected publications:

  • Rothbauer, Paulette and Lucia Cedeira Serantes. "Reading Time: Exploring the Temporal Experiences of Reading." Journal of Documentation [forthcoming].
  • “Reading Still Matters” FIMS #PublicInterest Public Lecture, 16 October 2018 (with C.S. Ross and L. McKechnie). Landon Branch, London Public Library.
  • “A Case of Reading While Old: Information, Resistance, and Pleasure.” International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature. Biennial conference, Stavanger, Norway: 24-29 July 2018.
  • “Reading Among Older Adults: Resistance, Resilience and Pleasure.” London Public Library #FIMSPublicInterest public lecture, 27 March 2018.
  • interview with Chokroborty-Hoque, Aniruddho. “ ‘Old Friends’: Reading reflect key chapters in senior’s lives.” Western News, 19 April 2018.
  • Rothbauer, Paulette. “Seniors and books: How and why the elderly read.” CBC Radio One: Afternoon Drive, 28 March 2018. London, ON: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [7:02 minute interview]. Available at:

Sharing Research with a Broad Audience:

I am keen to share my research findings with a broad audience of interested readers, and together with Catherine Sheldrick Ross and Lynne McKechnie, I have shared research from all of my reading studies in:

  • Reading Matters: What the Research Reveals about Reading, Libraries, and Community (2006)
  • Reading Still Matters (2018), published by Libraries Unlimited.

We recently discussed our work in a two-part podcast too:

  • “FIMS So What? Why LIS Research Matters,” episode 1.1, “Reading still matters.” 9 October 2018. Podcast interview by Michael Ridley with Catherine Ross, Lynne McKechnie, Paulette Rothbauer. Available at:
  • "FIMS So What? Why LIS Research Matters, episode 1.6 “What do you first remember about reading?" 15 January 2019. Podcast interview by Michael Ridley, with Catherine Ross, Lynne McKechnie, Paulette Rothbauer.

Other Current Projects:

Smoke Signals Radio Show Digitization Proejct

Initial funding for this project was provided by FIMS and Social Sciences at Western and allowed us to hire undergraduate and graduate students to assist in organizing, transcribing and describing the textual and audio records related to Smoke Signals, a long-running CHRW show by First Nations radio producers, broadcasters, and hosts Dan Smoke and Mary Lou Smoke. The research team has included: Dan Smoke, Mary Lou Smoke, Serena Mendizabal (Undergraduate Fellow 2019), Danica Pawlick-Potts (Graduate Research Assistant), Amy Hadley (MLIS student), Janice Forsyth, Marni Harrington, Heather Hill, and Paulette Rothbauer.

  • Rothbauer, P., A. Hadley, Harrington, M., H. Hill, S. Mendizabal, D. Pawlick-Potts, D. Smoke, M. Smoke. The Smoke Signals Radio Show Archive Project: An Introduction. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 5(1): DOI: [forthcoming]
  • Harrington, M., H. Hill, S. Mendizabal, D. Pawlick-Potts, P. Rothbauer, D. Smoke, M. Smoke. Listening Together to a Smoke Signals Radio Show Transcript: Responsibility, Reciprocity, Relationships, and Community. Canadian Association for Professional Academic Librarians, 2020. [COVID cancelled]

Decolonizing LIS Curriculum


In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Report, and in particular, to the CFLA-FCAB Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s report, our team has been working on various dimensions of our MLIS curriculum. We aim to provide a space in our program for a serious and sustainable pedagogical response to recommendations on how to decolonize LIS. FIMS has generously provided support for this work by funding a year-long Graduate Research Assistantship, and by helping us to host a day-long consultation meeting with local First Nations library experts. Our team was awarded a 2020 Fellowship in Teaching Innovation Award from Western's Centre for Teaching & Learning to pilot a course for the MLIS program.

  • Danica Pawlick-Potts (GRA)
  • Marni Harrington, Heather Hill, Paulette Rothbauer

The “Love of Books” Trope in LIS Discourse, and Libraries as Sites of Desire

This project is funded by FIMS and work is currently underway that investigates MLIS students’ reasons for committing to study for an MLIS.

  • Sid Abdulahi (GRA), Nafiz Shuva (GRA)
  • Co-investigators: Marni Harrington, Paulette Rothbauer, Melissa Adler, Heather Hill

Methodological Research:

I maintain an interest in questions of method and methodology, especially around what counts as everyday or ordinary life, especially in LIS; how conceptualizations of youth matter in our research and practice; and issues related to interpretative and qualitative inquiry.

  • Kjell Ivar Skjerdingstad and Paulette Rothbauer. “Introduction.” Plotting the Reading Experience –Theory/Practice/Politics, edited by Paulette M. Rothbauer, Kjell Ivar Skjerdingstad, Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie and Knut Oterholm. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2016: 1-15.
  • Rothbauer, Paulette M. “Beyond a Signpost for Resistance: The Promise of Michel de Certeau’s Practices of Everyday Life for LIS Scholarship,” in Exploring the Social in LIS: Critical Theorists from Across the Disciplines, edited by Gloria J. Leckie, Lisa E. Given and John Buschman. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2010: 53-62.
  • Rothbauer, Paulette M. “Triangulation.” Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods, edited by Lisa Given. Sage, 2008.
  • Rothbauer, Paulette. “Imagining Today’s Young Adults in LIS: Moving Forward with Critical Youth Studies,” in Transforming Young Adult Services: A Reader for Our Age, 2nd ed., edited by Anthony Bernier, Neal-Schuman Publishers, forthcoming, 2020.
  • Rothbauer, Paulette. “Imagining Today’s Young Adults in LIS: Moving Forward with Critical Youth Studies,” in Transforming Young Adult Services: A Reader for Our Age, edited by Anthony Bernier, Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2013.
  • Rothbauer, Paulette. “Ideologies of Youth and Reading in Publicly Sanctioned Readings of Canadian Young Adult Literature.” Researching the Reading Experience Conference. Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Oslo, Norway, 11-12 June 2013. (refereed abstract)
  • Rothbauer, Paulette M. “The Practice of Everyday Life,” Theories of Information Behavior: A Researcher’s Guide, edited by Karen Fisher, Sanda Erdelez, and Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie. Medford, NJ: ASIST, Information Today, 2005: 284-288.

You can find a list of publications on my Google Scholar profile and in Western's institutional repository Scholarship@Western. Former students and new colleagues are welcome to connect with me via my LinkedIn profile.

Theses Supervised

Nightingale, Greg. The Public Library as Past Become Space
Phd in Library and Information Science, December 2020
Supervisors: Melissa Adler and Paulette Rothbauer
Shuva, Nafiz Zaman. Information, Employment, and Settlement of Immigrants: Exploring the Role of Information Behaviour in the Settlement of Bangladesh Immigrants in Canada
Phd in Library and Information Science, April 2020
Supervisor: Paulette Rothbauer
Helkenberg, Davin. Narratives of Sexuality in the Lives of Young Women Readers
Phd in Library and Information Science, August 2019
Supervisor: Paulette Rothbauer
Cedeira Serantes, Lucia. Young adults reflect on the experience of reading comics in contemporary society: Overcoming the commonplace and recognizing complexity
Phd in Library and Information Science, May 2014
Supervisors: Lynne McKechnie and Paulette Rothbauer
Baxter, Sarah. Watching High School: Representing Disempowerment on Teen Drama Television
Master of Arts in Media Studies, July 2012
Supervisor: Paulette Rothbauer