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

  • Research

  • Courses Taught

  • Theses Supervised

I teach primarily in the graduate programs in Library and Information Science. I teach courses about information sources and services (the required "reference" course) and about teen/young adult library materials and literature. I developed a popular online elective on children's and teen services and have been teaching a seminar elective in the LIS doctoral program on Human Information Practices. 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: Amber Matthews, Mike Ridley, Jay Thompson, Greg Nightingale, and Sarah Cornwell. Previous PhD students include Dr. Nafiz Zaman Shuva, Dr. Davin Helkenberg, Dr. Lucia Cedeira Serantes and Dr. Kathleen Schreurs.

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 – a collaborative article with Dr. Nicole Dalmer has been recently published, and I’ve presented aspects of the case study to different audiences. During the Fall 2019 term, I will be conducting additional interviews with older adult readers. LIS PhD student, Amber Matthews will work with me on this project as an research assistant. Some selected works:

  • Rothbauer, Paulette M. and Nicole Dalmer. “Reading as a Lifeline among Ageing Readers: Findings from an Interpretive Case Study with Older Adults.” Library & Information Science Research, 40(3), 2018.
  • “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.
  • Rothbauer, Paulette. “Reading and Older Adults.” RA in a Day Symposium. Readers’ Advisory Committee, Ontario Public Library Association, Ontario Library Association, 7 November 2014.
  • Rothbauer, Paulette. “Reading Worlds of Older Adults.” Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2014, Panel on Researching the Reading Experience, Toronto, ON, 30 January 2014.
  • 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:

Smokes’ Archives Undergraduate Fellowship

This project is funded by FIMS and provides support to hire undergraduate students to assist in contextualizing 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

  • Serena Mendizabal (Undergraduate Fellow 2019)
  • Danica Pawlick-Potts (Graduate Research Assistant)
  • Co-investigators: Janice Forsyth, Marni Harrington, Heather Hill, Paulette Rothbauer

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.

  • 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)
  • 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. You can also follow me on Twitter @readingspaces.

FIMS 9800 Introduction to Doctoral-Level Scholarship 2019 Fall FIMS 9810 Exploring Youth Studies Research 2014 Winter LIS 566 Children's and Young Adult Literature 2003 Summer , 2002 Summer LIS 780 Special Topic: Youth, Information and Library Services 2008 Winter LIS 9003 Information Sources and Services 2019 Fall , 2019 Winter , 2018 Winter , 2017 Winter , 2016 Winter , 2015 Fall , 2014 Fall , 2013 Fall , 2012 Winter , 2011 Fall , 2011 Winter , 2010 Fall , 2009 Fall , 2008 Fall LIS 9363 Youth, Information and Library Services 2012 Winter , 2010 Fall , 2010 Winter , 2008 Fall LIS 9364 Young Adult Materials 2018 Fall , 2017 Fall , 2016 Fall , 2014 Fall , 2014 Winter , 2011 Fall , 2011 Winter , 2009 Fall , 2009 Winter LIS 9367 Services for Children and Young Adults 2019 Winter , 2018 Winter , 2017 Winter , 2016 Winter , 2015 Winter LIS 9500 Special Topic: Capstone Pilot 2017 Fall LIS 9878 Human Information Practices 2019 Fall , 2018 Fall , 2017 Fall , 2016 Fall MIT 026 Introduction to Information Retrieval 2008 Winter MIT 1700 FYI: Information & Its Contexts 2010 Winter , 2009 Winter

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