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

  • Theses Supervised

I’ve been working around books and reading and libraries for over thirty years, longer if I were to consider my undergraduate degree in English from the University of Toronto. For a decade after that degree, I was a bookseller, working for independents, chains, used and new stores. I loved handselling books, learning about authors, consulting with publishers’ reps, and the camaraderie of the bookselling community, but I wasn’t making much of a dent in my student loans. When I was rejected for teacher’s college, I began casting about for something else. And like many, many people who come to do an MLIS degree, I knew some people who had already done one, and with their insights and encouragement I applied to Western’s MLIS graduate program. And the degree kind of blew my mind. Even all these years later, I’m struck by the intensity of the program (and I did it part-time), the depth and breadth of what I was able to learn, the people I’ve met, and just how perfectly I was able to find a place in this surprisingly interdisciplinary field of practice and scholarship. An aside: If you are considering the MLIS degree program at Western, I invite you to contact me. I’m happy to chat about it!

My primary research activities cohere around study of the meanings of reading from readers’ perspectives, considering the role that the everyday practice of reading takes up in people’s lives, in their memories, in the ways they imagine their futures. Libraries of all kinds (e.g., public, school, college and university, grassroots, personal) are caught up in everyday reading practices in ways that are often unexamined, sometimes even by readers themselves. So strong has been the emphasis on the books that the ecologies of access can be quite invisible. After various qualitative studies with readers, I’m thinking through the concept of “a love of books” with a consideration too, of how public libraries are implicated in that love. I wonder if this love holds out a radical potential for us to re-imagine libraries, librarianship, and LIS in ways that are more humane, more just.

I’m involved in some other great projects too:

It is a privilege to have been part of the amazing team working to digitize recorded episodes of Smoke Signals, the long-running Radio Western show by Dan Smoke and Mary Lou Smoke. The project has slowed down, however, work continues. With prior funding from FIMS, Social Sciences.

I have been involved in facilitating the inaugural FIMS MLIS course “Introduction to Decolonizing and Indigenizing LIS”. I’m lucky to be able to continue that work as part of a team that will work on a new curriculum project led by Danica Pawlick-Potts, LIS PhD candidate. This work has been supported by funding from FIMS, Western’s Centre for Teaching and Learning, and Western’s Office for Indigenous Initiatives.

For another current project, ""Palaces for the People: Mapping Public Libraries' Capacity for Social Connection and Inclusion", funded by a SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis grant, and with an international team of researchers and librarians led by Dr. Nicole Dalmer (McMaster) and with co-PI Dr. Pam McKenzie, and a great team of collaborators, we’ve mapping public libraries’ capacity to foster social connection and inclusion. The first report is available, and Kevin Oswald (LIS PhD student) and Eben Martin-Yeboah (HIS PhD candidate), who worked on the project with us, will be presenting a paper at the Canadian Association for Information Science 2023 annual conference.

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



Ridley, Michael. Folk Theories, Recommender Systems, and Human-Centered Explainable Artificial Intelligence (HCXAI)
Phd in Library and Information Science, December 2022
Supervisors: Jacquie Burkell and Paulette Rothbauer
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