FIMS Profile

Paulette Rothbauer (She/Her)
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

  • Courses Taught

  • 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.

Right now, I'm collaborating with Dr. Lynne McKechnie and Dr. Lucia Cediera Serantes on a research monograph, Reading Disrupted: Reimagining Libraries, Reading, and Communities in a Post-Pandemic World (under contract with Bloomsbury Libraries Unlimited). Two undergraduate students are working with us on this project over the summer as part of Western's Undergraduate Summer Research Internship program.

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 as we seek to shift the project to Western Libraries Special Collections. With prior funding from FIMS, Social Sciences.

I have been involved in facilitating the inaugural FIMS MLIS course “Introduction to Decolonizing and Indigenizing LIS”. 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 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, presented 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.


I work with doctoral colleagues in the Library & Information Science program who are conducting a variety of qualitative research projects. Current doctoral colleagues with whom I work as chief supervisor include Sodiq Onaolapo (co-supervisor, Dr. Heather Hill), Mark Ambrogio, Zana Coltman, and Belonwu Ezenwa. A list of dissertation projects that I have supervised is available on my profile.

Each year, I also supervise a number of MLIS student research projects. Hanna Dodd and I will be presenting some preliminary research from her qualitative study with online gaming communities at CAIS-ACSI 2024. This summer I'm working with Alicia Hois who is investigated the case of tarot cards as a kind of deep reading experience.


FIMS 9800 Introduction to Doctoral-Level Scholarship 2022 Winter , 2021 Fall , 2019 Fall FIMS 9810 Exploring Youth Studies Research 2014 Winter FIMS 9878 Human Information Practices 2021 Fall , 2021 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 9001 Perspectives on Library and Information Science 2023 Fall , 2022 Fall LIS 9003 Information Sources and Services 2024 Winter , 2023 Fall , 2023 Winter , 2022 Fall , 2021 Fall , 2021 Winter , 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 9370 Special Topic: Introduction to Indigenizing and Decolonizing LIS 2021 Winter LIS 9382 Reader Services in Libraries 2024 Winter , 2023 Winter , 2022 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

Matthews, Amber. Advancing Anti-Racism in Public Libraries for Black Youth in Canada
Phd in Library and Information Science, May 2024
Supervisor: Paulette Rothbauer
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