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

I'm a member of the Faculty of Information & Media Studies at Western where 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 offer 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: Nafiz Zaman Shuva, Davin Helkenberg, Mike Ridley, Jay Thompson, and Greg Nightingale. Previous PhD students include Dr. Lucia Cedeira Serantes and Dr. Kathleen Schreurs.

In Winter 2019 I am teaching LIS9003 Information Sources & Services (F2F) and LIS9367 Children and Youth Services (by distance).

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 (often referred to as "the elderly," "seniors", or "retirees"). I also continue to be interested in the public library as place.

Current Research:
I have been researching reading, readers, and public libraries for nearly twenty years. My current research agenda seeks to understand the significance of both reading and library practices of older adults (people over 75 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. 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
        • Danica Pawlick-Potts (GRA)
        • 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 spring 2019.
              • 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.