My name is Melissa Villa-Nicholas and I am a first year doctoral student at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I come from a community organizing background, doing volunteer and program coordinating for a few years at Habitat for Humanity and Public Counsel Law Center. I also have a M.A. in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University and a M.L.S from UW-Madison. After a few years of working in public and academic libraries, I am now looking forward to entering the field of academia with a critical eye toward librarianship.
I am interested in applying critical race and queer theory to librarianship. More specifically, I am looking at representations and anxieties around citizenship from and within library and information science. I am also interested in the history of Latin@s in libraries, intersections of race and gender in technology, and activism in print culture.
But back to citizenship in libraries, which is the big project that I'm committing the next four years of my life too. There are so many take off points for this topic that right now I'm juts exploring all of it. So here are some of the questions I'm exploring- who is 'in' and 'out' in citizenship on the social media of archives. How do LIS organizations use intellectual freedom to encourage U.S. exceptionalism? How do public libraries include or exclude people without citizenship documentation? What are the ways that librarianship continues 'multiculturalism' without critiquing racial inequalities?
I look forward to being a part of the HASTAC community. The digital world is often where my above questions play out, and I hope to partner with and learn from fellow scholars who are thinking through their own intersectional questions about hegemony and technology within their respective fields.