The SILS Symposium on Information and Social Good is an annual mini-conference hosted at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina. Each year, SILS undergraduate and masters students present work related to information, data, knowledge, or technology AND ethics, justice, equity, or society. This mini-conference offers an opportunity for SILS students to come together to present work that exemplifies our values as a community, and to engage the wider fields of information, data, and library science through in-person and online discussion.
About the Organizers
Maggie Melo (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor at SILS. Her research specialization resides at the intersection of critical making and the development of equitable and inclusive STEM-rich learning spaces (e.g. makerspaces) in libraries. Her research is funded by an NSF CAREER Award entitled, “Equity in the Making: Investigating Spatial Arrangements of Makerspaces and Their Impact on Diverse User Populations.”
Dr. Melo is also a serial maker! She enjoys embedding circuits into things, additive and subtractive fabrication, dabbling with AI, digital world making, and more. She is deeply passionate about creating experiences like this and this. She is also the co-founder of the University of Arizona’s first makerspace, the iSpace (now CATalyst Studios) and the founder of the Women Techmakers Tucson Hackathon, the Southwest’s first women’s-only* hackathon.
Amelia Gibson (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professor at SILS. Her primary research interests focus on the ways that information and data are used by and against marginalized communities, with a focus on health and wellness in communities of color (particularly among women and girls) and among disabled people. Her work explores the ways we understand and replicate systemic information poverty, marginalization, and equity in local communities and on the internet, and how marginalized people survive and thrive in hostile information systems. She is the director of the Community Equity, Data and Information Lab (https://cedi.unc.edu/) at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Gibson is an affiliate with the Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies, a fellow with the UNC Center for Media Law & Policy, the Parr Center for Ethics, and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. She has also been a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar and the recipient of a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian IMLS Early Career grant from the U. S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Dianne Martin (she/her/hers) is an Adjunct faculty member at SILS (teaching ethics at the undergraduate and graduate levels), and professor emeritus of computer science from the George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science. Dr. Martin served as Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Computers and Society (SIGCAS) and led a national task force to develop the standards for teaching ethics in computer science. She is a Fellow of the ACM, and in 2005 she received the Association of Women in Computing Augusta Ada Lovelace Award, awarded nationally to an outstanding woman in the computer field. Dr. Martin received seven outstanding teaching awards from the GW Engineer’s Council as well as the university-wide GW Bender Teaching Award in 2005. She continues to teach courses in information and computer ethics and information policy.
Sandra Hughes-Hassell (she/her/hers) is a Professor at SILS. In her current research, Dr. Hughes-Hassell focuses on social justice issues in youth library services, diverse youth literature, and culturally responsive pedagogy. She has written and presented extensively on culturally relevant pedagogy, critical race theory, and the role of libraries in serving youth of color. Her most recent book is Libraries, Literacy, and African American Youth (Libraries Unlimited, 2017) which she co-edited with Pauletta B. Bracy and Casey H. Rawson. She has also been president of the Young Adult Library Services Association.
Laura March (she/her/hers) is a doctoral student and Asheim Fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Sciences. Laura is an instructional designer, trainer, and web developer with more than ten years of experience designing accessible online environments and teaching virtually. Prior to starting her PhD, Laura worked at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Office for Online Learning, American University‘s Center for Teaching, Research & Learning in Washington, D.C. and the Pennsylvania State University’s Education Technology Services. She received an MS in Art Education and an MEd in Instructional Systems. Her research interests include universal design (for learning and for the web), educational technology, digital and visual culture, and online learning. Laura enjoy painting friends and family in the style of famous works of art, trivia games, and eating far too much pizza.
The Symposium (as it is called around SILS) has taken place each year since 2017 (with the exception of 2020, because of the COVID pandemic).
Discussing diversity issues in academic isolation becomes an echo chamber if you don’t have a place to actively apply your learning. For that reason, in the Spring of 2017, students in INLS 584 (Information Ethics – graduate level), 384 (Information and Computer Ethics – undergraduate level), INLS 690-197 (Information Services in a Diverse Society), and INLS 739 (Information Services for Specific Populations) collaborated to host the 1st Annual SILS Symposium for Social Good. Topics included:
- Ethics of Confidential Communications
- Social Media and Digital Activism
- Barriers to Inclusive Public Library Service
- Libraries as a Platform for Activist Work by Youth
- Cultural Bias in Search Algorithms
- Virtual Private Networks in China
- Biopolitics, the State, and Health Information Access
The 2nd Annual SILS Symposium for Social Good in 2018 focused on social justice issues related to information and library science broadly. It featured poster presentations from students in 384 (Information and Computer Ethics – undergraduate level) and panel discussions from students in INLS 690-197 (Information Services in a Diverse Society).
The 2019 SILS Symposium for Social Good‘s theme was “Reflect. Reimagine. Rebuild.” SILS graduate and undergraduate students addressed advanced questions and problems related to current ethical and social justice issues that impact information science. Posters and panels focused on topics such as big data and public health, climate change and human rights, immigrant services in libraries, crypto currency, and toxic masculinity in librarianship. The 2019 Keynote Lecture was given by Meredith Clark.