Describe your role as Researcher-in-Residence. Over the years, McMaster and HPL have worked together on several research projects. As the researcher-in-residence, I hope to ease the workload, co-ordinate and support research endeavours. I am currently working on developing a toolkit that will help public libraries navigate research partnerships with universities, colleges, hospitals, and non-profit organizations. Likewise, I am planning to survey public library workers in Canada about their perspectives and experiences with research. I also hope to help academics better work with and produce research that benefits public libraries.
Tell Us About You. I am a social science researcher with an interest in public space. I recently graduated from McMaster with a PhD in Health and Society. My doctoral research looked at the relationship between public religious art and public dialogues on homelessness. I did a case study around Timothy Schmalz’s sculpture, Homeless Jesus. I’m a big fan of public art, books, and hiking. During the pandemic, I also enjoyed learning about and experimenting with Zero-Waste cooking.
Best book you recently read. We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib.
Best University Memory: I loved getting to be a research assistant in the McMaster Department of Health, Aging and Society. In my third year of my Ph.D., I got a small grant to travel to Australia to do a project on how public libraries program for older adults.
Get Involved: Contribute to community learning. Check below for Research Opportunities with our partners.
What projects are you working on right now?
Social isolation is when someone has few close social relationships. Being socially isolated can have a negative effect on mental and physical health. It is a growing issue in Canadian communities. Drs. Nicole Dalmer, Meridith Griffin, James Gillett and HPL examine the ways public libraries can best support socially isolated older adults.
Emotional labour is when a person is expected to display a particular emotion despite the way they feel. Drs. Diana Singh and Marisa Young survey public library workers about their emotional labour experiences, how it affects their health, and how workplaces can support them.
Community-based, Experiential Education, and Sustainability – McMaster’s Academic Sustainability Programs Office provides students with community-based, and experiential learning opportunities related to sustainability. As a partner, HPL hosts projects where students can work with and learn from communities while applying their knowledge, skills, and abilities to contribute to a more sustainable environment and society. Learn more about the Program and related courses.
Mobility throughout life is important for wellbeing. McMaster researchers and HPL are working to improve the identification and assessment of early mobility limitations among older Canadians. In this study, 2,000 older adults in Hamilton will use a mobility tracker, such as a smart watch. HPL will help older adults learn more about this study and its results.
HPL, C3, and McMaster researchers are developing a mobile Makerspace. Like HPL’s bookmobile, it would travel through the city offering access to arts, technology, research, and gathering stories about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Digital literacy is the ability to use digital information and technology. It’s an important skill set to connect to family and friends, stay safe on the internet, gain access to information, and participate in the workforce. Drs. Brian Detlor, Tara LaRose, and Alexander Serenko explore how public libraries can best deliver and evaluate programs and initiatives to improve digital literacy.
Public libraries and universities/colleges have much to gain in partnering to conduct research. Drs. James Gillett and Kaitlin Wynia Baluk are exploring what research partnerships look like between public libraries and post-secondary schools in Canada. This study will identify research needs, strategically select university/college partners and develop research plans that benefit communities.