Amelia Gibson, Assistant Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), has received a Junior Faculty Development Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to help further her research in 2017. The competitive awards recognize and provide financial support to promising assistant and associate professors at UNC. Recipients are chosen by an interdisciplinary committee, currently chaired by UNC Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost James W. Dean Jr., and receive $7,500 over the course of one calendar year.
Gibson will use the award for her project titled, “Know That! Young Black Women and Personal Geographies of Information Seeking,” a youth participatory action research study exploring the health information needs and behaviors of young black women in the Durham, N.C. area. The study will examine intersections of gender, race, and environment, and their combined role in the construction of personal and public geographies of information seeking among young black women.
Earlier this fall, Gibson received support for the project through the Eleanor M. and Frederick G. Kilgour Research Grant Award. The study is intended to serve both as an examination and a validation of diverse ways of knowing, information seeking, and being in information spaces (such as the library) engaged by a group that is often marginalized in librarianship.
“For many young black women, information seeking is, like other behaviors, negotiated among conflicting needs, resources, and socially imposed limitations,” Gibson said. “Often, their ways of knowing and seeking are not acknowledged as valuable or ‘correct’ in discussions on information literacy and poverty.”
Specifically, the project will seek to answer how and where young black women seek information about their own well-being, including personal health, personal safety, and environmental health issues.