What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?
I had an MLS (1996) degree from North Carolina Central University and BA (1991) and MA (1996) degrees in Political Studies from the American University of Beirut, where I worked as a library student assistant for eight years.
How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?
Immediately after I graduated from SILS in 2001, I started my academic career as Assistant Professor at the School of Information Science and Policy (currently Department of Information Studies) at the University at Albany, State University of New York. In 2004, I moved to the School of Library and Information Science (currently Department of Information & Library Science) at Indiana University Bloomington where I was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2008. Since 2009, I have been the University Librarian at the American University of Beirut.
In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?
Managing all five libraries of the American University of Beirut with an annual operating budget of $10,500,000 and over 90 full-time staff members and two dozen student assistants, serving over 8,500 students and 800 faculty distributed among six main colleges: medicine, arts & sciences, engineering, business, health sciences, agriculture and food sciences, and nursing.
What projects have gotten you most excited and/or what accomplishments have made you the proudest?
1) Attending and graduating from the American University of Beirut (the first or second Lebanese Kurd to attend and graduate from this University in its first 125 years)
2) Attending and graduating from North Carolina Central University (my parents gave me all of their savings to allow me to go to graduate school in the U.S.)
3) Attending and graduating from SILS with a PhD degree. It was a transformative achievement which paved the way for all of my subsequent accomplishments
4) My dissertation work at SILS which led to publishing two papers that can be considered classics in their respective areas:
Meho, L. I. (2006). E-Mail interviewing in qualitative research: A methodological discussion. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(10), 1284-1295.
Meho, L. I., & Tibbo, H. R. (2003). Modeling the information-seeking behavior of social scientists: Ellis's study revisited. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 54(6), 570-587.
5) The paper I published with Kiduk Yang (SILS'02). This is one of the most influential papers in the field of library and information science. This and the two papers mentioned above have been and continue to be frequently used as assigned readings in many courses worldwide
Meho, L. I., & Yang, K. (2007). Impact of data sources on citation counts and rankings of LIS faculty: Web of Science vs. Scopus and Google Scholar. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(13), 2105-2125.
6) Getting promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at Indiana University Bloomington
7) Becoming the University Librarian at the American University of Beirut and transforming the Library there into the "jewel" and "one of the success stories" of the institution and "changing it light years" from how it was before I took over
8) The development of a simplified, conveniently-accessible, enhanced, and value added version of Journal Citation Reports, the standard tool used worldwide for assessing journal quality
What were some of your best experiences at SILS?
1) The interview for admission into the PhD program. I did very well in the interview, but I was faced with two problems: I was told that I could be granted admission only if one of the SILS faculty members agreed to adopt me as her/his student, and that I needed to show evidence that I have 50% of what it cost to attend UNC as an out-of-state student. The only three SILS faculty I thought would make good and acceptable advisors happened to be members of the admission committee and were in the room interviewing me, including Helen Tibbo. For valid reasons, all three instantly declined to adopt me as their student and told me that I need to try to find another faculty. After the interview, I e-mailed saying that the only faculty I see myself working with was Helen. Two weeks later, I received the acceptance letter. As for the other problem, to make a long story short, it was only thanks to Duane Bogenschneider, Assistant Dean of SLIS at North Carolina Central University, that I was able to meet the University financial requirement. He called the International Office and faxed them a letter saying that he will support me financially, if needed.
2) After eight months into the program, I completely ran out of money and did not want to burden Duane about it. Also to make a long story short, Dean Barbara Moran, came to my rescue.
3) Working with my advisor, Dr. Helen Tibbo, first as a teaching assistant and later as a research assistant. She started and ignited my academic career.
4) Teaching and carrying out research at SILS, which polished me in both areas and allowed me to easily secure a job before graduating.
5) The requirement that all doctoral students at SILS take an education course (college teaching) before being allowed to teach.
6) Emphasis on research questions that make a difference and on publishing in high profile/quality journals and conferences
7) SILS quickly became like a family to me
What inspires or motivates you?
Challenges, being creative and innovative, and making a difference, as well as love, care, and respect for (1) the institution I work for; (2) the people I serve and work with; and (3) the people who pay my salary.
Is there any other information you would like to share, or any advice you would like to offer current or future SILS students?
Hard work pays off, stay focused, plan well, be involved, be creative but also reasonable, be ambitious, and finish the program as quickly as possible. SILS wants you to succeed and the faculty are your family for as long as you are there and even afterwards.