Hi there! I’m Kimberly Hirsh and my favorite thing is helping people learn about the stuff that excites them. I also love learning new things myself and sharing how I do it and what I learn.
Right now I’m a doctoral student at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’m studying the Connected Learning framework and how libraries facilitate connected learning through interest-driven programs and resources, such as makerspaces, escape rooms, gaming events, and fandom support.
I’m the research assistant on Project READY, a federally-supported professional development program that helps school librarians and their colleagues ensure that their library programs meet the needs of students of color. I co-wrote the grant and created face-to-face professional development curriculum materials around culturally sustaining pedagogy. I’m currently adapting those materials for online delivery.
My whole career has focused on helping people learn. As a middle school librarian, I helped students investigate questions that mattered to them, create academic success for themselves, and find reading materials that illuminated the world around them. As a high school Latin teacher, I helped students understand the language and culture of an ancient civilization that still shapes their lives today. As managing editor of LEARN NC, I helped educators across North Carolina and the world find and implement innovative practices to enhance their students’ learning.
But who am I really?
I believe love needs to be central to everything we do. I’m a proud long-time resident of Durham, North Carolina. I’m an advocate for people with chronic illness, both physical and mental. I’m a (not so) secret goth. I’m the kind of person who wears fairy wings because I feel like it and has a collection of crowns and tiaras. I’m the winner of one Can’t Stop the Serenity Trivia Contest. If my soul were a TV show, it’d be a combination of GLOW and Difficult People. I love showtunes. I think producing theater and comedy is the best job I ever had that didn’t pay. My TV avatars are Liz Lemon, Annie Edison, Jess Day, and Amy Santiago. The predominant pop culture text in my life is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My favorite movie is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and it strongly informs my life philosophy. My go-to Dungeons and Dragons class is bard. If I were going to marry an inanimate object, it would be the chandelier from The Phantom of the Opera. I have a crush on the Fibonacci sequence, because of an episode of Square One, and on the Feejee Mermaid, because of an episode of The X-Files. I’m kind of always cosplaying as Wednesday Addams. When I have some time for leisure I spend it playing video or board games. I had to tell people to stop buying me mermaid-themed gifts because I was getting duplicates. I am searching for the perfect old-book-scent perfume. I identify as Ravenclaw, but Pottermore sorted me into Slytherin, and I kind of get it. Kitty Pryde is my favorite superhero. I appreciate a well-crafted pun like other people appreciate a fine wine. I often find glitter on my person without any idea how it got there. If I had to identify only one defining characteristic for myself, it would be that I care.
Photograph by Jackson Hall.