I’m Kimberly Hirsh, a doctoral student at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science.

The elevator pitch: I’m interested in libraries as sites of interest-driven, community-supported learning and development for teenagers.

The long version: I passionately believe that we learn and grow the most when we are actively engaged in caring about things. I believe this based on my own experiences as a performer, web head, fangirl, and crafter, and based on observations of my students when I was a school librarian and high school teacher. I also believe that libraries are natural places to foster this kind of learning and growth, as they can provide material resources (books, Internet access, tools, supplies, space) and social resources (community connections, mentors, events).

In my doctoral program, I have written about the things that interest me most at any given time. So far that has included makerspaces, tabletop roleplaying games, and improv comedy, as well as special education training for school librarians.

Next up: escape rooms. (Let me know if you want to work with me on that.)

The thread running through each of these has been the way that caring about these things and engaging in these activities helps us forge our identities, a key part of growing up.

With that in mind, I’m planning on using my dissertation research to investigate how library-supported activities facilitate teens’ identity development. I’m still working out whether I will look at a variety of ways this happens or one particular type of program or setting.

About this site: This site serves as a combination of a professional portfolio and a personal blog. Because my professional and personal interests are intertwined, I choose not to separate the two. In addition to my research interests, you can expect to find writing about parenting, grad student life, dealing with chronic illness, productivity/organization, food, and all manner of geekery.


Photograph by Jackson Hall.