Alumnae/i Feature

Ashleigh Coren '14MS Selected as an Emerging Leader

The American Library Association selects Ashleigh as one of their 2018 Emerging Leaders!

Headshot of Ashleigh Coren

Ashleigh Coren ’14MS is the Special Collections Librarian for Teaching and Learning at University of Maryland College Park and was selected as an Emerging Leader by the American Library Association. We caught up with her to learn about her career thus far.

Tell us about the work you’ve done since graduating from the School of Library Science (SLIS). 

The three years after finishing the SLIS program were incredibly fruitful and essential to my growth as a professional. In that period, I served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer, worked briefly at Emerson College and completed a library residency program at West Virginia University(WVU). Through these experiences I learned how to develop positive and sustainable partnerships with educators, students, informational professionals and community members. I know now that I can create and manage successful projects while working with different personalities and needs.

Some of the projects I completed during this period include co-creating a technology literacy program for middle and high school students with AmeriCorp, co-coordinating WVU's first Open Access Week, and redesigning a three-credit online course on film and media literacy.

Have you always wanted to be a leader in the LIS field?

Absolutely not! It took me a while to understand that leadership is not just about having a title or having a certain kind of personality. It's all about impact, influence and reputation. 

How did SLIS prepare you for a leadership role? 

The general management course was a great introduction into different leadership styles and workplace culture. It forced me to think about what kind of organizational structure would be a good fit for my skills and personality. 

How did SLIS prepare you for the LIS profession?

There were a few classes that set the tone for the work I do now as a Teaching and Learning Librarian in special collections, though I had no idea at the time this would be my future position. LIS 403 "Evaluation of Information Services" was my introduction to assessment. The discussions on bias and historical empathy that I had in LIS 438 "Introduction to Archival Methods and Services" recur in the classes I currently teach. Out of all of my experiences, my job updating the Jobline and sorting through job descriptions for two years was probably the best introduction to the profession. It's how I learned about library residencies and professional organizations. I also became pretty decent at HTML!

What’s next for you? Any big projects on the horizon?

In Spring 2018 I co-developed the UMD LGBTQ Oral History project which captures the voices of students, faculty and staff across campus. This summer I'll be transcribing interviews and working with our electronic records archivist to add these interviews to our digital collections.

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