Lucy Santos Green started her career as a choir teacher in Texas, where she first recognized the power of school librarians to shape the futures of underserved youth. Today, armed with a Master of Library and Information Science, a Doctor of Education in instructional technology, and years of research and teaching experience, she is preparing to step into the role of president-elect of the Association for Library and Information Science Education.
ALISE is a national organization that brings together library and information science educators throughout the country, contributing immensely to pedagogy and creating a platform for LIS faculty members to collaborate on challenges facing the profession.
In the wake of the pandemic and social reawakening starting in 2020, Green is entering her role as ALISE president with a goal of diversifying and advancing the field of information science.
“My desire in stepping into this leadership spot is not to start something new — we have had some very good conversations, we have some really awesome plans in place,” she explains. “What I would very much like to do is step in and make sure we follow through.”
As Green says, her work isn’t about reinventing the wheel. The same drive to serve her community that led her from teaching music to becoming a school librarian has carried into the work she does at the university. She expects to see this translate into her role as president of ALISE as well.
“Here at the iSchool, much of the research we do is with populations that have been underserved … it’s a big priority for faculty here,” she says. “I think that’s one of the reasons I love being here so much, because the questions I’m asking, the work I’m doing, I’m not the only one who thinks that it’s important. It’s nice to know, walking into this position at ALISE, it’s a similar drive, a similar set of priorities.”
This year’s ALISE theme, Go Back and Get It: From One Narrative to Many, meshes with Green’s desire to make information science and librarianship more accessible as a professional pathway. LIS faculty and students will be invited to present research addressing how the history of library and information science impacts the field of LIS today, with a hope of sparking conversation and providing “a place for people to more strongly connect research with the way they practice.” Providing a platform for discussion has practical implications for participants in the organization; this opportunity to learn from other LIS educators strengthens their personal development across teaching and research.
Green isn’t the only LIS faculty member representing the University of South Carolina at ALISE. Monica Colón-Aguirre, an assistant professor of information science in the College of Information and Communications, serves as director of community building on ALISE’s Board of Directors. Colón-Aguirre, whose research explores information-seeking behaviors of Latinx Spanish-speaking communities, is excited to work alongside Green this year to bring greater visibility to the university as a prominent member of a national organization and to set an example for the iSchool’s students.
“One of our big goals is leadership,” Colón-Aguirre says. “We’re modeling leadership here; we’re not just asking our students to go out and be leaders of change… We’re doing it.”
That goal is something Green takes seriously. She considers herself as the next in a long line of LIS educators who work daily to make the profession more inclusive and representative by improving pedagogy and considering new perspectives. Green’s goals are not glamorous, easy fixes, but she is confident in the role she will play in building on the legacy started by past leaders of ALISE.
“Other people have done that work,” Green says. “Other people have pushed that rock forward a little bit. Now it’s my turn to step behind the rock and my turn to push it a little bit further.”