On August 1, Mai Xiong joined the staff of College Library as a new Diversity Resident Librarian. She will spend her first year at College Library, being introduced to the public service practices of the General Library System, before assuming a two-year placement based on her interests and the needs of campus libraries.
Mai recently completed her dual-degree MLIS/MA program in Women’s and Gender Studies at the UW-Milwaukee. She also earned bachelor’s degrees in history and Gender and Women’s Studies from UW-Madison. After graduating in 2012, Mai applied her skills to various contract jobs, including grant-writing, and only considered returning to school after her mentor suggested a career as a librarian. Upon reflection, she decided that pursuing a degree in this field would help her achieve her goal of empowering communities through access to information.
Mai is a 2014-2015 ALA Spectrum Scholar and a 2016-2018 ARL Diversity Scholar. Her research interests include feminist theory, Hmoob women, gender and sexuality, and Hmoob use of the library as it relates to the intersection of race, class, citizenship, and gender. One of the library fields Mai is most interested in exploring is the increasingly-contested role of scholarly communication. She says, “I’m really interested in helping marginalized groups reclaim their narratives and ensuring open access to information, especially as it relates to community empowerment. Libraries today need to stand with communities against powerful corporations who create barriers to sharing information.”
When asked, Kelli Hughes, who serves as the supervisor for this program, replied, “I am very pleased to welcome Mai to the College Library staff! We look forward to collaborating with Mai during her first year at College, supporting her as her role on campus expands throughout her residency, and seeing her meaningful contributions to our profession and the communities we serve in the years to come.”
Although Mai never expected to move back to Madison, she’s pleased to find herself again on campus. “There have been a lot of changes in the past five years,” she notes, “but it’s really nice to be back.” The staff of College Library feel a similar delight in having her join us. Welcome, Mai!