MLIS Advisory Board | Maryland's iSchool - College of Information Studies - Graduate Program - University Of Maryland

Information Studies

Graduate School

College of Communications

School of Information Systems and Management

MLIS Advisory Board

The College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, Maryland's iSchool, is pleased to announce the formation of the inaugural Advisory Board for the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program. The Board comprises 17 leaders and students in the information professions who will guide the future development of the iSchool’s MLIS program.

The context in which library, archive, and information professionals reside has changed significantly - and so too must the preparation that MLIS programs provide. As part of a year-long initiative with the iSchool’s community, the Board’s first task will be to engage in a strategic “re-envisioning the MLIS” discussion. "The University of Maryland’s iSchool is taking a leadership role in redefining MLIS education, and the new Advisory Board will be a key part of the process," says John Bertot, director of the MLIS program. “We cannot be more pleased to be able to work with such leaders in the field as we consider the future of MLIS programs in general and our program in particular.”

Serving three-year terms, the members of the Board will:

  • Provide insights on how the MLIS program can enhance the impact of its services on various stakeholder groups;
  • Provide advice and counsel on strategy, issues, and trends affecting the future of the MLIS Program;
  • Strengthen relationships with libraries, archives, industry, and other key information community partners;
  • Provide input for assessing the progress of the MLIS program;
  • Provide a vital link to the community of practice for faculty and students to facilitate research, inform teaching, and further develop public service skills;
  • Support the fundraising efforts to support the MLIS program; and
  • Identify the necessary entry-level skills, attitudes and knowledge competencies as well as performance levels for target occupations.

"This new Advisory Board is an exciting milestone in MLIS education at the iSchool," says Dean Jennifer Preece. "We are honored to be partnering with such a distinguished group of individuals within the information professions."


2014-2017 Advisory Board Members

  • Tahirah Akbar-Williams
    Education and Information Studies Librarian
    McKeldin Library, University of Maryland

    Tahirah Akbar-Williams is the Librarian for the College of Education and Information Studies at University of Maryland College Park and a Faculty Associate at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education. During her previous post at Johns Hopkins University, Tahirah performed a wide range of activities, including developing and integrating a credit bearing online Introduction to Research module for six programs; and another module Introduction to Doctoral Research for Hopkins’ new Ed.D. program within the School of Education. As Faculty Associate, she worked with faculty to redesign and later taught a core blended course, titled Culturally Responsible Education. Tahirah has taught Women’s Studies at The Ohio State University, volunteered to teach and build a library in South Africa and has been a guest lecturer in various courses. She has great experience in instruction, curriculum design, project management, and in creating strategic collaborations and partnerships with University stakeholders. Tahirah received an M. L. S. and a Master of Arts in African American & African Diaspora Studies from Indiana University Bloomington, plus a Master of Arts in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University.

    Tahirah has numerous presentations and several publications, and has been the recipient of a number of grants and awards, including ALA’s Emerging Leaders Award, the Spectrum Scholarship, and the Beta Phi Mu Honor Society- Harold Lancor Foreign Study Scholarship, among a few others. She recently published an article about leadership in College & Research Library News titled; In order to lead, you have to know what direction you are going. Tahirah serves on the ALA Emerging Leaders Subcommittee and the Training, Orientation, and Leadership Development (TOLD) Committee.

  • Brenda Anderson
    Elementary Integrated Curriculum Specialist
    Montgomery County Public Schools

    Brenda Anderson is currently an Elementary Integrated Curriculum Specialist at Montgomery County Public Schools. In this position, Anderson serves in a lead role to ensure that information and technology literacy skills are included in the district’s elementary curriculum by connecting information literacy with the Common Core State Standards for writing. Prior to her work in curriculum development, she served as an instructional specialist in the division of School Library Media Programs and was responsible for designing and delivering professional development to over 200 library media specialists who work in PreK - 12 schools in MCPS. She started her education career by spending 15 years as an elementary library media specialist for MCPS. Anderson is also an adjunct instructor for University of Maryland’s iSchool.

  • Jay Bansbach
    Program Specialist, School Libraries
    Instructional Technology and School Libraries
    Division of Curriculum, Assessment and Accountability
    Maryland State Department of Education

    As State Specialist, Jay oversees PreK-12 school library media programs in Maryland. Currently, he is coordinating the revision of The Standards for School Library Media Programs in Maryland, recently assisted with the incorporation of the state curriculum for school libraries into the new Maryland College and Career Ready Frameworks (Common Core) for English Language Arts, Literacy in History/Social Studies, Literacy in Science & Technical Subjects, and the STEM Standards of Practice. In addition, he provides technical assistance to local school systems and assists with professional development for Maryland school librarians. Jay works with representatives from local school districts, college and university school library media programs, and state and national organizations to promote information, media, and technology literacy education. Recent work has included development and formation of the Maryland Library Consortium (MLC) and in supporting the work of the MDK12 Digital Library Steering Committee to broaden access to digital content for schools statewide. In addition, he collaborates with the public library community here in Maryland to promote advocacy for school libraries and to help provide 24/7 access to instructional resources for students and teachers. Nationally, Jay most recently served as a Member-at-Large on the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Board (2010-12), as a member of the AASL Executive Committee (2011-12), and is the past-president of the National Association of State Educational Media Professionals (now the Council of State School Library Consultants) (2012). Locally, he serves on the Maryland Instructional Technology Advisory Council (MITAC), as the Region 2 representative (for MASL) to the AASL Affiliate Assembly, on the Maryland Library Association Legislative Panel, on the Maryland Library Leadership Institute Steering Committee, on the State Library Resource Center Commission, as a member of the Maryland Advisory Council on Libraries, and on the advisory for the Weinberg Library Project. Over the last 34+ years, Jay has been a school librarian, resource teacher, and multi-media production specialist with Anne Arundel County Public Schools and a former Adjunct Professor with both the Johns Hopkins University, Center for Technology in Education (CTE) Program and in the Technical Communications Program at Capitol College.

  • Sue Baughman
    Deputy Executive Director
    Association of Research Libraries

    Sue Baughman is the Deputy Executive Director of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Her responsibilities include promoting and facilitating the strategic development of ARL policies and programs. In addition, she engages in issue analysis and program development, and practical management and coordination of the Association, by working closely with the ARL Executive Director and Board of Directors. Prior to joining ARL in March 2010, Sue was Assistant Dean for Organizational Development at the University of Maryland Libraries, where she supported the development of individual staff, teams, and work groups, and the organization as a whole.

  • Valerie Gross
    President and CEO
    Howard County Public Library

    Valerie J. Gross, MM, MLS, JD, has served as President & CEO of Howard County Library System (HCLS) in Maryland since 2001. She takes pride in HCLS’ unparalleled curriculum, which has earned HCLS the prestigious status of best library system in North America from the continent's 21,000 public and academic library systems (2013 Library of the Year, Gale/Library Journal).

    For this distinguished achievement, she credits the extraordinary HCLS team of educators and support staff who continue to raise the bar for excellence; and the unsurpassed support of the HCLS Board of Trustees, County Executive, County Council, State Legislators, Friends of Howard County Library, philanthropic partners, volunteers, and the dynamic Howard County leaders and community.

    A passionate promoter of libraries, Gross has led the repositioning of HCLS as an educational institution, which has heightened respect, increased funding, and driven significant increases in annual usage statistics. In addition to leading HCLS to Library of the Year in 2013, Gross was honored by the Baltimore Sun as one of “50 Women to Watch: The most intriguing, powerful, and memorable personalities making an impact on the Baltimore region.” A frequent speaker, guest lecturer, and workshop leader, Gross has authored the book Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage. She received the Public Libraries Best Feature Article Award in 2012 and 2010, and was honored as a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2004.

    An educator and attorney for nearly 30 years, Gross holds a Master of Music from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a Master of Library Science from San Jose State University, and a law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law. She chairs the Choose Civility Board of Advisors and HiTech Board of Advisors, and serves on the University of Maryland's iSchool Advisory Committee, Maryland Library Association’s Legislative Advisory Panel, the Howard County Public School System’s District Planning Team, and Columbia Cultural Master Plan Advisory Committee. She has also served on the Board of Directors of Leadership Howard County, Howard County Arts Council, and Vision Howard County. She is a member of the American Library Association, Public Library Association, Maryland Library Association, Leadership Howard County, and California Bar Association.

    Ms. Gross grew up in Switzerland and has taught English in China. She and her husband, Tri Q. Nguyen, a classical guitarist and real estate investor, live in Columbia, Maryland. Their son, David, a tennis pro and University of Maryland graduate in pre-med, works at the National Institutes of Health.

  • Lucy Holman
    Director, Langsdale Library
    University of Baltimore

    Lucy Holman has served as the Director of Langsdale Library at University of Baltimore since 2008. Prior to her current role at Langsdale, Holman was Associate Director at Langsdale Library, Dean of Library and Instructional Resources at Harford Community College, and a former president of the Maryland Library Assocation. She is currently chair of the University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions (USMAI) library consortium.

  • Naomi House
    I Need a Library Job (INALJ)

    Naomi is the founder of INALJ (I Need a Library Job), which has had over 6,000,000 page views at in under three years and has helped over 1,580 librarians and info pros find jobs. For her work at INALJ, Naomi was named a 2013 Library Journal Mover and Shaker. When she’s not working on INALJ, she is active in SLA, ALA, Women in Technology and 85 Broads.

    Her full biography can be found here:

  • Alan Inouye
    Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) American Library Association

    Alan S. Inouye joined ALA in 2007 as the Director of the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). In addition to overseeing the efforts of the Office, Dr. Inouye also serves as the Program Manager for ALA’s Digital Content Initiative. From 2004 to 2007, Dr. Inouye served as the Coordinator of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) and the Coordinator of the Information Technology Subcommittee of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), both in the Executive Office of the President. At PITAC and PCAST, he oversaw the development of Leadership Under Challenge: Information Technology R&D in a Competitive World, Computational Science: Ensuring America's Competitiveness, and Cyber Security: A Crisis in Prioritization.

    From 1997 to 2004, Alan served as a study director at the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) of the National Research Council. In 2003, Dr. Inouye served as interim director of the Board. Alan’s CSTB portfolio included a diverse range of projects at the intersection of information technology and the social sciences. A number of his major studies culminated in book-length reports; three of these are LC21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress, The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age, and Beyond Productivity: Information Technology, Innovation, and Creativity.

    Dr. Inouye began his career in the computer industry in Silicon Valley. He worked as a computer programmer for Atari, a statistician for Verbatim, and a manager of information systems for Amdahl (now Fujitsu). After his years in the private sector, Alan returned to school full-time to earn his Ph.D. in library and information studies at the University of California at Berkeley. In addition, he has earned degrees in mathematics, social sciences and education, management and finance, systems engineering, and information systems. In addition, Alan completed graduate study in government at Johns Hopkins University. Over the years, Alan has served as a volunteer in a variety of roles such as literacy tutor, alumni club president, career mentor, intern mentor, and database consultant.

  • Erica Karmes Jesonis
    Chief Librarian for Information Management
    Cecil County Public Library

    Erica is the eBranch Manager and Graphic Designer at Cecil County Public Library.  She is the developer and current chair of the Maryland Library Association Social Media User Group (SMUG).  She regularly presents on social media, digital marketing, web trends and graphic design.  Erica was also a 2012 Library Journal Mover and Shaker and her design work has been honored by the American Library Association.

  • Irene Padilla
    Assistant State Superintendent for Library Development and Services
    Maryland State Department of Education

    Irene Padilla, Assistant State Superintendent for Library Development and Services, Maryland State Department of Education, oversees the Division of Library Development and Services. Also known as Maryland’s State Librarian, she is responsible for administering state and federal programs to improve library services in 24 public library systems in the state of Maryland, the State Library Resource Center (SLRC), Sailor and the Regional Resource Center programs. She also oversees the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH).

    Irene’s vision of providing leadership and guidance for the development of collaborations across multi-type libraries has helped develop dialogue and partnerships within the library community to sharpen and prioritize shared challenges, increase the potential for expanded resource sharing and to build the case for supporting Maryland libraries.

    Her notable accomplishments as Maryland State Librarian include securing a state contract to provide NFB-NEWSLINE, a service that provides 24/7 access via telephone and electronic devices to over three hundred newspapers and over 40 magazines free of charge to patrons of the Maryland Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, spearheading the development of the Statewide MPOWER Library Card, the Maryland Public Library Survey, the Library Associate Training Institute, AskUsNow! Maryland’s online 24/7 reference service, the Maryland Library Consortium and the Gates Grant Programs that have brought well over $1 million to the State for computers, Internet access, and technical training.

    | Ms. Padilla served as the Director of the Harford County Public Library System from August 1994 – June 2002. In that capacity, she led the system through a period of rapid growth. Prior to becoming director of the Harford system, she served as Deputy Director from April 1990 to August 1994. She has also worked for libraries in Virginia and Michigan. Irene has a B.A. and an M.L.S. from Western Michigan University. She also holds an M.P.A. from George Mason University. She has a strong understanding of the issues faced in academic, school, public, and regional libraries.

  • Katherine Simpson
    Director of Strategy and Communication American University Library

    Katherine is the Director of Strategy and Communication at the American University Library, where she coordinates strategic planning, assessment, and marketing. She has previously served as the Associate Director for Organizational Development, and in various public services roles. Katherine has presented at a variety of conferences on strategic and space planning, and presented at the American Library Association Annual Conference on talent management, She holds a MS in Human Resource Management from American University.

  • Lissa Snyders
    MLS Alumna - 2015
    University of Maryland iSchool

    Lissa Snyders is a recent alumna of the MLS program, class of 2015. As part of the 2013-2015 eGovernment cohort, she is interested in emerging technologies, digital stewardship, and maximizing public access to government resources and information. Lissa currently works full-time as an Academic Advisor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Undergraduate Office at UMD. She also serves as President of the executive board for UMD’s student chapter of the American Library Association. Lissa was selected as UMD's Student to Staff recipient for the 2014 ALA annual conference, completed an internship with the National Library of Medicine in Spring 2014, and has previous experience working with a non-profit organization in East Africa.

  • Maureen Sullivan
    Immediate Past President
    American Library Association

    Maureen Sullivan is the immediate past president (2012-2013) of the American Library Association. She is an organization development consultant whose practice focuses on the delivery of consulting and training services to libraries and other information organizations. She has more than twenty five years of experience as a consultant on organization development, strategic planning, leadership development, introducing and managing organizational change, organization and work redesign, establishment of staff development and learning programs for today's workplace, creating a work environment that supports diversity, revision of position classification and compensation systems, and the identification and development of competencies. Her experience includes twelve years as the human resources administrator in the libraries at the University of Maryland (1977-1980) and Yale University (1983-1991). She has had a long association with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and was instrumental in the design and delivery of several of ARL's management training programs. She received her B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Maryland in 1974 and her M.A. degree in Library Science from the University of Maryland in 1976.

  • Joe Thompson
    Senior Administrator, Public Services
    Harford County Public Library

    Joe Thompson currently serves as Senior Administrator, Public Services at the Harford County Public Library. He previously served as the Associate Director for the Western Maryland Regional Library where he provided support for the public libraries across Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Prior to that he was a librarian at Baltimore County Public Library and was the first coordinator of the state’s 24/7 online information service, Maryland AskUsNow!, a project that was launched in 2001 by Harford County Public Library and Baltimore County Public Library. Thompson is also the incoming president of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association.

  • Courtney Tribble
    MLS Student
    College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

    Courtney Tribble joined the University of Maryland's iSchool with aspirations to teach through an academic library. She currently teaches English Composition and Literature at Howard Community College and has taught in higher education for eight years. Ultimately, she would like to advocate for and implement reform in undergraduate curriculum's to include credit courses in information literacy as part of general education requirements.



    Past Advisory Board Members

    • Pat Steele, Dean of Libraries, University of Maryland (retired) - 2014-2015
    • Paul Wester, Director, National Agriculture Library - 2014-2015
    • R. Joseph Anderson, Director Niels Bohr Library and Archives (retired) - 2014-2015