Dr. DeAnza Williams joined the iSchool this fall as part of the teaching faculty and will focus on youth services, public libraries, and leadership – areas many iSchool alumni eventually focus on in their careers. The iSchool is excited to add Dr. Williams’ expertise to the MA program! We asked her to share her background and plans for being part of the iSchool community.
Describe your professional and educational background.
I obtained my doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and examined young adult literature featuring African American male teen protagonists for my dissertation. I hold a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Marketing from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Before pursuing my doctorate, I was a teen services librarian, library manager, and area branch manager at the Nashville Public Library.
What are you excited to teach at the iSchool?
I am excited to teach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison overall and, specifically, to teach youth services courses. An interaction with a first grader in my community sparked my interest in working with youth in public libraries. A public library course assignment allowed me to recognize teenagers as a user population that needed more focus in public libraries. This knowledge and passion ultimately led to my first public library job as a teen librarian at a new library branch. I fondly reflect on building relationships with teens, programming and developing collections for teens, and creating an annual systemwide teen summer reading program in that role.
What advice do you have for students in the MA program?
Ask questions; be open to discovering new areas of interest as you learn more and take the opportunity to participate in professional organizations as a student member. Always continue to develop knowledge and skills because your professional development is your responsibility and investment in yourself.
What do you like best about Madison so far?
Friendly people willing to share their time, places to eat, visit, or tips as I prep for my first Madison winter. I look forward to exploring Madison’s museums, music scene, and the outdoors.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Fun fact about me: I worked for three years in intermodal rail transportation for the BNSF Railway in logistics, marketing, and equipment management.