Announcing the DPLAfest 2017 Travel Award Recipients

By DPLA, March 21, 2017.
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We are thrilled to officially introduce the five talented and diverse members of the extended DPLA community who will be attending DPLAfest 2017 in Chicago as recipients of the travel awards announced last month! We received a tremendous response to the call from many excellent members of our field and are grateful that in addition to the three travel awards initially announced, we are also able to welcome two members of the Greater Chicago cultural heritage community to the fest.

The selected awardees represent a broad cross-section of the DPLA community including graduate students and established professionals studying and working in public libraries, government institutions, and local colleges. Together, this group also serves diverse communities across the country, from Los Angeles to North Carolina.

Here are the folks to look for at DPLAfest:

Tommy Bui
Los Angeles Public Library

At the Los Angeles Public Library, Tommy Vinh Bui works to promote literacy and to bridge the information gap in his community. He encourages utilizing emerging technologies and guides stakeholders to become critical and self-aware consumers of information and teaches good information literacy. He holds an MLIS in Library and Information Science with an emphasis on Digital Assets Management. He previously worked with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the Art and Design Department organizing their image collection and served in the Peace Corps abroad. Tommy Vinh Bui is enthused to be attending the conference and avers, “Attending DPLAFest allows me an ideal opportunity to network and collaborate with like-minded professionals and peers who are passionate about digital public libraries and the increasingly significant role they’ll play in creating a verdant and informed society.”


Amanda Davis
Charlotte Mecklenberg Library

Amanda H. Davis is an Adult Services Librarian at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina. She received her MLIS from Valdosta State University and is a proud ALA Spectrum Scholar and ARL Career Enhancement Program Fellow. Her professional interests include diversity in LIS, public librarianship, community building, and creative writing. She is excited about attending DPLAfest because of her interest in making sure her city’s diverse perspectives are meaningfully and sustainably recorded.


Raquel Flores-Clemons
Chicago State University

Raquel Flores-Clemons is the University Archivist and Director of Archives, Records Management, and Special Collections at Chicago State University. In this role, she manages over thirty collections that reflect the history of CSU as well as capture the historical narratives of South Side communities of Chicago. Raquel maintains a deep commitment to capturing the historical narratives of communities of color and has a strong research interest in hip hop and its use as a platform for social justice and change, as well as the use of hip hop pedagogy to enhance information literacy. Raquel is interested in attending DPLAfest to share the unique archival collections and digital projects happening at Chicago State University, as well as to connect with and learn from other LIS professionals to expand collaboration and techniques in preserving historical materials through digital means. Raquel also looks forward to engaging with other professionals who are working to elevate unknown histories.


Valerie Hawkins
Prairie State College

Prior to her current position at Prairie State College, Valerie Hawkins served as Library Reference Specialist in the ALA (American Library Association) Library at its headquarters in downtown Chicago, answering most of the questions that came in to its reference desk, from member and non-member libraries as well as from the public, for nearly twenty years. Valerie was on the front lines of the transition within librarianship to electronic and online communications, publications, resources, and tools. Valerie is also deeply interested in pop culture, performing arts, and media representations of African American history. She writes, “It’s greatly informed my deliberate moves to increase the visibility of works by people of color and other marginalized communities, including the disabled and LGBTQ, in a public e-newsletter I curate called ‘Diverse Books and Media.’” Of her interest in attending DPLAfest, Valerie says, “The past, present, and future of librarianship is digital. Once materials are digitized, the work has actually just begun, not ended.” At DPLAfest, she looks forward to engaging in discussion around questions of organizing and providing maximal access to digital collections as well as user experiences.


Nicole Umayam
Digital Arizona Library

Nicole Umayam works as a content and metadata analyst for the Digital Arizona Library. She also works as a corps member of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance to engage tribal and rural community stakeholders in Arizona in increasing home and public broadband access and digital literacy skills. She worked previously with tribal communities in Oklahoma on various endangered language revitalization projects, including building a digital community language archive and training community members in using technology for language documentation. Nicole holds an MLIS and an MA in Applied Linguistic Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. Nicole says, “I am eager to attend DPLAfest to learn more about creating inclusive and culturally relevant metadata, increasing discoverability, and forging digital library partnerships. I hope to contribute to future efforts of providing equitable access to digitized cultural heritage resources for diverse communities.” Learn more about Nicole’s work at the Arizona Memory Project in this DPLAfest session.

Congratulations to all – we look forward to meeting you in Chicago next month!