Merinda Kaye Hensley

Assistant Professor, University Library

Digital Scholarship Liaison and Instruction Librarian

My passion as an academic librarian is to create effective learning experiences for researchers at all stages of inquiry that enhances their advanced research and information management skills.

  • Digital Scholarship Liaison — Leads the planning and implementation of new and existing services in the Scholarly Commons that support digitally-enriched scholarship, based on current best practices and scholar needs. 
    • Develops partnerships with faculty, research groups, and units around courses or research methods, integrating Scholarly Commons resources and services into research and/or teaching. 
    • Assesses Scholarly Commons partnership programs, working collaboratively with the Head of the Scholarly Commons and with partners.
    • Engages technologies emerging as critical to research and teaching to meet the evolving needs of faculty, students, and staff. 
    • Leads Scholarly Commons and Office of Research educational initiatives and instructional programs that focus on digital scholarship resources, methods and services.
  • Savvy Researcher — Coordinate a suite of open workshops that includes over 50 unique titles each semester, reaching ~1500 students/year.
  • Undergraduate Research — Manage the dissemination of several departmental and interdisciplinary undergraduate research journals, coordinate the Image of Research competition for undergraduates, contribute to "Undergraduate Research at Illinois" (a co-authored blog with the Office of Undergraduate Research), and serve on the OUR Faculty Advisory Board
  • Ethnography of the University Initiative, Co-Director
  • LIS 590AE: Information Literacy and Instruction in Practice, Adjunct Professor 2012, 2013, 2014)


Web Site

Curriculum Vitae


M.S., Library and Information Science. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL. 2006.

B.A., Political Science, Environmental Policy. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. 1998.

Research Interests

Librarians teach students critical thinking skills that translate into a lifelong ability in finding, evaluating, using, and ethically sharing information, but we also help them understand their rights and roles in creating and sharing new information. During my time in the classroom and throughout my research, however, I have noticed the intricacies of publication and dissemination are a mystery to our students, undergraduates in particular. As an instruction librarian, I investigate emerging methodologies for how the library can extend its information literacy mission into new areas, especially the librarian’s pedagogical contribution and the factors that influence the decisions students make as creators of new knowledge. I also articulate best practices in providing context for students at all levels in understanding scholarly communication, a process through which scholarly work is created, evaluated by the academic community, disseminated through presentations and writings, and perhaps most importantly, preserved for future use. My research contributes new discoveries to teaching and learning for librarianship, further enhancing how libraries support students as they self-identify as scholars including preparing academic librarians to lead this transition.

Web Projects

Professional Service

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