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UHD Librarian Bridget Dew poses with her “shelf help” book display on the fifth floor of the W. I. Dykes Library

UHD Librarian Bridget Dew works to expand book accessibility

By Diana Ambrosio

Meet one of our UHD librarians, Bridget Dew. Dew has been with UHD since March of 2020. She was an English teacher before becoming a librarian. She holds two master’s degrees, one in education and the other in library sciences.

Dew advocates for diversity and inclusion. In the library, she tries her best to make sure that the books are diverse and reflective of the student body. She stated that roughly 3% of librarians are minorities.

“If only 3% of us have the buying power, we are not represented.”

Dew would like for that to change. She recommends bibliotherapy. According to the New Yorker, “bibliotherapy is a broad term for the ancient practice of encouraging reading for therapeutic effect.” Having the ability to find a character that is relatable to oneself allows for some people to find a healing value.

Dew is motivated by giving the opportunity to help students see themselves represented in books, especially those provided by the UHD library.

She wants to provide access to books that you may not be able to find in other places because access is empowering.

“It’s all in how you market it and how you are rolling this out.”

For example, Dew imported many books from Arte Publico Press, located at the University of Houston. Arte Publico Press is the oldest and most accomplished publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors.

Providing access to the books of diverse authors, according to Dew, grants readers a medium to learn unfamiliar ideas and concepts about different cultures and backgrounds. Secondly, it makes reading relatable to people who share the same culture or similar background as the author.

The library staff started a new project that aims to catalogue every book to make books easier to find by keywords. For example, Dew explained that if a Black author wrote a book, the book might be cataloged as “African American voices.” If a Latin author writes a book, it would be cataloged as “Latin voices.”

Dew even asked students for their input on what is the best word to describe Latinos. Terms discussed included Latinx, Hispanic, Latin American, etc.

She understands that reading is a personal activity. Everyone has different tastes in things. She believes that no one can truly dislike reading, for it is just that a person has not found the appropriate book for themselves.

“When you’re just in between classes, and you don’t have something to do, grab a book,” Dew said.

Dew is also deeply knowledgeable about what it takes to become a librarian. She knows the ins and outs and would be more than happy to talk to people about the process and which schools are better for which reasons.

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Last updated 11/5/2021 6:20 AM