Librarian Kim MacVaugh is new to the Schar School of Policy and Government, but her efforts to improve information literacy can already be seen in the library and the classroom.
As the new semester kicks off, MacVaugh is determined to educate students and faculty—many of whom might not know there is a dedicated policy and government librarian—on the vast resources offered through Mason’s library system. (A list of services can be found here.)
New initiatives at the Schar School library program include:
- A weekly “write-in” session for graduate students on the Arlington Campus who need dedicated time to write dissertations, proposals, theses, and other projects. The sessions take place in the Van Metre Hall Library Study Room; appointments can be made at this site.
- On October 4, MacVaugh has arranged a field trip to the Library of Congress for a tour of the largest library in the world. The tour, which will include details as to how to conduct research there, is free but registration is required at this site.
- On October 10 at 1 p.m., MacVaugh will host a 90-minute Undergraduate Policy Research Workshop to provide information on the multitude of databases and policy sources that can elevate scholarship. Information about the WebEx session is at this site.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Politics, with two minors (Peace and Conflict Studies and Theology), MacVaugh worked at an international non-government organization in Bethlehem on the West Bank, for a year. However, her passion for education led her to the Washington, D.C., area for a master’s degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown University.
“I was working on my master’s during the Arab Spring,” she said. “It was fascinating to see the theory behind Arab studies be broken down and reexamined throughout my degree.”
Her professional career led her to Capitol Hill, where she worked in foreign policy, lobbying for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobbying group. Later, she worked in publishing, focusing on Middle East and international affairs.
“I realized that what I really wanted was to work in academia,” she said. She earned her Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina before beginning at the Schar School this year.
“I was attracted to this position because I was hoping to find work in the D.C. area,” she explained. “Plus, Mason is the largest research institution in Virginia. I love that the school is young, so people are not afraid to try new things.”
MacVaugh is interested in researching the political science aspects of improving information literacy. “Many stories go viral before any fact-checking,” she said. “It’s very difficult to wade through the fake news on the internet and through social media.”
Additionally, MacVaugh is looking forward to finding ways to match teaching with the goals of the political science field. “The library offers a ton of subscription databases,” she said. “Schar School students are data-minded, so I would like to assist professors and students in finding the best resources offered through the library.” She is available by appointment for one-on-one assistance; see this page to make an appointment.
Of course, as a librarian, she’s an avid reader. Her personal favorite genre of books are political thrillers and mysteries, and her most recent read was the spy saga Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews.
Her review: “An entertaining post-Cold War spy thriller trilogy by a former CIA officer with convincing detail and a narrative compelling enough to withstand any DMV commute.”