Meet our Staff: Johanna Jacobsen Kiciman

Picture of a woman with glasses and curly hair.
(Photo courtesy Johanna Jacobsen Kiciman).
  • What did you major in/are you majoring in at UWT? I didn’t attend UW Tacoma, but got my library and information science degree (MLIS) at the iSchool at UW Seattle.  My undergraduate degree in anthropology I earned from UC Berkeley, and I have a graduate degree from UPenn in Folklore and Folklife. I feel super fortunate to be supporting and collaborating with the UW Tacoma students now, and to learn more about this unique, strong, and beautiful community of learners.
  • What drew you to working in libraries?   Initially, if I am honest, I thought about spaces in the world where I feel content. It was easy for me to point to libraries and museums.  As I learned more, however, and began working in community college and college libraries, my love for libraries as spaces morphed into my love for libraries as sites for information literacy and learning. I relish my interactions with students, and really enjoy working with them on their awesome research projects.
  • What parts of your job are you most excited about?  I recently have discovered that creating exhibits and displays is something I’m super passionate about. I frame most of my work through a lens of equity and inclusion. Just as I strive to make sure our collections are diverse and representative, I think it is critical to have exhibits showcase our community. I’m very proud of the my LGBTQ display, a display on immigration, a display on indigenous voices, and a recent civil rights display for Black History Month.
  • Have you read anything good lately? Have I ever! Angie Thomas’ new novel On the Come Up is excellent (though I connected more with The Hate U Give, which we read with students and staff for last quarter’s Real Lit[erature] Book Club).  I’m a fantasy fan, and Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward was different and awesome (and featured a strong female protagonist, something that matters a great deal to me).
  • Any advice for UWT students? Believe in yourselves. The work you do now matters. Some assignments feel like hoops to jump through, but you will connect with an idea, a professor, a book, or a discipline, and you will find your passion and your career.  We are here to support you in any way we can!

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