Merinda Kaye Hensley

Associate Professor/Digital Scholarship Liaison and Instruction Librarian

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Personal profile

Personal profile

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.

  • 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 60 unique titles each semester, reaching ~2400 students/year.
  • Undergraduate Research — Manage the dissemination of several departmental and interdisciplinary undergraduate research journals, coordinate the Image of Research competition for undergraduates, and serve on the OUR Faculty Advisory Board
  • Ethnography of the University Initiative, Executive Committee, 2015-; Co-Director, 2013-2015
  • LIS 590AE: Information Literacy and Instruction in Practice, Adjunct Professor, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014
  • IS 458: Instructional Strategies and Techniques for Information Professionals, Adjunct Professor, Fall 2018, Fall 2019

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.

Academic Service


Education/Academic qualification

Library and Information Science, MS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Politcal Science, BA, The University of Arizona


Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the expert's scholarly documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2006 2017

Beyond buttonology: Digital humanities, digital pedagogy, and the ACRL framework

Russell, J. E. & Hensley, M. K., Dec 1 2017, In : College and Research Libraries News. 78, 11, p. 588-600 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

organization of teaching

Digital scholarship as a learning center in the library: Building relationships and educational initiatives

Hensley, M. K. & Bell, S. J., Mar 1 2017, In : College and Research Libraries News. 78, 3, p. 155-158 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Image of Research: Celebrating and Sharing Undergraduate Work

Reed, M. & Hensley, M. K., 2017, Undergraduate Research and the Academic Librarian: Case Studies and Best Practices. Hensley, M. K. & Davis-Kahl, S. (eds.). Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, p. 157-172

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

best practice

What do undergraduate students know about scholarly communication? A mixed methods study

Riehle, C. F. & Hensley, M. K., Jan 1 2017, In : Portal. 17, 1, p. 145-178 34 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Undergraduate Research Journal Data, 2014-2015

Hensley, M. K. (Creator), Johnson, H. R. (Creator), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jul 13 2018