James ‘Jimi’ Wilson

Tell us a little about yourself

I am an adjunct Library and Information Studies instructor at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, where I teach three sections of Information Use in a Digital World (LIS 200), a writing intensive (WI) and General Reasoning & Discourse (GRD) hybrid classroom-online course for undergraduates that emphasizes research methods including use of internet and online-library resources, digital/personal information management (PIM), and research paper writing essentials.

I have also served as a digitization technician at Duke Divinity School Library at Duke University, where I created and curated the Asian Religions and Culture Digital Special Collection, and as paraprofessional library catalog processing specialist with the University of Florida libraries’ Florida Academic Repository (FLARE).

I am a U.S. Army Veteran and I hold a Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) from UNC-Greensboro (2017); a Master of Arts in Religion, Asian religions track, from the University of Florida (2008); a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy & Religion from UNC-Pembroke (2006); and a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication (journalism track) from UNC-Pembroke (2006).

What is your favorite book? What makes this book your favorite?

Fiction: W. Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge. My reading of Maugham’s 1944 novel came at a critical juncture when, living in poverty, I was finding my feet as a young man in his early twenties, much like the novel’s protagonist, Larry Darrell.

Non-Fiction: Dick Hebdige’s Subculture: The Meaning of Style. There are more thorough and readable subculture studies works, but Hebdige’s 1979 classic ethnographic survey still holds pride or place as my favorite, and my introduction to the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies.

What impact have book had on your life?

I am a voracious consumer of the written word in all of its forms. However, I prefer to focus not merely on books or even written words, but on information resources and library services in general, when discussing my advocacy of libraries. Books have had an enormous impact, but especially when considering the access to information that libraries have provided, I simply cannot fathom my life without them.

Describe your relationship with libraries.

Libraries were a lifeline for me growing up as an Army dependent–a ‘brat’ as we are known colloquially–and I cannot remember a time before my mother took me to military base/post and public libraries, beginning my love affair with Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon series before I was old enough to read. With every change of schools–and they were frequent–I immediately sought out my schools’ libraries and media centers, and by the time I was eight my mother introduced me to the library and special collections of her alma mater, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, where I first began dipping into the most age-appropriate works of sociology and the science books of Herbert S. Zim.

Nostalgia aside, I have long availed myself to the services of libraries military, public, and academic, and with the introduction of online services–use of which I instruct–my ability to access and use library resources has never been greater.

I am proud to now be in a position to formally advocate for libraries and their services.