Joan Bessman Taylor, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, School Library Studies & Coordinator, School Library Studies Graduate Program
(319) 273-2192

611 Schindler
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0606

Dr. Joan Bessman Taylor has been a library educator for 15 years and a literacy teacher even longer. Prior to joining the School Library Studies program at UNI as an associate professor, she was faculty in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa. There she educated library professionals entering various information contexts: school, public, academic and special libraries as well as strictly virtual environments. While a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, she helped create an initial licensure program allowing students to pursue an MLS in Library and Information Science and K-12 teacher licensure concurrently.  She then served as its Program Coordinator supervising student teachers in the library, developing curriculum, and navigating the ever-changing requirements from the Board of Education.  Before becoming a librarian, she was a residential faculty member at the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science living and working with high school students and also a middle school language arts teacher.

Taylor has served on statewide committees in Illinois and Iowa devoted to developing criteria for teacher librarian licensure and establishing best practices for the profession.  She is particularly interested in library and literacy advocacy, as seen in her service on the Advisory Committee for the State Library of Iowa’s Center for the Book and as a volunteer facilitator for a men’s book group in an Iowa prison.  She has published both articles and book chapters on social reading practices and presented at international, national and state conferences.

Courses Taught: 

Administration of the School Library Program
Library Resources for Young Adults
Research in Library and Information Science
Technologies for Libraries

Research Interests: 

The Social Dimensions of Reading
Reading Engagement
Evolution of Concepts of Intellectual Freedom
Catalysts and Barriers to Recreational Reading
Readers Advisory
School Librarians as Literacy Leaders

Selected Publications: 

Taylor, Joan Bessman. (2013). “Locating the Library in the Non-Library Censorship of the 1950’s: Ideological Negotiations in the Professional Record”. In The Library and the Reading Public in Twentieth Century America. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press): 168-184.

Taylor, Joan Bessman. (2012). “Producing Meaning through Interaction: Book Groups and the Social Context of Reading”. In From Codex to Hypertext: Reading at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century. Edited by Anouk Lang. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press): 142-158.

Taylor, Joan Bessman. (2008). With Andrew Smith. “Book Groups.” Chapter 6. Research-Based Readers’ Advisory. Edited by Jessica E. Moyer. (Chicago: ALA Editions): 111-133.

Taylor, Joan Bessman. (2007). “Good for What? Non-appeal, Discussibility, and Book Groups (Part One),” Reference and User Services Quarterly 47: 33-36.

Taylor, Joan Bessman. (2007). “Good for What? Non-appeal, Discussibility, and Book Groups (Part Two),” Reference and User Services Quarterly 48: 27-31.

Professional Affiliations: 

American Library Association
Iowa Library Association
American Association of School Librarians
Iowa Association of School Librarians
Young Adult Library Services Association
Association for Library Services to Children


B.A. English -- Spring Hill College
M.Ed. Secondary Education -- University of South Alabama
M.L.I.S. Library and Information Science -- University of Southern Mississippi
Ph.D. Library and Information Science -- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign