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Rafia Mirza


[Mirza, Rafia]
  • Librarian, Library

Professional Preparation

    • 1999 BA (magna cum laude) in Psychology with Departmental HonorsState University of New York at Buffalo
    • 1999 BA (magna cum laude) in English and American Studies with Departmental HonorsState University of New York at Buffalo
    • 2008 MSI in Library and Information ServicesUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    • 2006 PhD (ABD) in American StudiesUniversity of Minnesota, Minneapolis


    • Sept 2012 to Present Associate Librarian
      University of Texas at Arlington
    • Aug 2008 to Sept 2012 Assistant Librarian
      University of Texas at Arlington
    • Jan 2007 to Jan 2008 University Library Associate
      University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    • Jan 2006 to Jan 2008 University Library Associate
      University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    • June 2013 to Jan 2007 Intern
      University of Michigan
    • June 2013 to Jan 2005 Graduate mentor
      University of Minnesota, Minneapolis   The University Of Minnesota - Morehouse College/Atlanta System Undergraduate Honors Program in Global Issues
    • Jan 2003 to Jan 2005 Graduate Teaching Assistant
      University of Minnesota, Minneapolis


  • Membership
    • Jan 2011 to Present ACRL/ULS Committee on the Future of University Libraries
    • Jan 2009 to Present ACRL University Libraries Section
    • Jan 2009 to Present ACRL Instruction Section
    • Jan 2007 to Present American Library Association
    • Jan 2007 to Present Association of College and Research Libraries Division
    • Jan 2000 to Present Phi Beta Kappa
    • Jan 1999 to Present Golden Key
    • Jan 1996 to Present Phi Eta Sigma
    • Jan 2007 to Jan 2008 Michigan Library Association

Awards and Honors

    • May  2013 Public Services Associate: University Library Associate sponsored by University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    • May  2013 Applause Award sponsored by University of Texas at Arlington
    • Oct  2012 Customer Commitment Award sponsored by University of Texas at Arlington
    • May  1999 Outstanding Graduate in the American Studies Department sponsored by State University of New York at Buffalo

Other Activities


      Book Chapter 2011
      • Mirza, Rafia and Maura Seale. "Watchers, Punks and Dashing Heroes: Representations of Male Librarians in Generation X Mass Culture." The Generation X Librarian: Essays on Leadership, Technology, Pop Culture, Social Responsibility and Professional Identity. Eds.Martin Wallace, Rebecca Tolley-Stokes, and Erik S. Estep. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2011. 135-46. Print.
        {Book Chapter }


  • Past
      Speaker: "Social Networking at UTA Library"
      Presentation at the Phoenix Staff Development Day, Texas Women's University, Denton, TX, May 2011, with Jody Bailey. In this workshop, we will discuss how we at the UT Arlington Library started our social media presence a couple of years ago, how we formulated our social media guidelines for those who work in the library, and how our social media presence has expanded over time to now include Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Foursquare. We will also outline what has worked along with what has not worked, how weve dealt with problems, and other practical but important issues.
  • Past
      Speaker: "LibGuides, Videos, and Screencasting: Technologies to Enhance and Promote Digital Wisdom in Information Literacy Instruction"
      Presentation at the LOEX Annual Conference, Fort Worth, TX, May 2011, with Jody Bailey. In this workshop, we will discuss how the information revolution affects teaching information literacy--specifically, students' need for digital wisdom. Today, students are usually aware of what technology can do for them socially but do not know how to produce and critically assess digital knowledge in their scholarship. Demonstrating the production of digital objects will help promote digital wisdom in the classroom by making the process transparent. To this end, we will demonstrate the following: - A LibGuide that is interactive, welcoming, personal, and helpful and that will focus on how to teach students or faculty about video editing. We will discuss how to point students to these tools and give them step-by-step instructions, and we will explain how to talk to students about broader issues of copyright and content acquisition since they often have a facile view of how multimedia are produced and how copyright works. - A video that is shot on a Flip camera and edited while the workshop participants watch. This demonstration is meant to help participants realize that teaching basic video-editing skills can be relatively quick and painless. - A screencast service that we have personalized to students' and faculty members' individual needs. We use a free service to answer individual questions as they come in via an online form that feeds into a database that we made, which we will also showcase. - As participants become familiar with these technologies, they should also become more comfortable with them and realize that learning and teaching them can be relatively quick and painless.
  • Past
      Speaker: "If a Picture Paints a Thousand Words, Imagine What a Video Can Do: Making Promotional, Advocacy, and Instructional Videos on a Shoestring"
      Preconference Workshop presented at the Association of College and Research Libraries Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA, March 2011, with Michael Abrahamson, Eric Frierson, and Jody Bailey. Abstract: Video creation isnt just for the tech-savvy -- anyone can create video. Whether you want to promote library services or advocate for your library, this preconference will equip you with the skills needed. Using freely available software and Flip Video recorders, learn the mechanics of making a website-ready video and understand how to maximize the medium to create compelling digital stories for a variety of purposes and audiences. As part of the preconference, you will have the opportunity to do hands-on video-making, culminating with a fully-completed video ready for uploading to YouTube
  • Past
      Speaker: "Supercharged, Integrated, and On Demand"
      Online presentation given at the Amigos Online Conference: Reference @ Your Library, August 2010, withJody Bailey and Gretchen Trkay. Abstract: Our presentation will consist of three 10-minute lightning round talks designed to highlight successful reference practices we have implemented at the University of Texas Arlington Library. Gretchen will describe "Paper's Due Drop Inn." a face to face service that integrates point of need reference with writing center help. The discussion will include usage statistics and user-satisfaction survey data. Rafia will showcase our Super-Charged LibGuides, which include integrated chat widgets, targeted federated search widgets for specific databases, RSS feeds of faculty publications, and both promotional and instructional videos. Jody will discuss using Screenjelly, a free screencasting service, to answer email or chat reference queries; she will also showcase the online video request form and describe how it was made. The on-demand service allows students to request a personalized how-to video, empowering them to self-identify impediments to their research process rather than limiting them to general-audience tutorials. All three of these topics reflect the ways in which we have used emerging technologies to proactively engage with customers at their point of need.
  • Past
      Speaker: "Rising (and Raising) Expectations: Expanding the Academic Cyberinfrastructure at Academic Libraries"
      Presentation at the EDUCAUSE Southwest Regional Conference, Austin, TX, February 2010, with Eric Frierson and Jody Bailey. Academic libraries have changed dramatically, perhaps more so than any other campus unit, as a result of the Internet. In addition to pure technological changes, libraries cope with the rising expectations of faculty and students who are used to simplified search engines like Google. Though libraries have made great advances in meeting information seekers' expectations and infusing institutional resources into users' normal online behavior, people's expectations of library staff are remarkably low. In this presentation, we will share strategies for meeting rising expectations while raising them at the same time.
  • Past
  • Past
  • Past
  • Past
      Speaker: “Feminism and Islam”
      Link to Conference Program (PDF)
  • Past
  • Past
      Poster: Project J: How Web 2.0 Should ALA Go?
      To inform the transition of the website to a new content management system, Team J worked to assess membership opinion towards the adoption of Web 2.0 tools.  Through a survey of ALA members and the library community, we analyzed the interactivity needs of users.  Team J formulated website recommendations in the form of wireframes and mock-ups based on the feedback collected in the survey data.
      1. The online survey featured a series of questions in regards to the ALA Website, experiences with ALA Connect, and user collaboration. Questions were designed to  provide both quantitative and qualitative data.  Demographic information was provided on a voluntary basis.  The survey was distributed via various listservs, social media outlets, and through official ALA communication channels.
      2. Link to Final Project Page:
  • Past
      Poster: LibrarySTEW: Fortifying Staff and Services
      LibrarySTEW (Summer Technology Exploration Workshops) is not your everyday staff development training series. Keeping core criteria in mind (it must be fun, it must be hands on, it must be short), we've empowered library staff by introducing them to emerging technologies. In this poster, we will share LibrarySTEWs success supported by high attendance at workshops and specific new services and procedures developed as a result of them. In particular, we will highlight a project by our acquisitions department inspired by a LibrarySTEW session on Google Docs. Prior to the session, support staff did not feel comfortable exploring new technology during their work hours; however, the STEW session enabled them to spend time with Google Docs and come up with an innovative solution to a persistent problem. In the end, staff transitioned key shared documents from a networked drive (which only allowed one person to use them at a time) to Google Docs, streamlining the work flow and increasing efficiency dramatically. Our poster will include quotes from staff members who attended the sessions, more specific examples of how STEW sessions results in library improvement, and how the nature of LibrarySTEW made it an empowering experience for both attendees and workshop leaders. Presented with Michael Abrahamson and Eric Frierson.
  • Past
      Present: Re/searching on the Web
      THATCamp Texas 2012
      When you use Google are you searching the whole web? Learn how to go beyond the surface web and focus on what is relevant to you. We will cover searching the social web (Web 2.0), the deep/invisible web, and the archived web. After this workshop, you will understand what search engines actually index and how you can most effectively search them.
  • Past
      Present: Digital Age Copyright & Your Rights as an Author
      THATCamp Texas 2012
      Scholarly communication is the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use. This system is under pressure, however, because of the skyrocketing costs of academic journals, and many open-access initiatives are putting pressure on the for-profit mega-publishers. At this workshop, we will explore how you can better understand your rights as an author and how it may be possible for you to retain more control over your intellectual property. We will also focus on how copyright affects your teaching, research, and publishing. You will leave with an improved understanding of issues around copyright in the digital age and knowledge of tools that can help you understand your rights as an author.
  • Past
      Plugged into User Behavior: Low-Budget, High-Impact Usability Testing of Library Subject Guides
      Description:  How do students really use library subject guides?  Librarians can speculate, but if guides are difficult to navigate, users will leave. Attending this preconference will allow you to take the guesswork out of subject-guide design. Learn how to construct, conduct, and analyze usability tests by practicing these skills during the session. Hands-on activities will also include incorporating models of information-seeking behavior with findings to better meet students needs. Please note that attendees will need to bring a laptop.  Usability testing of locally created web content is crucial to comprehensive services in academic libraries because it helps us better understand whether we are meeting users needs. Although many librarians test the usability of their main websites, greater effort needs to be made to determine whether our subject guides are usable for two main reasons: (a) librarians research processes differ from those of students; thus when librarians design subject guides, a disconnect between their designs and students needs and preferences often occurs. Furthermore, (b) most public services librarians do not have a strong background in information architecture principles. With this in mind, no one should be surprised that students most often turn first to Internet search engines rather than library subject guides.  This preconference will teach public services librarians the skills necessary to evaluate the usability of the subject guides at their institutions, whether they are using a product such as LibGuides or another platform. To improve user experience, we will encourage attendees to integrate usability findings with models of student information-seeking behavior, which will require them to reconceptualize subject guides as instructional tools. By the end of this preconference, attendees will be confident that they are capable of engaging in usability testing without expensive consultants or web designers.  Practice writing research questions; designing and implementing testing techniques;evaluating usability data; and meshing findings with subject content, information-seeking behavior models, and student learning.  The goal is to make usability testing more approachable and less intimidating. We want to inspire public services librarians to see subjects guides from the users' perspective and be more innovative in all aspects of designing and implementing them. By using the skills acquired in this preconference, attendees will be able to create subject guides at their home institutions that better meet students expectations and needs.

      Learning Outcomes   
      1. Be able to design and implement usability tests in order to assess the effectiveness of subject guides.  
      2. Be able to analyze usability test results in order to improve their subject guides.  
      3. Be able to incorporate research about information-seeking behavior and learning models into subject-guide design in order to better meet student needs. 
      CoPresenters:  Gretchen Trkay, Instruction & Information Literacy Librarian, University of Texas at Arlington; Andy Herzog, Reference and Instruction Librarian, University of Texas at Arlington; Rafia Mirza, Reference and Instruction Librarian, University of Texas at Arlington; Boglarka Huddleston, Instruction & Information Literacy Librarian, University of Texas at Arlington; Jody Bailey, Reference and Instruction Librarian, University of Texas at Arlington

Other Research Activities

  • 2013
    • Non-Course-Related Workshops Taught or Facilitated at UT Arlington
      • May 2013 Instructor: "Word for Thesis and Dissertation," fall 2010-present (twice per long semester)

        Don't let Microsoft Word make writing your dissertation any harder than it already is! Learn how to use advanced features in Word 2007 to write longer documents that will make meeting the Graduate School formatting requirements a less arduous process. 2-inch margin? Table of contents? Automatic numbering of figures? No problem. NOTE: This workshop requires knowledge of fundamental skills in Word/Windows, such as now to maximize/minimize a window, how to download and save a file to the desktop, basic navigation of the Internet and various open files, cutting/pasting, etc.

      • May 2013 Instructor: " Techno Scholar Workshops," fall 2008-present (varies per semester)

        Participate in emerging technologies instruction and have taught the following workshops based upon demand: Word for Thesis and Dissertation, Tech Tools, Twitter 101, Researching on the Web, Fair use and Copyright, Advanced Google Search, Video editing,and Social Media.

      • May 2013 Facilitator: "Teaching Circle: Promoting Critical Thinking in Students,"

        Facilitated four meetings of this 2010-2011 Teaching Circle with Jody Bailey. Meetings, 2:00-3:00 p.m. on the following Mondays - Oct. 25, Nov. 15, Feb. 14, Mar. 28.
        Why is it so hard to get our students to think critically, and what can we do about it? This circle will focus on these subthemes: 1) Barriers to teaching critical thinking, 2) Critical thinking for digital natives, 3) Using technology and information-literacy-based assignments to enhance critical thinking skills, and 4) Partnering campus-wide to teach critical thinking. All faculty are invited to join this circle.

      • May 2013 LibrarySTEW

        Participated in organizing and running the Library STEW (Summer Technology Exploration Workshops) (2009-Present)

      • May 2013 Ted Talk Tuesdays (2009-2010)

        Participated in organizing and running the library TED talks, wherein we would choose a Ted talk, view it as a group, and discuss how it related to our field. These workshops were open to any staff member who was interested in attending. (During Summer 2009,  we would view a talk every Tuesday. During the school semester, we would view one TED talk a month)

    • Digital Projects
      • May 2013 Google Books

        Introduction to searching Google Books for UTA resources, materials you can borrow through ILL, and online books.

      • May 2013 What Is Peer Review?

        One link for three short videos: I am responsible for the first section that covers what the peer-review process actually is and what the difference is between scholarly, popular, and trade publications. 

      • May 2013 Exporting to RefWorks

        One link for several very short instructional videos that show you how to export citation information to RefWorks. I am responsible for the following sections: Google Books, LexisNexis Academic, and WorldCat First Search. 

      • May 2013 Introduction to MLA International Bibliography

        Tips on searching and using the thesaurus and other specialized tools in the MLA International Bibliography, our premier database for students of literature and languages.

      • May 2013 WorldCat FirstSearch

        Search all the world's catalogs using the tips and tricks shown in this video tutorial.

      • May 2013 Find That Book! Brought to You by the Letter L (For Library)

        A short video on how to find a book in UTA Central Library (created with Andy Herzog and Jody Bailey)

    • Outreach and Marketing
      • May 2013 Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out 2011

        Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out 2011 at the University of Texas at Arlington. Helped plan, publicize, coordinate, record, edit and upload video for the ALA Virtual readout.

      • May 2013 Social Media: Facebook

        Began and help maintain library Facebook account. 

      • May 2013 Social Media: Twitter

        Began and help maintain library Twitter account. 

      • May 2013 Librarian vs. Stereotype outreach video series

        Helped conceive, plan and record Librarian vs. Stereotype outreach video series

      • May 2013 A Day in the Life of Central Library

        Find out what happens in a busy day* at the UT Arlington Library! *These statistics are based on averages of information gathered from many program areas and departments during the months of September & October (2010 & 2011). They are presented here for promotional purposes and should not be considered an exact count.

      • May 2013 BannedBooks @UTArlingtonLibrary

        Helped organize and plan library staff taking pictures with their favorite Banned (or Challenged) Books. (Photo credits: Maggie Dwyer; layout and design: Kathleen Marquez-Houston).
        Created and help maintain corresponding guide 

    • Continuing Education
      • May 2013 Cutting the Red Tape: Finding and Using E-Government Tools and Resources

        Completed course in 4/2011 

      • May 2013 Center for Intellectual Property Copyright Leadership and Management Certificate

        Completed the Center for Intellectual Property Copyright Leadership and Management Certificate (2009: University of Maryland University College). Created Copyright guide for in class instruction 

    • Career Status
      • May 2013 Librarian Status

        Assistant Librarian (8/2008-8/2012)
        Associate Librarian (9/2012-Present)

Other Service Activities

  • Uncategorized
    • Apr 2013 Member, Student Chapter at University of Michigan, American Library Association.
    • Apr 2013 Member, Library Committee on Libguides and Usability. (2011-Present)
      In 2011, Participated in a group that conducted usability testing of current library guides  in order to evaluate their effectiveness as a learning tool. 
    • Apr 2013 Member, Library Strategic Plan committee on Scholarly Communication (2009-2010)
    • Apr 2013 Member, Library Strategic Plan committee next generation OPAC products (2009-2010)
    • Apr 2013 Member, American Library Association: ACRL/ULS Committee on the Future of University Libraries (2011-Present)