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Davin Helkenberg is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Library and Information Science program at the University of Western Ontario. Her doctoral research examines fictional narratives of sexuality in Young Adult Literature and explores, through in-depth interviews, how these narratives have informed the sexual lives of young women readers.

Her research is also concerned with the role public libraries can play, as authoritative community sites, in supporting unfettered access to sexually explicit materials for youth – intended for both educational and recreational purposes. Davin’s broader interests include research methodology for sensitive topics, creative writing, and the political economy of independent book publishing.

Contact Information

You can reach me at: dhelkenb@uwo.ca

curriculum vitae


Ph.D.                     Western University, London, ON   Expected Defense: May 2018

                              Library and Information Science

                                                Supervisor: Dr. Paulette Rothbauer

                                                Committee: Dr. Lynne McKechnie, Dr. Susan Knabe

                              Thesis: Narratives of Sexuality in the Lives of Young Women Readers

 M.L.I.S.                 Western University, London, ON   August 2011

                              Library and Information Science

 B.A.                       University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC   May 2010

                              English Literature; minor in First Nations Studies; Certificate in Méétis Studies


Peer-Reviewed Publications

Helkenberg, D.L. (June 2017). Teaching disruptive literature in precarious times: A case study from Library and Information Science. In E. J. M. Knox (Ed), Trigger Warnings: History, Theory, Context. Lanham, MD: Roman and Littlefield.

Publications Currently Under Review

Helkenberg, D.L, et.al. Education for the Public Good: A Student Perspective on Including Social Justice in LIS Education (Words: 1500). Submitted to the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science.

This paper is a collaborative project produced by myself and 16 MLIS students during a course I designed and taught on Progressive Library Politics. It was submitted to JELIS as a non-peer-reviewed editorial piece in February 2018.


Helkenberg, D.L. (2018, May). Reading for Alternatives: The Experiences of Young Women Who Read Sexuality-Themed Fiction Online. Paper presented at the Annual Canadian Association for Information Science Conference at Congress 2018, Regina, SK. 

Helkenberg, D.L. (2017, June). Reading Difficult Stories: Girls and Sexual Knowledge in Text and Lived Experience. Paper presented at the 25th Annual Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing Conference, Victoria, BC.  

Helkenberg, D. L. (2016, May). “Everything’s so loveless and mediocre”: Complex Narratives of Sexuality, Heartbreak, and Melancholy in The Diary of a Teenager Girl. Paper presented at the Moving Forward International Symposium: Schooled Bodies, Identities, Sexting, and the Curriculum That Frames Us, London, ON.

Helkenberg, D. L. (2016, April). The Noise that Fascinates Them: Girls and Sexual Ambiguity in Young Adult Literature. Paper presented at the 6th Annual Western University Women's Studies and Feminist Research Conference, London, ON.


Lightening Seed Grant, $200, Fall 2017

This small grant was awarded to me by the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing to support the mediations Workshop Series while I was Committee Chair.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship, $15,000Fall 2016 – Summer 2017

Western University Entrance Scholarship, $2,000, Fall 2013

Research Positions

Research Assistant March 2017 - Present

Working under the direction of Dr. Daniel Robinson, I currently assist with scholarly literature searches, tobacco document searches, and bibliographic editing for a research initiative that supports the suing of international tobacco companies on behalf of the Canadian government in response to costs to provincial healthcare that involve tobacco-related illness. 

Research Assistant Sept 2017 – Dec 2017

Working under the direction of Dr. Paulette Rothbauer, I performed systematic scholarly literature searches that contributed to a literature review on research methodologies that have been used to study older adults and their reading practices.

Ph.D. Candidate Fall 2013 - Present

This ongoing investigation involves the examination of the intersection between sexually-themed fiction for youth, its potential to be an information source for sex education, and the role of the public library as a site for actively promoting the sexual well-being of youth.

Graduate Student Winter – Summer 2011

A guided research project supervised by Dr. Paulette Rothbauer that examined codes of sexuality within popular paranormal romance series fiction for youth.

Guest Lectures

 LIS9004 – Research Methods and Statistics Aug 2017

Lecture on an overview of my thesis research and interviewing on sensitive topics.

 MIT2000 – History of Communication Dec 2016

Lecture on the history of the internet, web browsing, and web 2.0.

 LIS9364 – Young Adult Materials Sept 2016/2014

Presentation and discussion on sexually-themed materials for youth and their place in the public library.

 LIS9003 – Information Sources and Services Sept 2015

Presentation, discussion, and activities on information behaviour and information literacy.


University Level

Course Lecturer         MLIS9170: Progressive Library Politics  Fall 2017

                                             Faculty of Information and Media Studies

                                    Western University

Course Lecturer          MLIS9364: Young Adult Materials   Summer 2015

Faculty of Information and Media Studies

Western University

 Teaching Assistant      MLIS9005: Managing and Working in Information Organizations   Summer 2017

Faculty of Information and Media Studies

Western University

 Teaching Assistant      MIT2000: History of Communication   Fall 2016, Winter 2015, Winter 2014

Faculty of Information and Media Studies                                                               

Western University                                                                                                            

Teaching Assistant      MIT2100: Political Economy of Media   Winter 2016

Faculty of Information and Media Studies

Western University

Teaching Assistant      MLIS9003: Information Sources and Services   Fall 2015, Fall 2014, Fall 2013           

Faculty of Information and Media Studies                                                                     

Western University                                                                                                                   


 Instructor                     English as a Second Language   Nov 2011– June 2013

Chung Dahm Institute

Suwon, South Korea

Camp Leader                Science University for Northern Youth   June – August 2010

Continuing Studies

University of Northern British Columbia

Outreach Coordinator Science Alliance Summer Camps   May – August 2009        

Fort George Regional Museum

Prince George, BC



mediations Workshop Series Committee – Western University                                                                         

President   Fall 2016 - Winter 2018

Member   Fall 2015 – Summer 2016

LIS Doctoral Students’ Association – Western University                                                             

Representative on Doctoral Programming Committee   Fall 2014 – Winter 2015

Representative on Doctoral Programming Committee (alternate)   Fall 2013 – Winter 2014

MLIS Student Council – Western University   Summer 2011

Librarians Without Borders – Western University   Summer 2011

Guest Talks

Teaching Assistant Workshop – Western University   Oct 2016

Guest speaker on developing rapport with students to encourage meaningful class discussion.

 Progressive Librarians Guild Human Library Event – Western University   Oct 2016

Presenting and leading discussion in small groups on intellectual freedom and censorship.

 Student Librarian Association for Children and Young Adult Services Oct 2015

Presentation and discussion on issues of collection development surrounding sexually-themed Young Adult fiction.


Student Assistant   Geoffrey R. Weller Library   Fall 2009 - Summer 2010, Fall 2008 – Winter 2009, Fall 2007 – Winter 2008

University of Northern British Columbia                                                                                                      

Aiding circulation in shelving, retrieving and shifting books. Includes general library organization and special projects as assigned.


 Certificate of University Teaching and Learning – Western University   Winter 2017

The goal of the Western Certificate in University Teaching and Learning program is to enhance the quality of teaching by graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and to prepare them for a future faculty career.

IMPACT! Youth Sustainability Leadership Program – Natural Step   Fall 2016

FIMS Teaching Assistant Workshops – Western University   Fall 2016

Leaving Effective Feedback

Facilitating Discussion in Tutorials

Advanced Teaching Program – Western University   Fall 2015

The Advanced Teaching Program is a hands-on seminar specifically designed for advanced graduate students who would like to develop the practical skills necessary to teach their own courses. Total Hours: 20

Future Professor Workshops – Western University   Fall 2015       

Education for Global Citizenship

Creating Inclusive Classrooms Using Culturally Relevant Teaching Strategies

 Winter Conference on Teaching - Western University   Winter 2014                                

Netiquette: Communication with your Students

Great Ideas for Teaching: Contest Winners

 Certificate of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL, 80 hrs.)    Winter 2008