Pia Russell

Pia Russell

Pia Russell, BA MISt MEd MA
Education, Children's Literature, and Indigenous Studies Librarian

Welcome to UVic Libraries!  If you are a new or returning student please let me know if I can assist you with your research, my contact information is below. 

Learn more about my research and why I am so passionate about libraries in these recent interviews:

Office and Reference Hours:
- By appointment in my office in McPherson Library (email me to set up a time)
- You may also contact McPherson Library's Research Help Desk for research assistance.

Office A225
McPherson Library
3800 Finnerty Road
Victoria, BC  V8P 5C2
Tel. 250.721.8259 (Local: 8259)
Email: prussell (at) uvic (dot) ca
Twitter: @LibrarianPia

Mailing address:
University of Victoria Libraries
PO Box 1800 STN CSC
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 3H5 

If you are a student or instructor studying education, Indigenous studies, gender studies, or children's literature you may find it helpful to consult some of the UVic Libraries' subject guides I have created.  These guides are a good starting point for your library research.  It would also be a pleasure to meet with you during my office hours.

Consult UVic Libraries' subject guides on topics in Indigenous Studies:

Consult UVic Libraries' subject guides on topics in Education:


Consult UVic Libraries' subject guide on Children's Literature:

UVic's Music Librarian, Bill Blair, has developed a subject guide for Music Education:

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.  For urgent questions during the evenings and weekends please contact McPherson Library's Research Help Desk.

ÍY SȻÁĆEL.  Libraries are my professional passion and I have worked in this field since 1997.  Currently I am UVic's librarian for Education, Children's Literature, and Indigenous Studies.  Since arriving at UVic in 2006, I have held numerous positions such as: Coordinator for Learning and Research Resources, Head of the Curriculum Library; Assessment Projects Librarian; Learning Commons Librarian; Teaching and Learning Librarian; and, Information Literacy Librarian.  Informed by servant leadership, I am a committed manager-practitioner, learner-centred teacher, and action-oriented researcher.  I was born and raised in xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territory and am grateful to now live and work in lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Territories. 

Under the supervision of Prof. Lynne Marks, I completed a Master of Arts in History at UVic in 2019 specializing in public history, Indigenous-settler relations, cultural resource management, and Canadian history.  My major research paper was titled, 'Whose History?  A Reconnaissance of British Columbia’s First Fifty Years of History Textbooks, 1871-1921.'  In 2006 I received my Master of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), where I specialized in mixed methods research, program evaluation, and assessment for learning.  I graduated from the University of Toronto's Faculty of Information Studies with my Master of Information Studies in 2004 with a concentration in both Archival and Library Studies; my thesis was titled 'Information Literacy and Education Policy: An Instrumental Case Study of the Ontario Public School Curriculum.'  I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia, where I completed a year abroad at the University of Copenhagen.  I also hold an Associate Certificate in Applied Leadership and Conflict Resolution from the Justice Institute of British Columbia (2016) and a course certificate in Project Management from Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto (2005).

Professional service and experience
For 2019 and 2020, I am serving as a Director on the British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) board.  In 2019 I was an Open Knowledge Practicum Fellow in UVic's Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL).  I have held previous positions as a librarian or a library assistant at the University of Toronto Libraries, The Globe and Mail Editorial Reference Library, and the University of British Columbia.  Additionally, I have been a Research or Teaching Assistant at the University of Victoria, the University of Washington's iSchool, and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.  In 2016 and 2018 I provided large-scale mixed methods research consultation on BCLA's Professional Learning Assessment survey projects.  Additionally, I have served as an external academic programme reviewer.  Sharing my passion for academic library work is a joy and I am committed to mentoring many students and graduates in the field. 

Publications and presentations
I have published in scholarly and professional journals such as The Journal of Mixed Methods Research, BCLA Perspectives, School Libraries Worldwide, and Feliciter.  Frequently I serve as a reviewer for journals in the fields of librarianship, information studies, history, and education.  I have presented on the topics of historical education publications, library assessment, information literacy, mixed methods research, and school libraries at the following conferences: the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the American Evaluation Association (AEA), the British Columbia Library Association (BCLA), the Canadian Historical Association (CHA), the Canadian Library Association (CLA), the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), the Canadian Association of Information Science (CAIS), the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC), the Library Orientation Exchange (LOEX), the Ontario Library Association (OLA), the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE), REsearch in Academic Libraries (REAL), and the Workshop for Instruction in Library Use (WILU).  See a full list of work on my ORCID pages.    

Program of research
My current program of research focuses on the study of British Columbia's historical textbooks.  I am the Curator of the UVic Libraries' British Columbia Historical Textbooks collection and digital library.  You can learn more about this collection by watching my Faces of UVic Research video or listening to a CBC Radio One segment about this unique collection of historical textbooks which aired the week of September 4th, 2018 as part of a special series about Indigenous curriculum in BC titled 'Beyond Beads and Bannock'.  As part of this project, I am frequently asked to speak at teacher professional development events and community lectures through my affiliation with UVic's Speakers Bureau

My research interests include:

  • Academic libraries as sites for truth, reconciliation, and resurgence.  Libraries, Indigeniety, and decolonization
  • Public history, digital scholarship, and text-encoding
  • Educational documents and publications as historical sources, particularly textbooks
  • The role of libraries in social justice contexts, particularly for women and children
  • Social Science research methodology, particularly mixed-methods and longitudinal research applications
  • Library assessment, program evaluation, and performance measurement, particularly with educational initiatives