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Bharat Mehra

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Dr. Mehra's research focuses on diversity and social justice in library and information science and community informatics or the use of information and communication technologies to empower minority and underserved populations to make meaningful changes in their everyday lives. He has applied action research to further engaged scholarship and community engagement while collaborating with racial/ethnic groups, international diaspora, sexual minorities, rural communities, low-income families, small businesses, and others, to represent their experiences and perspectives in the design of community-based information systems and services.

Dr. Mehra has used conceptual frameworks in LIS (e.g., human information behavior, information seeking and use, community analytics, etc.) with interdisciplinary approaches from critical theory, feminist and queer studies, postcolonial cross-cultural literature, and race and gender research, amongst others, to extend the traditional definition, scope, extent, representation, and relevance of information-related work in the 21st century. As principal investigator, he has recently been awarded multiple grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services totaling more than a million dollars to help train rural librarians in the Appalachian region as well as develop collaborative partnerships between rural libraries and other appropriate community stakeholders (e.g. small businesses).

Dr. Mehra primarily teaches courses on public library management, collection development, resources and services for adults, diversity services in libraries, and grant development for information professionals. He has played an important role in university governance serving on the Faculty Senate (2011-2014) as the College Caucus Chair (2012-2014), Chair of the Library and Information Technology Committee (2013-2014), and member of the Benefits and Professional Development Committee (2011-2013). As part of these efforts, Dr. Mehra co-authored a report on domestic partnership benefits that was used in the Faculty Senate and other venues to help the university address social justice issues and move forward at the time. (URL: Dr. Mehra is currently the Diversity and Inclusion Officer in the UTK's School of Information Sciences (URL: From January 2019, he has accepted the position of EBSCO Endowed Chair in Social Justice and Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama.

- Association for Library and Information Science Education’s 2018 Connie Van Fleet Award for Research Excellence in Public Library Services to Adults.

- Bonnie Carroll and Roy Cooper Faculty Enrichment Award 2017: School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee.

- Assessment of Rural Library Professionals’ Role in Community Engagement in the Southern and Central Appalachian Region: Mobilization from Change Agents to Community Anchors ($48,708). Institute of Museum and Library Services, Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian– FY 2017 Guidelines (Community Anchors Project Category: Planning Grant), July 2017 – June 2018 (PI: B. Mehra. Co-PI: V. Singh). (URL:

- Mehra, B., Bishop, B. W., and Partee II, R. P. (2016). Information Science Professionals as Community Action Researchers to Further the Role of Rural Public Libraries in Small Business Economic Development: A Case Study of Tennessee. [BEST OVERALL CONFERENCE PAPER]. Annual Conference of the 2016 Canadian Association for Information Science/L’Association canadienne des sciences de l’information (CAIS/ACSI).

- Office of Community Engagement & Outreach, University of Tennessee, recognizes 50 Partnerships that Make a Difference ( that include the following developed by Mehra: 1) Public Library Service-Learning 2) Rural Library Professionals Program [Spring 2015].

- Prestigious "S" designation for service-learning was assigned to INSC 554 (Public Library Management and Services) developed by Mehra at the University of Tennessee for 2014-2015. Service-Learning Profile, Office of the Provost, University of Tennessee:

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Ph.D., Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; 

M.S., South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

M.L.A., Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

Bachelors in Architecture, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India.

Research Interests: 
Diversity and intercultural communication.
Social justice in library and information science.
Information support services for underserved populations.
Critical and cross-cultural studies.
Community informatics and action research.
Public and rural library management.
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