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College of Information and Communications

Faculty and Staff

Clayton A. Copeland, Ph.D.

Title: Instructor
Department: School of Information Science
College of Information and Communications
Phone: 803-777-4311
Office: School of Information Science
Davis College, Room 108
1501 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208
Office Hours: Virtual, by appointment


B.A., University of South Carolina
M.L.I.S., University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science
Ph.D., University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science


Dr. Clayton Copeland earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science in 2012 with an emphasis in equity of access and diversity, with interdisciplinary research in library and information science, disability studies, sociology, and psychology.  She earned summa cum laude honors while receiving her MLIS and Bachelor of Arts degrees.


Copeland is director of the iSchool’s Laboratory for Leadership in Equity and Diversity (LLEAD). Much of her research, which has been funded by the American Library Association, focuses upon equity of access to information for people with disabilities.  Copeland also pursues research interests in universal design and Universal Design for learning, literacy, facilities planning, technology, and materials and programming for children and young adults.


Copeland wants  students to know that they are important to her, and that their learning is important to her.  There is a quote from Dr. Maya Angelou that she has long admired – “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

With every endeavor, she strives to support and encourage students and to have them feel valued. Each and every person has special abilities to share with the world. Teaching is also about learning, and she looks forward to also learning from her students each semester. Each student learns and works differently, and Copeland believes it is important to incorporate Universal Design for Learning, such that we are able to support all students in accessing their abilities.

Recent Publications

Copeland, C.A. (forthcoming). Differing abilities and the library: Fostering equity for patrons and staff with disabilities. ABC-CLIO.

Copeland, C. A., Cross, B., & Thompson, K. (2020). Universal Design creates equity and inclusion: Moving from theory to practice. South Carolina Libraries, 4(1), 1-14.

Thompson, K. M. & Copeland, C. A. (2020). Inclusive considerations for optimal online learning in times of disasters and crises. Information and Learning Sciences, Special Issue: A Response to Emergency Transitions to Remote Online Education in K-12 and Higher Education, 121(7/8), 481-486. 

Thompson, K. M., & Copeland, C.A. (2021). Making the diversity, equity, and inclusionmindset indispensable in the LIS classroom through design, content, communication, and assessment. In K. Dali & N. Caidi (Eds.). Humanizing LIS education and practice: Diversity by design. Routledge.

Copeland, C.A. & Martin, M.H. (2016). Camp Read-a-Rama & fully-engaged literacy learning: Implications for LIS education. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science (JELIS), 57(2)

Copeland, C.A. & Gavigan, K.W. (Winter 2015). Examining inclusive programming in a middle school library: A case study of adolescents who are differently- and typically-able. Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults.


Copeland received the iSchool’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

Copeland has received the “Two Thumbs Up” Award twice, based on students’ recommendations and presented by the Office of Student Disability Services to an instructor who has made a difference for students registered with the Office of Student Disability Services.


  • University-appointed accessibility liaison for the College of Information and Communications (2020-present)
  • Invited Member, President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (DIAC) 2015-2019)
  • Faculty Liaison/Chair, Diversity Leadership Group, School of Library and Information Science, University of SC (2016-2020)
  • National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, National Library of the Year Award Committee, Appointed Member 2020 and 2021
  • Selection Chair of the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award Committee
  • Editorial board member of the International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion
  • Board of Directors, Able SC
  • Immediate-past Chair, Access SC Information Technology (ASCIT)

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.