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College of Information and Communications

Faculty and Staff

Karen W. Gavigan, Ph.D.

Title: Professor
College of Information and Communications
Office: School of Information Science
Davis College, Room 214
1501 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208

Curriculum Vitae



B.A., Secondary Education / English Concentration, University of North Carolina 
M.S.L.S., Library and Information Science, University of Tennessee 
Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction, Teacher Education and Development, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Dr. Karen Gavigan worked as a school librarian for 15 years.  She also worked as a public librarian and an academic librarian.  


Gavigan's research interests include the use of graphic novels and other resources in K-12 libraries and classrooms. She has also conducted research regarding school library issues such as the instructional role of the school librarian.

Funded Research

Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Grant, Phase Two. Co-Project Director with Dr. Daniella Cook. Funded for $493,181.47, 2016 – 2021.

ALA Carnegie Whitney Grant, Co-Project Director with Dr. Kasey Garrison, $4,800, 2019 – 2020

ASPIRE-ing to Prevent HIV/AIDS: A Graphic Novel Intervention for South Carolina Teens. Co-Principal Investigator with Kendra Albright. University of South Carolina (USC) ASPIRE- 1 Grant, 2013. Funded for $9,148, 2013 – 2014.

Information Vaccine: Using Graphic Novels as an HIV/AIDS Prevention Tool for Young Adults  (Phase 2).  Co-Principal Investigator with Kendra Albright. Association for Library and Information Service Education, Funded for $5,000, 2013 – 2014.


2019   American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Research Grant Award

2012 Jesse H. Shera Award for Distinguished Published Research, presented by the Library Research Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), to Pribesh, S.; Gavigan, K. & Dickinson, G. for  "The Access Gap: Poverty and Characteristics of School Library Media Centers," published in The Library Quarterly 81(2): 143-160, April 2011.


Gavigan's teaching style is to serve less as a “sage on the stage” and more as a “guide on the side”.  Whether she is teaching a distance education class for graduate students, or a face-to-face undergraduate class, she keep students engaged with lectures, videos, discussion forums, and collaborative activities. Gavigan teaches Young Adult Library Materials, School Library Program Development, and Information Literacy and Technology.

Recent Publications

Dawkins, A. & Gavigan, K. (April, 2019).  E-Book Collections in High School Libraries: Factors Influencing Circulation and Usage.  School Library Research.  

Garrison, K. L., & Gavigan, K. (2019). Picture This: Using Graphic Novels to Explore Social Justice Issues with Young Adults. Teacher Librarian46(3), 8–12. Retrieved from »

Dawkins, A. & Gavigan, K.  (Winter, 2017). The School Librarian’s Role in Writing Instruction: Research, Perceptions, and Practice.  Libri: International Journal of Library and Information Studies.

Styslinger, M., Gavigan, K. & Albright, K. (Eds.) (January, 2017). Literacy Behind Bars: Successful Reading and Writing Strategies for Use with Incarcerated Youth and Adults Lanham, MDRowman & Littlefield.

Gavigan, K. & Curry Lance, K.  (2015, October).  Everybody’s Teacher:  Administrators’ and Teachers’ Perceptions of School Librarians:  Findings from the South Carolina Association of School Librarian’s Impact Study.  Teacher Librarian, 43(1), 8-11.

Gavigan, K. (2014, January).  Shedding New Light on Graphic Novel Collections: A Circulation and Collection Analysis Study in Six Middle School Libraries. School Libraries Worldwide, 20(1),  97-115.


Chair, Joint Committee of the International Association of School Libraries and the International Federation of Library Associations’ Standing Committee for School Libraries                     

Member, International Federation of Library Associations’ Standing Committee for School Libraries

Chair, Educators of School Librarians Section, American Library Association

Chair, Library Research Round Table Committee, American Library Association

Chair, Standards and Guidelines Task Force. American Association of School Librarians

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.