L. Bryan Cooper is Associate Dean for Engagement & Innovation in the Florida International University (FIU) Libraries. His recent research activity includes implementing Scholars@FIU – at https://scholars.fiu.edu, an Experts Finding / Research Information Management System supporting faculty and students, and fostering FIU’s impact story worldwide. He also oversees the Glenn Gallery at the Biscayne Bay Campus, and facilitates and curates public exhibits with faculty, students and external communities. Moreover, he leads development of a teaching-learning facility in the i360 XR (extended reality) studio-theater at the Hubert Library. In over 25 years of service in academic libraries, he has supported library and other institutional needs through juried grants, solicited donations and engagement funding totaling over $4,000,000.00.
A life-long resident of South Florida, Dr. Cooper received his M.A. in History from the University of Miami; M.A. in Library & Information Science from the University of South Florida, and PhD from the University of Miami in Interdepartmental (American) Studies. His research and professional practice reflect connections spanning integrated fields, including technology and information science, history and archives, and libraries and culture. Dr. Cooper’s work also bridges librarianship and the National Council on Public History view that practicing public historians “come in all shapes and sizes,” and can include diverse activities related to consulting, museums, archives, oral histories, cultural resource management, exhibit curation, film and media production, historical interpretation, and community activism. Overall, Dr. Cooper passionately believes in the benefits of interdisciplinary partnerships, and supporting FIU standing as a Carnegie Classified Community Engaged University.
Dr. Cooper’s interests also are reflected through his service supporting libraries and the information science profession. He is past Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) of the Florida Library Association (FLA), recipient of a 2017 FLA Intellectual Freedom Award for technology team building, and has been active with the Florida Education Defenders of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC). He also has served on American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom Working Groups responsible for updating portions of the latest edition of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Manual. More recently, he has served on steering committees for state and international symposiums on research information management and expert finders systems.
Through his funding efforts, Dr. Cooper has helped revitalize student spaces with technology, including in the Green and Hubert Libraries at FIU. Prior to joining FIU, his past awards include the Southeast Florida Library Information Network (SEFLIN) Innovation Award and Vista Awards for grant related service to SE Florida Libraries. While serving as a director of the University Library at St. Thomas University, he revitalized that library with grant-funded technologies, led a team to implement a museum facility to engage university and surrounding communities, and built bridges between higher education, local communities and government through collaborative technology and information projects.
Dr. Cooper continues to develop the full potential of Scholars@FIU in support of faculty, students and the larger university community. Additional recent research includes a grant awarded in collaboration with the FIU Center for Advancement in Teaching (CAT). The funding fosters a FIU - Open Syllabus (https://opensyllabus.org/) partnership to develop a platform for aggregating and managing course syllabi. The goal is to provide campus-wide access, textual analysis and data mining to support student, faculty and administrative need. The project will support and study increased early-access to information in course syllabi for FIU students, to better prepare them for classroom success and lessen the drop-rate. The project also will allow librarians to better understand student and faculty material needs when making purchases for the Libraries; support FIU CAT teaching goals; ease workload for student advisors and out-of-state transfer students; and help faculty locate others with common teaching interests.