Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Daniella Smith, UNT

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Daniella Smith


Dr. Daniella L. Smith, is a professor in the Information Science Department. Daniella is also the Information Science Ph.D. program director. She is a Hazel Harvey Peace Endowed Professor in Children's Library Services (The UNT Professorship honors Hazel Harvey Peace, an educator, activist, and community leader). Dr. Smith has been a faculty member since 2010. Daniella is a frequent presenter at conferences and has published several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in publications. She is a versatile researcher and educator in library and information science. Her previous experience includes being a youth services librarian, a school librarian, and a public school social studies and reading teacher. Smith's research interests include LIS education, social media behaviors, and the leadership development of school librarians. Her recent projects include aspects that explore youth information-seeking behaviors and STEM implementation in K-12 schools.




What is your favorite aspect about your job? 

My favorite part of the job is that I can choose my research topics. How amazing is it that I get paid to explore the topics that are interesting to me? The best part is that I have an opportunity to make a positive impact on society by connecting my research to my teaching.  


What led you to your particular field of study/expertise?

I earned a double major in social science and political science for my BS. Then I earned a master’s in library and information studies (MLIS). I took the teaching certification classes for both degrees. After teaching, being a public librarian, and a school librarian for a while, I decided to go back to school for a Ph.D. This journey has been a natural progression because I always want to learn something new. Now my research blends my interests, education, and work experience. 


I've noticed your name in a news story. Can you explain how you got contacted to be interviewed and quoted as an information science expert? 

UNT media relations have been instrumental in connecting me to reporters. Sometimes, someone from UNT contacts me to ask if I am available for an interview. Then there are times when I get random requests. I am not sure how they find me. I believe that reporters contact me based on my research interests. 


Your research has helped elevate UNT as a Tier 1 research university, for example regarding social media (personal branding/political activism/STEM career & skill development k-12 educational settings around school librarians). Also, what do you see next as the most exciting areas for the present and future impact of information science and transmedia development?

Information science is a diverse field. My work lies at the intersection of education, library science, and information science. I also like to explore social issues related to education. I am excited about blending literacy education with transmedia experiences to introduce K-12 students to STEM careers. Right now, I am exploring the development of resources incorporating virtual reality and project-based learning to facilitate the understanding of STREAM (Science Technology Reading Engineering Arts and Math) concepts. 


What is your proudest work moment? 

My proudest moment was earning the designation as the Hazel Harvey Peace Endowed Professor this year.


What is your proudest non-work moment? 

My proudest non-work moment was earning my Ph.D


Do you have any (professional or personal) recommendations that you would like to share?

Do your best to take care of yourself. Practice self-care, even if it is just one hour of the day doing something you enjoy, like completing a puzzle, reading, or listening to music. Try to relax. If you don’t, you won’t be at full capacity when you are needed at work. 


What is a fact about you that may surprise your colleagues?

My first career was being an optician.


Do you have any favorite bookstores?

I don't really have any special places where I find my books. I stick to the big stores. I have been here nearly 12 years. I need to explore Denton more! I also use Audible and I buy a lot of e-books because I don’t have any more book storage space at my house. 


Hobby:? Reading
Place to visit:? Disney World
Charitable cause:? Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital