Meet Jonathan Cope: Reference and Instruction Librarian

MeACRLJonathan Cope has been a faculty member at the CSI Library since 2007. He is a Reference and Instruction Librarian and he has been the coordinator of virtual reference since 2008.

Although he was born in Colorado, Jonathan grew up in the city of Plymouth, Indiana. If you have never heard of it, you are not alone. It is a small town south of South Bend, Indiana that is mostly noted for its annual Blueberry Festival and for being the home of the 1982 high school state basketball champions led by the future NBA player and coach Scott Skiles (by far the high school’s most famous alumni). Generally uncoordinated and only 5’6” tall, Jonathan’s talents were more suited to competitive debate and speech; he was an Indiana state finalist in Foreign Extemporaneous speaking in 1996. Unsurprisingly, these accomplishments were far less celebrated than the achievements of his more athletically inclined classmates.

During his teen years Jonathan played in a series of short lived punk bands that consisted of members from the Plymouth/Warsaw/South Bend area of northern Indiana. Unsure if college was in his future he spent much of 1997/1998 touring the country in a brown Econoline van that only broke down on three occasions. As his band disintegrated he returned to Plymouth and found poorly compensated, non-union, employment at a local K-Mart unloading pallets of merchandise, at which point gaining acceptance to college became a far greater priority.

Jonathan received his Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Media Studies from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 2002. During his time as a student at Antioch he developed a strong interest in political theory and the ways which social subjects interpret social reality through mediated forms of communication. His senior thesis examined how two different environmental organizations in Ohio used media in their activism.

After working overnight shifts for several years in a transitional living center for homeless teens in Portland, Oregon, Jonathan moved to Brooklyn and enrolled in the Masters of Library and Information Studies program at Queens College, CUNY.  While at Queens he worked as a College Assistant in the library and grew accustomed to the fact that at any deli in New York, one must specifically request that sugar and milk be excluded from any coffee order if one does not desire the presence of these items in their coffee. During this time he also realized that his interest in social theory could be used within the framework of Library and Information Science to further the discipline’s analysis related to libraries and information.

Jonathan worked as a Young Adult Librarian in Bensonhurst for Brooklyn Public Library for six months before joining CSI. While at CSI Jonathan obtained a masters degree in Liberal Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2011. His thesis used several dystopian novels and political theorists to examine how a discourse of material scarcity frames the horizons for social transformation.

Jonathan is the author of a book chapter which discusses the applicability of social power research to information literacy and an article about the ideal of librarianship as an intellectual craft. He is the coauthor of an article about information literacy in the study of American politics and he is the coauthor of article (due out in the fall of 2014) that details a study of how disciplinarity influences how faculty outside of the library conceptualize information literacy.

Jonathan’s current and future research is focused on the ways in which library and information literacy work is situated within specific social, cultural, economic, and disciplinary contexts.

In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys reading, playing his guitar and mandolin, listening to ponderous progressive rock albums from the 1970s, film, riding his bicycle, and (very recently) running. He lives in Brooklyn and wishes that Robert Moses had allowed for space on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge for a bike lane every time the weather is nice and he drives over the bridge.

-Mark Aaron Polger, Assistant Professor & First Year Experience Librarian