RUNC: Lyric Grimes

Lyric Grimes wants libraries to be safe spaces for all.

Lyric Grimesphoto by Megan Mendenhall
July 3rd, 2024

Lyric Grimes is a PhD student within the UNC School of Information and Library Science. She studies trauma-informed library services to create welcoming and secure environments for patrons through effective services, spaces, practices, and staff.

Q: How did you discover your specific field of study?

A: After completing my undergraduate degree, I moved to Beijing, China, to work as an ESL teacher. During this time, I realized my passion for working with books and libraries while teaching kids how to read.

Upon returning home due to the pandemic, I pursued a master’s in library science. During my final semester, I had a profound field experience at a Title I elementary school, where I witnessed the impact of trauma, poverty, and homelessness on the community. It inspired me to study how librarians and libraries can make a difference in the community and to transform the library into a vital service and community center.

Q: Academics are problem-solvers. Describe a research challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it.

A: I am currently in the early stages of my research, working on modeling what I call the “Library Trauma Cycle” and how to interrupt it. How do you break down and simplify something as ephemeral and enigmatic as trauma? How can the timing of a traumatic event and a potential intervention to lessen trauma in library spaces be modeled?

I believe that collaboration is key to tackling challenges effectively. With guidance from my advisor, mentors, and other important individuals in my life, I have formulated a preliminary model to depict the cycle and its potential solutions.

Q: Describe your research in five words.

A: Libraries: safe spaces for all.

Q: Who or what inspires you? Why?

A: I come from a long line of strong, intelligent Black women. My mother was the first person in my family to earn a college degree and a PhD. She pushed me to greater heights and supported me in everything I did. My grandmother has consistently been a source of spiritual support. My great-grandmother, Madea, played a significant role in shaping who I am today.

Q: If you could pursue any other career, what would it be and why?

A: Starbucks barista. I’ve always said if they gave you a chair and a living wage, it’d be a perfect job. The amount of creativity you can put into making different drinks and flavors is quite freeing.

Research UNCovered delves into the lives of UNC researchers from all disciplines and career levels, showcasing not only their research prowess but personal experiences in academia and beyond.