The glass is half full.

It is also 100% awesome.

Jeff Ginger


Graduate School of Library and Information Science PhD Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2009 - 2015
Area of Interest: Social and Community Informatics
Dissertation: Capturing the Context of Digital Literacy: A Case Study of Illinois Public Libraries in Underserved Communities
Course work included history and foundations of information science, additional research methods experience (qualitative) and various individual topics of study in social and community informatics: distributed knowledge, ubiquitous learning, IT and the black experience, community engagement, human-computer interaction, geographic information systems, and digital literacy
Department of Sociology PhD Sociology (transferred, incomplete) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2006 - 2009
Masters paper: The Facebook Project: Performance and Construction of Digital Identity
Course work equivalent to a masters with emphasis on science and technology studies, race and ethnicity; classes included social science research methods (ethnography, interviews, surveys, intermediate statistics), classical sociology theory, exploration into individual topics of identity and racism, art interactivity and interface design
Department of Sociology and Computer Science BA Sociology, minor in Computer Science University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2002 - 2006
Course work and senior projects included digital ethnography, the design of accessible web resources, black leadership + leveraging ICTs and community history and racism in Illinois

Work experience

CU Community Fab Lab Director

CU Community Fab Lab
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2014 - present

Oversight and guidance of all operations at local and state-wide locations, handling of local and international PR

Grew staff two fold and leveraged a range of resources to increase funding by a factor of ten; quadrupled total level of programming

Continual "lead from the front" style involvement with many operational aspects of the lab, including community engagement, instruction, IT, media, etc

Development and coordination of a Fab Lab research team and multiple unit-level course, event and grant collaborations

Coordinated summer camp operations, personally leading and developing several and seeding others; 40+ unique offerings in total, 400+ youth

Illinois Informatics Institute Program Coordinator and Adjunct Faculty

Illinois Informatics Institute

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2014 - present

Development, execution and evaluation for numerous state and nationally-funded grants

Assist with administration and event coordination, mentor student groups, oversaw CU Make

Membership in the Prairie Futures working group, with a focus on programming for the new Design Center

Developed and taught two Informatics + Art Education studio/survey courses on makerspaces and community engagement; directed several independent studies

School of Information Sciences


School of Information Sciences (formerly GSLIS)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2011 - present
Courses taught include (1) The Design of Usable Information Interfaces, (2) Web Technologies and Techniques and (3) Programming Web Mashups
CU Community Fab Lab Operations Lead and Community Outreach CU Community Fab Lab
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2012 - 2014

Helped to transition the Fab Lab from a small-scale all-volunteer operation to a hybrid staff-volunteer community-engagement network

Much like running a small non-profit, this job entailed many tasks: (1) program implementation and curriculum development, (2) recruiting and managing staff and volunteers, (3) community engagement and media production, (4) equipment acquisition, upgrades and maintenance and (5) research, evaluation, grant writing and publishing

Center for Digital Inclusion and the Community Informatics Initiative Research Assistant School of Information Sciences (formerly GSLIS)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2008 - 2009, 2012
Assisted with web development and graphic design as well as program development, execution and evaluation with several grants for both the Center for Digital Inclusion and Community Informatics Initiative
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Teaching Assistant

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Illinois Informatics Institute
Department of Sociology

Program on Intergroup Relations
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2007 - 2011
Courses included (1) Libraries, Information and Society, (2) Community Engagement (GSLIS), (3) Social Aspects of Information Systems, (4) Social Perceptions of the Family, (5) Social Research Methods, (6) Introduction to Sociology, and (7) Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation on Race and Ethnicity
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Computer and Network Technician

University Housing
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2003 - 2008
Extensive IT technician and user support experience, also included an internship for CDW Corporation
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Web Design and Development

ROC Group Chicago (2003 only)

Numerous University organizations

2003 - 2008
  • Web design, development and support for student, professional and academic organizations



Listed in "Ten Notable Dissertations of 2015" by American Libraries magazine

List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent (Fall 2007, Spring 2007, Spring 2008, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Fall 2014)



Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab 2011-present

Volunteered here before I worked here; I still volunteer time well above and beyond my regular workload

I make sure the Fab Lab stays committed to its mission of Public Engagement – this means the lab will always be an equal balance between community outreach, free public access and services for University research and classes

This includes volunteering with the connected community organizations like The Urbana Free Library and Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center for events and workshops

Tap In Leadership Academy 2011-2015

Assisted with various digital literacy workshops, including helping kids to use multimedia equipment to plan, capture and edit video interviews

Preliminary summer camp workshops with the CUC Fab Lab, initial off-site mini-fab lab site

New Hope Academy 2012-2013

Wrote and secured a $3000 grant from the City of Champaign to obtain new equipment and hire someone to teach classes

Developed and led digital literacy workshops (creating videogames, learning computer hardware), rebuilt and setup two computer labs (hardware, software, network, policy)

Community Informatics Club (video overview) 2008-2012

Conducted numerous volunteer and education projects in collaboration with community groups in Champaign county, East St. Louis, and Chicago

The club was key to forming and retaining the Urbana Free Library technology volunteers, conducted workshops like Storytelling in [stop] Motion

Collaboration with the Urbana Independent Media Center - Zine Library, Books2Prisoners, WRFU

Awarded a $2500 grant by UIUC student affairs for outstanding, cutting-edge community service

Various other clubs and organizations at the University of Illinois 2003-2013

Eclectic Design and Research Group, 2011-2013

Social Informatics Reading Groups, 2011-2012

GSLIS Action and Town Hall organization group, 2011

Research Writing Group, 2010-2011

Association of Undergraduate Sociologists, 2003-2008

Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, 2005-2007

Beckwith Hall Training and Web Accessibility, Spring 2006

Avalanche alternatives to drinking weekend program, 2004-2005

I am also an Eagle Scout. I renovated a bird sanctuary to make it accessible again back in 2002.



Ginger, J. (2016). Starting a Small Community Fab Lab. Videos published as a deliverable for the Digital Innovation and Leadership Program, 2016.

Ginger, J., Nelson, J. (2016). Fab Labs: Opportunities for Education, Research, Entrepreneurship and Communities. Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (abroad), 03.2016

Ginger, J. (2015). Fab Labs: Opportunities for Education, Research, Entrepreneurship and Communities. University of Costa Rica, 04.2015

CU Community Fab Lab Road Show, numerous dates, events and locations, 2014-2015

Nicholson, S., Ginger, J., Mayer, B. (2013). “Monster or Bust: Enabling Youth through 3D Modeling and Printing.” A presentation in Creating Game-Based Makerspaces, American Library Association Annual Conference, Chicago, 06.2013

Building Capacity for Innovation through a Local Community Fab Lab Network, Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago, 11.2012

  • Consulting for a coalition of leaders at Harold Washington, including Chicago Public Library (Brian Bannon), YouMedia (Yolande Wilburn), Nettelhorst Schools (Ted Ganchiffe), and DePaul University (Scott Walter). I was brought in as a consultant to help them start their own community Fab Lab network
  • View the Pecha Kucha (short version) of the talk, given at GSLIS in a Flash, UIUC, 10.2012
  • Community-oriented version of the talk at Bridging the Digital Divide: A Resource and Information Fair to Identify and Improve Digital Media Literacy Programs in Champaign, 10.2012

User Experience Design, a presentation to the Illinois IDEA organization at UIUC, 10.2012

Ginger, J., McGrath, R. Barrett, B. & McCreary, V. (2012). “Mini Labs: Building Capacity For Innovation through a Local Community Fab Lab NetworkFab8nz (agenda), Wellington, New Zealand 2012.

Fostering Digital Literacies with Storytelling in [Stop] Motion, GSLIS in a Flash, UIUC, 10.2011

The São Tomé Map Project: Empowering People through Geographic Information Systems, GIS Fair 2009, UIUC, 12.2009

Uncovering Racism on Facebook, a follow-up, a presentation to Dene Grigar’s class, DTC 475, Washington State University, Vancouver, 07.2009

Facebook and Ubiquitous Learning, HASTAC conference 2009, UIUC, 04.2009

Web2.0 Resources and the Digital Divide: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, presentation to the Mortenson Associates, UIUC, 10.2008

The Facebook Project: Social Capital and the Chief, Ethnography of the University Initiative Student Conference, UIUC, 11.2007


CU Community Fab Lab Road Show, numerous dates, events and locations, 2014-2016

The Digital Innovation Leadership Program (DILP), GSLIS Research Showcase, UIUC, 04.2015

Service Roles, Community Engagement and Digital Literacies: A qualitative study of Illinois Public Libraries in Underserved Communities, GSLIS Research Showcase, UIUC, 03.2014

Champaign Urbana Community Fab Lab, Public Engagement Symposium, UIUC, 03.2014

The Local Fab Lab Network as Community Informatics: Avenues for LIS-oriented Inquiry, GSLIS Research Showcase, UIUC, 03.2013

Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab: Community MiniLabs, Public Engagement Symposium, UIUC, 02.2012

GSLIS Student Community Engagement 2012, Public Engagement Symposium, UIUC, 04.2012

Enabling Spatial Data Infrastructure Development: Collaboration, Supportive Web Technologies and São Tomé, iSchools iConference 2011, Seattle, 01.2011

Community Informatics Club, Public Engagement Symposium, UIUC, 04.2011

Exploring Methods in Community Informatics, iSchools iConference 2010, UIUC, 02.2010

Academic Workshops

Twidale, M., Ginger, J. Organisciak, P., Floyd, I., Smith, B. (2013). “Tech Learning Potluck” and “Design Jams in iSchools: Approaches, and examples,” iSchools iConference 2013, Fort Worth, 02.2013

Twidale, M., Ginger, J. Organisciak, P., Floyd, I. (2012). “Design Jam Session: Approaches, Challenges and Examples,” iSchools iConference 2012, Toronto, 02.2012


Ginger, J. (2015). "Capturing the context of digital literacy: a case study of Illinois public libraries in underserved communities." Dissertation. Available online at the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship, IDEALS

See (blog) and (self-publishing) for my best written academic work. Some of my PhD course papers are available online

Ginger, J. (2009). “Storytelling in [Stop] Motion.” VO[I]CES, 2(1), 9. Available online at the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship, IDEALS

Ginger, J. (2008). "The Facebook Project - The Missing Box: The Racial Politics Behind the Facebook Interface." Available online at the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship, IDEALS. First follow-up, second follow-up

Ginger, J. (2008). "The Facebook Project - Social Capital and the Chief." Available online at the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship, IDEALS

Ginger, J. (2008). “Digital Divide 2.0: African American Communities and Library Resources in Illinois" Available online at the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship, IDEALS
LoDolce, K., Ayad, M., Ginger, J., McCauley, S., Thompson, A., Williams, K., Jamali, B. (2008). “Prairienet and community networking: An annotated bibliography.” Available online at the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship, IDEALS



Illinois Learning Sciences Design Initiative (ILSDI) 2015-2016 Seed Funding Program - “Making a difference: Project based approaches to STEM engagement in Middle School.” In collaboration with Emma Mercier (PI), Sharlene Denos, Barbara Hug and University High School staff, awarded $37,000

Advisor for Makers UIUC - CU Make, winners of the 2016 Chancellor’s Public Engagement Student Fellows Award. In collaboration with Joey Lund, Sophia Pipathsouk, Cameron Alberg, Lawrence Elizter and Isak Massman, awarded $825

The Chancellor’s Public Engagement Student Fellow Award (2015) for Open-Source Makerspace Curriculum, in collaboration with The Urbana Free Library. Awarded $1500.

Department of Economic Opportunity and Commerce – Eliminate the Digital Divide (2014). “Digital Literacy for ALL.” In collaboration with Martin Wolske (PI), Lisa Bievenue and the Center for Digital Inclusion, awarded $106,000

University of Illinois Extension and Outreach Initiative – Enhancing Economic Development in Illinois with Digital Tech Hub Creativity Studios. “Digital Innovation and Leadership Program.” In collaboration with Jon Gant (PI), Lisa Bievenue and the Center for Digital Inclusion, awarded $300,000

City of Champaign Digital Divide Grant (2012). Written in collaboration with Reverend Nash of New Hope Academy, Champaign in collaboration with UC2B outreach operations, awarded $3000

Community Informatics Initiative Grant for the Institution of Museum and Library Services (2009). Assistance with reporting in collaboration with Sharon Irish


Technical Skills

For example work please see my portfolio.

Functional Aptitude - moderate experience and consistent use over a few years

  • Hardware: Extensive experience evaluating, repairing and maintaining computers of all kinds
  • Networking: Administration, cloud and VM solutions, small-scale web, file and game server applications, customization of XBMC and media scraping techniques
  • Web Development: HTML(5), CSS(3), JavaScript, XML, php, MySQL, Adobe Dreamweaver, Wordpress, Emmet, responsive design techniques, UIkit framework
  • Rapid Fabrication: Netfabb, Cura, Blender, Sculptris, TinkerCAD, AGIsoft, Arduino, Silhouette Studio, CNC routing and 3D scanning/printing packages, various tool drivers and interfaces
  • Video, Rendering, Graphics: Adobe Premiere, AfterEffects, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Inkscape, iMovie, Blender, Windows MovieMaker, Inkscape
  • Audio: Cakewalk Sonar and a variety of MIDI softsynths and packages, Goldwave, Sony SoundForge, Audacity, pitch correction software
  • Office: Adobe Acrobat Pro, Microsoft Office (most programs, all versions)
  • Security: Virus and spyware trouble-shooting, network-based backup and imaging techniques
  • OS: Windows, OSX, Ubuntu, iOS, Android
  • Past familiarities: ESRI ArcGIS, Google Maps API, Visual Studio .NET, C++, Drupal, Omeka, Wikimedia, other open-source platforms

“Soft” Skills – often related to the above

  • User experience / interaction / information design, usability testing and accessibility (design)
  • Rapid prototyping and phased-fabrication for varied applications (invention)
  • Teaching, leadership and organization (people management)
  • Qualitative and quantitative social science research techniques (market studies)
  • Critical sociology and divergent thinking skills (cultural studies)
  • Editing, production and promotion (storytelling)
  • Context-based writing, speech and graphic design (communication)

Contact Me



Skype / Geph85


1205 W Clark St
Urbana, IL 61801

Full Bio

Jeff Ginger is a Program Coordinator with the Illinois Informatics Institute and Adjunct Instructor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His work includes aspects of all three missions of the University of Illinois: public engagement, teaching and research. Jeff draws upon a robust technical, multimedia and social science background, accented by teaching and organizational leadership, and first earned his rabble-rousing reputation as a result of activist research on structural racism as observed on Facebook. His recent doctoral scholarship and teaching is primarily situated in social and community informatics: deciphering the discourse and effects of the digital divide and Web2.0, critical pedagogy in technology education and contextualized study of human-computer interaction. Jeff’s dissertation focused specifically on the investigation of how public libraries foster digital literacies through community engagement, which ultimately led him to his current work as the director of the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab. Here he continues to lend a critical but optimistic perspective to the study and implementation of makerspaces, particularly by tackling some of its most key challenges, such as cultivating and supporting diversity, a prerequisite to innovation, and sustainably establishing capacity-building technology education services in collaboration with underserved communities.