Debra Kolah

Job Title
Head of User Experience
(713) 348-2350
User Experience - UX

Debra Kolah is Head of the User Experience Office at Rice University's Fondren Library, which works to improve the way that the community interacts with the library digitally and physically. She leads her team to do user research, conduct usability tests, and utilizes ethnography and other methods to learn user preferences, create compelling customer experiences, and engage users in service design. Debra also supports collection development and library instruction in the areas of Physics, Mathematics, Astronomy, Statistics and Computational Applied Mathematics and Operations Research. She created and helps facilitate the Fondren Library Ambassadors, a student advisory board that helps improve Fondren services and spaces.  She has served as the Chair of the Special Libraries Association PAM Division (Physics, Math, and Astronomy Librarians), as a President of the Texas Chapter of the SLA, and created the UX (User Experience) Caucus of the Special Libraries Association. Additionally, she has served as the appointed Librarian to the American Physical Society on their Publications Oversight Committee, and on the Institute of Physics Publishing (IOPP) Library Advisory Board. 

The UX Office supports many paid student interns each semester, and Debra was nominated by a student member of the Class of '23, and awarded a Rice Career Champion Award by the Rice Center for Career Development to recognize her work in mentoring students in their professional development. 

Debra was a first-generation and low-income student who attended college on a Pell Grant as an undergrad. She completed a BA in English and Sociology from Sam Houston State University, and a Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from the University of Texas. A proud lifelong learner, she has done postgraduate work at Rice University, and most recently at Sam Houston State University in Higher Education Leadership. 

She is passionate about helping faculty, students, and staff have an amazing library experience!  

Google Scholar Profile

SKILLS and expertise: User Experience, usability testing, accessibility, focus groups, facilitation, library instruction, citation analysis, assessment, survey creation and analysis, oral histories, and subject librarian expertise. 

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