Emily Frigo is one of two candidates this year for ULS Secretary. She is the Instructional Services, First Year Initiatives Coordinator at Grand Valley State University. Read this interview to learn more about Emily and what her goals would be if elected as Secretary.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became an academic librarian.
I double majored in Art History and Italian, and I always thought I would go for a masters in art history. My mom actually made an offhand comment that led me to consider librarianship. It took me awhile to appreciate that being curious about many things rather than having one overriding passion was a strength.
Originally from Wisconsin, I moved to Michigan to be a liaison librarian Grand Valley State University over ten years ago. I am now the First Year Initiatives Coordinator with an eye towards the library’s engagement and support of new students. This year, I have taken on the additional role as our Designated Unit Head for Library Personnel Actions and facilitate the contract renewal process within our unit.
2. How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?
I have been involved with the ULS Academic Outreach Committee from 2014 to 2016. I joined a dynamic group and I was thrilled by how quickly our virtual discussions built community. I became interested in ULS for it comprehensive focus as well as its reputation for inclusiveness and engaged members. I am still curious by a wide many things: student success, tenure/promotion criteria, information literacy, or creating professional development opportunities to name a few. I would welcome the opportunity to bring these interests together in my work on ULS.
3. In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in university libraries?
Change and transition are some themes. Declining student enrollment is a hot topic in Michigan and many other states. Rather than view this as a budgetary concern, how do we turn this into a reinvigorated focus on student success initiatives? Inclusiveness in all senses of the word is timely as well. Student demographics are changing and our roles as librarians are changing. How do we build a sustainable and accessible collection? In the current climate, how do we communicate and uphold our professional values?
4. What goals for the section would you have if elected to this position? How do you envision committees and members helping the section achieve those goals?
I would facilitate as well as lead. I would look at recommendations from current/past committee leaders. I also hope to focus on committee member engagement, community building, and creating professional development opportunities.
5. Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?
In my mind, staying relevant means checking in with the community you serve, continuing to ask questions, and being willing to change when needed. I would also like to ask committee members about future directions and ensure that we have the proper infrastructure to support ongoing work. Just like our profession, the higher education landscape is rapidly evolving, and we need to be cognizant of these changes so we can actively engage and have a progressive response rather than letting it chase us.
6. Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.
I am a closet singer. I sing in the car and to my two children.