Member of the Week: Donald A. Barclay

Donald A. Barclay Donald Barclayis Deputy University Librarian at the University of California, Merced in Merced, CA. Donald has been an ACRL member since 2011 and is your ACRL member of the week for January 23, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Disruptive smart aleck.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? My serious reading right now is Higher Education in America by Derek Curtis Bok. My guilty pleasure is reading for its humorous/serious insights into twenty-something thinking on pop culture, gaming, politics, and education.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Best of ALA.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL stakes out the tricky turf that lies between pragmatism and vision. If a professional organization is too focused on pragmatism, on how to keep doing what everyone is already doing, the result is stagnation. If, on the other hand, an organization is all about vision with no grounding in the realities of the people who have to show up for work and do a job every day, the result is a disconnect from membership. Not everyone will agree, but I think the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy is a great example of the balance that ACRL manages to achieve. The Framework is visionary enough to really challenge the profession without being so disconnected that it can’t be applied to the real academic world in which the membership lives and breathes.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I like to think that my main contribution has been, and still is, to keep my library on a trajectory that looks to the future rather than the past. When I came to UC Merced in 2002, there were no buildings, students, or faculty. Along with a team of smart, visionary, risk-taking people, I got to help invent a research library for the twenty-first century. In planning a new kind of research library we got a lot more things right than we got wrong, and I’m proud of that. As our campus has grown, the daily grind of serving a population of flesh-and-blood students and faculty has made it a lot harder to take the risks required to stay on a forward-leaning trajectory. Harder, but not impossible. One of my cheery managerial mantras is, “If we aren’t looking five years ahead today, we will be five years behind tomorrow.”

6. In your own words: I’ve been an academic librarian longer than some of the people I now work with have been alive. What I love about my profession is that it has allowed me to work directly with students (through instruction and reference), to dabble in scholarly pursuits (writing and publishing), and to grapple with the administrative realities (budget, human resources, organizational management) of higher education. When I started as a professional librarian, I had no interest in becoming a manager/administrator, yet that part of the job has turned out to be both intellectually stimulating and rewarding. It’s hard to imagine a job that would give someone a more wholistic understanding of higher education than a career as an academic librarian. Even though the rigid hierarchy of higher education positions academic librarians far lower in the pecking order than we deserve, it has been a blast sitting at the intersection of learning, scholarship, and administration while doing what I can to influence the direction of my profession, my campus, and the academy writ large.

Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Mary Jane Petrowski at for more information.

ACRL Comments to NIH on Data Management, Sharing, and Citation

On January 19, 2017, ACRL provided comments to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Science Policy in response to their request for information on data management and sharing strategies and priorities. The NIH sought public comments in order to consider how digital scientific data generated from NIH-funded research should be managed, and to the fullest extent possible, made publicly available; and, how to set standards for citing shared data and software.

As reflected in previous ACRL support for governmental policies and legislation that facilitate open access and open education, ACRL is fundamentally committed to the open exchange of information to empower individuals and facilitate scientific discovery. In the information provided to NIH, ACRL shared its perspective on high priority data to be shared, the length of time these data should be made available for secondary research purposes, and important features of technical guidance for data and software citation. The ACRL comments concluded, ” scholarly data repositories, which are often within the remit of the University Library, deal with issues of data and software citation on a regular basis. We encourage NIH to reach out to members of this community who have developed practical expertise in these areas, and to consider librarians as active partners in their efforts to implement effective data and software citation. ACRL is happy to work with NIH as a bridge to the academic and research library community, helping to build effective collaborations and partnerships between communities.”

Read more in ACRL’s full comments to NIH.

ACRL and Choice Launch New App

ACRL-Choice appACRL and its Choice publishing unit have announced the launch of a new mobile app. The ACRL-Choice app delivers to academic and research librarians the latest collection and professional development content, along with ACRL and Choice news and information, in one accessible, mobile-friendly format.

“Mobile access to information is more important than ever in today’s fast paced, on-the-go world” said ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen Davis. “We are delighted to bring ACRL and Choice content into the app space to better reach and serve our members along with the academic and research library community.”

Freely available and continuously updated, the new ACRL-Choice app offers the following features:

  • The latest ACRL and Choice news and information, including content from the ACRLog and ACRL Insider blogs, along with Choice’s Ask an Archivist and community college editorial features.
  • Collection-development topics and titles of interest pulled from Choice’s Hot Topics, Editors’ Picks, LibGuides, and the ACI Scholarly Blog Index.
  • A variety of professional-development offerings, including archives of ACRL-Choice webinars and information on ACRL e-Learning programs.

“We are excited to have Choice and ACRL teams working together on this new tool,” added Choice Editor and Publisher Mark Cummings. “The ACRL-Choice app provides academic librarians with the information they need in a convenient mobile format to make their professional lives easier.”

Accessible on Apple and Android tablets and phones, the ACRL-Choice app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.

Choice Presents POV Videos of Staffer’s First ALA Conference

Choice digital media coordinator Mark Derks will chronicle his first attendance at an ALA conference, the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting, in a series of video clips to be posted via the Choice Media Channel on YouTube. These Point of View video clips will be tagged with #ALAMW17POV.

Founded over fifty years ago, Choice has long been known for bringing reliable review coverage and bibliographic essays to the academic library community. Recently, in the interest of providing new tools for the changing needs of today’s librarians, it has launched products including the all-new Choice Reviews database, open access LibGuides, and a popular free webinar series. Now, Choice will present a fresh perspective on conference-going, with staffer Derks documenting his ALA Midwinter Meeting experiences in a POV video diary.

“I’m excited (and a little nervous) to record my first ALA Midwinter Meeting and share it with everyone who visits our YouTube channel,” said Derks. “There are so many people I’m looking forward to meeting and speaking with at the conference. It’ll be cool to bring a little of that to people’s phones and screens—sort of a taste of Midwinter for those who have been #ALAleftbehind.”

Links to the video clips will go out via postings on the Choice Facebook and Twitter account, and will be housed on the Choice Media Channel. The hashtag #ALAMW17POV will be used to mark the videos, and Choice invites other attendees to similarly share their conference experience video clips.

Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women on Saturday, January 21

The ACRL Board of Directors encourages ACRL members attending the ALA Midwinter Meeting to participate in the upcoming Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women from 1 to 5:00 pm on Saturday, January 21, 2017.

According to the website for the event, the Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women was planned as a “peaceful demonstration of solidarity bringing together members of underrepresented communities, women, and their allies in Georgia and nationally.”

During a time when many colleges and universities are working to highlight the importance of protecting diverse learning environments and reaffirming their support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students on their campuses, the march is an opportunity for academic libraries to showcase their role in promoting the free exchange of different viewpoints, as well as privacy and confidentiality in the library. Additionally, this event an opportunity to highlight ACRL’s commitment to addressing issues of diversity, inclusion, justice, and gender equality in our communities.

ALA has made arrangements for members to participate in this historic event, including a poster-making session on the morning of the march from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm in Hall A3 of the Georgia World Congress Center.

The march will begin at the Center for Civil and Human Rights and end at the Georgia State Capitol. People who wish to travel together to the march are encouraged to gather at the poster-making session by 12:15 pm. Maps of the march route and directions to the Center for Civil and Human Rights will be available.

For more information see the Facebook groups for the event below:

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