Circle of Friends: Melissa Hubbard

The ACRL Circle of Friends acknowledges the sustained generosity of those who have been Friends of ACRL for five or more years. The Friends of ACRL was created to provide a means for the association to take bold steps above and beyond its traditional member programs and services. Rapidly changing demographic, economic, and technological trends are presenting academic libraries and librarians with new challenges and competition that demand immediate solutions. The Friends of ACRL have responded to these new challenges and provided additional support that will enhance and ensure the relevance of our profession. To join or learn more about the Friends of ACRL, please visit the ACRL website.

Melissa HubbardMelissa Hubbard is the head of Special Collections & Archives at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. Melissa has been an ACRL member since 2006 and joined the ACRL Circle of Friends earlier this year.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Advocate, troublemaker, Gryffindor.

2. Why do you support the Friends of ACRL? I received a scholarship to the 2008 RBMS conference just a few months after I got my first professional job as a rare books librarian. It is not at all an exaggeration to say that receiving that scholarship is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I don’t know where my career would be now if I hadn’t. I donate to the scholarship fund every year now because I hope I can provide the same kind of experience for those new to the field of special collections.

3. What might someone be surprised to know about you? I started my college career as a flute performance major, and I wanted to be a concert musician. I decided that wasn’t for me after a couple of years, but I do have one significant musical accomplishment: I have played Carnegie Hall.

4. Since you’ve become a member of ACRL, tell us about someone who influenced you in some way? Wow, I could never name just one person. RBMS is full of creative, generous, inspiring professionals at all stages of their careers and I have learned so much from so many.

5. What do you hope ACRL will achieve in the near future (or the long term)? I hope that ACRL will serve as a space for academic librarians to find ways to make a greater positive impact on communities outside the academy. I believe that academic libraries can and should serve a critical role in connecting the knowledge production and teaching that occurs in colleges and universities to broader communities, with a focus on building a more equitable, compassionate, and just society of lifelong learners. Education is a human right, but currently many people in the US do not have access to higher education, research collections, and/or crucial information technology. Academic librarians should do everything we can to bridge that gap.

6. In your opinion, what is the most important work that ACRL does? ACRL gives incoming professionals a clear path to forming connections to others in the field and developing their own identities as professionals. Without those pathways, I don’t think our field would be nearly as vibrant.