Editor’s Note: This post is the first in a series highlighting ACRL sections written by a group of ALA Emerging Leaders. Check ACRL Insider over the next several months for more. And don’t miss their posts on ACRLog as well.
Starting out as a newly minted librarian, I knew that I wanted to get involved in ACRL but I wasn’t sure how to pick the sections that were going to be a good match for me. Many of the sections seemed more focused than my limited experience was equipped to handle. A fresh degree in hand, but no job under my belt yet, I came to the conclusion that the University Libraries Section (ULS) was a good jumping off point. ULS is one of the three “type of library” sections of ACRL and focuses on those who work in university libraries that serve a graduate population. In a recent conversation with Kim Leeder, the current vice-chair of ULS, I found she had a similar take on the section:
“We’re one of the broader sections that address a wide variety of issues in university libraries. Personally I think we’re a great starting place for anyone in a university library because you don’t have to decide on a focus area right away.”
What else appealed to me? I found it easy to get involved in a committee right away. After volunteering, I was quickly appointed to the membership committee and began active work on new policies and recruiting. The section members are friendly and I have been able to make connections through volunteering. Also, there is a fun evening social at each conference, providing a more informal way to make new acquaintances.
What are some of the other advantages of joining ULS?
- Join a network of over 6000 academic librarians.
- Be a part of quality programming such as “Millennials in Graduate School: How do We Support Them?” or the upcoming ALA Annual program “Demonstrating Excellence in Higher Education: What Universities are Doing, What Libraries are Doing.”
- The opportunity to participate in the development of standards and guidelines various operations relating to university libraries.
- Keep a finger on the pulse on new directions in university library environments.
As you think about where in ACRL to call home, consider ULS. Now that I’m almost two years into my career, I feel I’ve found a professional home in this section by participating in events, committee work, and taking advantage of social opportunities. If you are interested in learning more about this section check out their blog, section page, or come to the Saturday session at ALA Annual in DC.
Assistant Professor of Library Science and Public Services Librarian
University of Alaska Southeast