Member of the Week: Scott Walter

Scott WalterScott Walter is Associate University Librarian for Services and Associate Dean of Libraries at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also teaches in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. An ACRL member since 1998,  Scott is co-editor of the  ACRL collection The Expert Library: Staffing, Sustaining, and Advancing the Academic Library in the 21st Century and your ACRL Member of the Week.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Innovative, Collaborative, Inquisitive.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your iPod)? Mythology; Happy, Happy Clover; and the latest Magic Tree House (with my daughter), The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades (so that I can better understand her new reading curriculum), The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, and, of course, the ACRL “Value of Academic Libraries” report.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Engaging, Challenging, Connecting.

4. Why did you join ACRL? Of all the ALA divisions I visited during that first ALA Annual Conference 12 years ago, ACRL was the one most open to new people and new ideas, and the only one that encompassed the full range of my interests as an academic librarian. I quickly found my home in the Education and Behavior Sciences Section and the Instruction Section, but also found that ACRL was willing to explore areas of emergent interest among its members, which led me to topics like scholarly communication, assessment, and public engagement. Nowhere but ACRL will you find so many colleagues so ready to help on so many issues. ACRL is about the people.

5. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? I came to library school as someone who had worked in student affairs and in the classroom, and what I value about academic librarianship is that I didn’t have to give any of that up to pursue what became my career. There is no other work on campus that allows you to seamlessly engage teaching, research, service across the curriculum and the co-curriculum, or to instantly tap colleagues in the community the way academic librarianship does. There is no place on campus like the library for someone interested in working with students, faculty, staff, and community members at a transformational moment in higher education.

6. In your own words: There has never been a better, more exciting time to work in academic libraries, and I’m just happy that I got to be here for it!

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