Editor’s Note: The ACRL Member of the Week feature is taking a brief hiatus so we can profile the 2013 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate each weekday from March 7 – 18. Complete details on candidates for ACRL offices are available on the election website. Make sure to vote for the candidates of your choice starting March 19. Member of the Week will return on March 25.
Douglas K. Lehman is Director of the Wittenberg University Thomas Library in Springfield, Ohio. Douglas has been an ACRL member since 1985 and is a 2013 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Councilor.
1. Describe yourself in three words: Thoughtful, Inquisitive, Steadfast.
2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am reading Lennon: The Man, The Myth,The Music—The Definitive Life by Tim Riley. My iPod has a mix of The Beatles, Sara Watkins, Gram Parsons, Jackson Browne, Buddy Miller, The Rolling Stones, The Decemberists, Jimmy Buffett, Steve Goodman, The Byrds, and many others too numerous to mention.
3. Describe ACRL in three words: Professional, Scholarly, Valuable.
4. Why do you value most about ACRL? ACRL has been an important part of my professional life for the last twenty-five years. It is my professional home and is has provided me with the opportunities to serve on section committees, serve as the chair of two sections and serve on, and chair, ACRL-level committees. It has allowed me to broaden my professional network by making connections with librarians in different types of libraries and it has allowed me to develop friendships that have lasted beyond our time spent working together on committees or in section work. I value those relationships and what it has contributed to my professional growth and also what I have been able to give back to the profession through my work on ACRL committees and in the sections. I truly do not know where I would have found myself in ALA if not for ACRL. It has been a key part of my career and my growth as a librarian.
5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As an academic librarian with faculty rank and tenure on a small liberal arts college campus I have been able to become an integral part of the campus community. By virtue of being an administrator with faculty status I can provide a unique perspective to campus issues by seeing them from the viewpoint of both a faculty member and an administrator. I have been an active participant and leader on faculty committees as a faculty member as well as serving on faculty committees as an ex-officio member by virtue of my role as an administrator. I believe that as academic librarians we also contribute to our student’s education by working with them on research and explaining that research is not easy and it is a process that must be learned. We teach our student’s how to build their body of knowledge in the research process by taking what they knew and then adding what they learned in this encounter to understand what they are capable of doing.
6. In your own words: I have been very proud and happy that I made a career as an academic librarian. I have met many good and interesting people during my career and have watched the profession change from a print-based operation to one with many more options for the delivery of information. Even though I have been involved in library administration for much of my career, I still enjoy working at the reference desk and spending time with students talking with them and teaching them how to take their research to new levels. I feel fortunate to have worked in virtually every area of the library during my career, starting as a cataloger in a small public library to working with state documents at a state historical society to reference and technical services administration in a community college to head of reference, instruction and government documents in a state university and now as library director at a small, private liberal arts college. The variety in the types of libraries I have worked in and the range of positions I have held prevented my career from becoming stale and continue to provide new challenges every day.
But, one also realizes that you don’t get to where you are by yourself. There are family supporting you and mentors that provide direction for you during your career. Everyone has a mentor or two during their career, individuals who provide you with direction and guidance. It may not be a formal process, but it is there nonetheless. For me four librarians have served that role: David Kaser (Indiana University Graduate Library School), Glenn Tripplett (Miami-Dade Community College), Milton Crouch (University of Vermont), and Tom Kirk (Earlham College). Each of these librarians, in some way, have provided guidance and inspiration for me throughout my career. It is my hope that I have done the same for other, younger librarians.