Circle of Friends: Helen H. Spalding

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.

Helen SpaldingHelen H. Spalding served as ACRL President 2002-2003, and is a charter member of the Friends of ACRL (founded in 1998).

1. Describe yourself in three words:  Grateful, Active, Committed.

2. Why do you support the Friends of ACRL? ACRL is exceptionally administered with integrity, accountability, and transparency.  The variety of programs and services ACRL provides members is amazing, given the budget within which it operates and its dependence on volunteer leadership.  Student and members’ ability to attend conferences, and ACRL’s revenue streams are not adequate to fulfill all needs.  The ACRL Friends funds are necessary to provide scholarships for conference attendance and awards encouraging and recognizing innovation, to strengthen ACRL’s advocacy on behalf of our library users, and to fund strategic initiatives.  If each of us contributes what we can, the Friends has the ability to continue to make a crucial difference in individual academic librarians’ professional development and in our ability to make a positive difference for those we serve.  Donors can be confident their funds are handled responsibly and effectively.

3. What might someone be surprised to know about you?  As a retiree, I love being active as a volunteer and in singing, readers theater, a drama group, a book group, and as Chair of the local public library board.

4. Since you’ve become a member of ACRL, tell us about someone who influenced you in some way? So many mentors and colleagues have influenced me, many without knowing the impact they made.  Each gave a different perspective on leadership and/or service, and each saw and encouraged potential in me that I did not see in myself.  Charles Churchwell, Kaye Gapen, Hugh Atkinson, Carla Stoffle, JoAnn Segal, Liz Salzer, Mary Ellen Davis, Sue Martin, Sarah Pritchard, Camila Alire, Betsy Wilson, Theresa Byrd, Ray English, John Popko, Louise Sherby, Elizabeth Henry, Brenda Dingley, Marilyn Carbonell, and Adriene Lim are only some of those who inspired me to grow and encourage others to make the most of their potential. (Forgive me for not naming so many others who made a critical difference to me and to so many others!)

5. What do you hope ACRL will achieve in the near future (or the long term)? I hope ACRL continues to remain sustainable as an effective member association, and is the go-to voice for academic librarianship in the higher education, scholarly communication, and legislative arenas.  Too often, the strength of the whole is not valued on behalf of the many different concerns of the association.

6. In your opinion, what is the most important work that ACRL does? ACRL provides a place of professional engagement that greatly enhances what librarians can gain through education and experience. Incredibly bright, creative, sharing colleagues generate ideas, inspiration, advocacy, networking, and programs that are richer for the collaboration.  Together, we bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives, enriching the impact we have on librarianship, teaching, learning, and scholarship more than what we could accomplish separately for our libraries and higher education. The cost of dues and conference attendance always has been worth what I have gained personally and professionally through participation.  I can continue to say thank you through the ACRL Friends.