Meagan Lacy is an Assistant Librarian and liaison to World Languages and Philosophy at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana. Meagan has been an ACRL member since 2009, and is your ACRL member of the week for May 5, 2014.
1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, creative, tenacious.
2. What are you currently reading? I just finished Mary Kay Zuravleff’s The Bowl is Already Broken. It is one of the titles that I selected for my book club, which I started a year ago at my university’s library. (The book club is part of my larger campaign to spread a culture of recreational reading on my campus.) Other recent pleasure reads include: Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette, which makes me homesick for my friends and family back in the Pacific Northwest, Laurie Notaro’s It Looked Different on the Model, and Nora Ephron’s I Remember Nothing. In case you can’t tell, I like to laugh.
3. Describe ACRL in three words: Perceptive, responsive, inspiring.
4. What do you value about ACRL? The best part about ACRL is all of the people! There is so much variety within the profession, and so many committees within the organization, that you would be hard pressed to not to find a niche and a network of colleagues who share your passions. Also because of this variety, it is a place that embraces and rewards interdisciplinary thinking.
Several presentations from the last ACRL conference (held here in Indy!) come to mind: “Mapping the Motor City’s Cinemas: A Collaborative Digital Humanities Project,” “Tell Me a Story: The Use of Narrative as a Tool for Instruction,” and “Imagining the Future of Library Instruction: How Feminist Pedagogy Can Transform the Way You Teach and How Students Learn.” I can’t think of too many other professional meetings where one would find such creativity and diversity of thought. I find this open-minded and inclusive approach reassuring: through ACRL, I will always be able to find new ways to change and grow in the profession as well as people who will support me along the way.
5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? A strong service orientation. I think, because of my experience as a first-generation college student, I am especially sensitive to students’ “library anxiety.” This sensitivity informs the way that I provide reference, instruction, and other services. I always try to reach out to my students and anticipate their needs rather than wait for them to come to me.
6. In your own words: I became a librarian primarily because I was attracted to the profession’s core values—its democratic mission and its commitment to lifelong learning through information literacy. As an academic librarian, I believed that I could empower students to take control of their own learning so that they could succeed not only in school but also in their personal lives. Obviously, if students do not know how to effectively find, use, and evaluate information, they will struggle academically as well as professionally. But, even worse, without these skills they cannot fully participate in our democracy; they can’t be free. This is the thought that motivates all of the work that I do. Whether I am teaching a class, meeting a student for a research consultation, or uploading a faculty member’s article into our instuitional repository, my main incentive is to democratize learning. Having previously worked in public and private K-12 schools, I saw firsthand the difference information makes, the advantage—the privilege—of better access. I hope to narrow this divide.
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 email@example.com for more information.