Member of the Week: Shahla Bahavar

Shahla BahavarShahla Bahavar is Director of Public Services Division I and Head of the Science & Engineering Library at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Shahla has been an ACRL member since 1997  and is your ACRL member of the week for July 7, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Collegial, mentor, leader.

2. What are you currently reading?  I read a variety of materials, some for pleasure and some for professional development and on my research interests. Due to my personal interest in information literacy and services for international students as well as the concept of the Information Commons and the tiered-reference service model, most my readings are focused around those topics. Currently I’m reading Library Reference Services and Information Literacy: Models for Academic Institutions and Meeting the Needs of Student Users in Academic Libraries: Reaching Across the Great Divide.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Professional, educational, innovative.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value ACRL as the leading professional organization focusing on issues and topics of librarianship that relate directly to academic and research institutions. ACRL presents key information to keep us informed in our rapidly changing environment and offers valuable professional development opportunities through programs that are tailored to our needs, which help us keep up with changes and broaden our knowledge of academic and research libraries. ACRL provides a medium to presenting and publishing on academic library research and best practices while addressing emerging trends through conferences, publications, and online discussion lists.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I contribute to information discovery and access, to faculty scholarship and student learning, and to intellectual and educational endeavors of all kinds. Most importantly, I contribute to the mission of the USC Libraries as well as the University’s strategic vision through key services and activities such as information literacy instruction, research services, collection development, and outreach. Through outreach, I promote and present on the value of the library and its resources and services to the USC community.

6. In your own words:  I’m committed to ensuring intelligent access to research resources for future generations. The library profession is all about passion: passion to help, passion to serve, passion to teach, passion to give.  I love USC and have been with USC Libraries for many years. Working at a large research institution, every day is different and exciting. In addition to my administrative responsibilities as Director and a unit head of a big research library, I contribute significantly to public service activities, including teaching information literacy instruction and research services. I enjoy interacting with students, teaching them something that they didn’t know, opening their eyes to the world of resources that they were not aware of, and facilitating their learning, discovery, and utilization of information.

I am especially sensitive to the needs of the international students and actively work with them to help them get acquainted to the Western library system and the complexity of our institution’s library system. I’m devoted to user services and strive to bring excellence in all my public service activities and other administrative and user-focused service responsibilities.

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.