Member of the Week: Paula Dempsey

Paula DempseyPaula Dempsey is Research Services and Resources Librarian and Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago Daley Library. Paula has been an ACRL member since 1991 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 4, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, dogged, fun-loving.

2. What are you currently reading?  Giving Voice to Values by Mary C. Gentile was a gift from a former colleague at DePaul University; it gives creative techniques for making values talk a routine part of decision making. And I’m on my umpteenth trip around the world with Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, in Patrick O’Brian’s 20-volume set of seafaring novels set in the 19th-century British Navy — I think of it as the adventures Jane Austen’s brothers were having while she crafted novels at home.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Connective, innovative, educative

4. What do you value about ACRL? I appreciate ARCL as a network of members helping one another navigate change in the profession, a source of new learning, and an advocate for libraries in academia and public policy.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I bring systems thinking to connect academic research, the curriculum, and student needs. The more we know as librarians about what new knowledge is being generated in our areas of specialty (especially on our own campuses), where the curriculum and pedagogy are headed, and how students approach learning, the more effectively we can keep our services and resources relevant.

6. In your own words:  It’s a privilege to be part of a community where ideas are valued, interrogated, and expanded to their limits. Making the time to take ideas seriously and to strive to generate new ones means engaging in a tug-of-war with the everyday challenges of making our organizations efficient and serving our users effectively. I focus on finding meaning in the work and not forgetting to have fun along the way.

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.