Author Archives: Sophie Skinner

Member of the Week: Piper Martin

Piper MartinPiper Martin is the humanities and communication liaison librarian at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY. Piper has been an ACRL member since 2003 and is your ACRL member of the week for February 21, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Empathetic, skeptical, reflective.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps by Eric Hazan; A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James; Memories from Moscow to the Black Sea by Teffi; and Information Literacy and Social Justice edited by Lua Gregory and Shana Higgins.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, connective, supportive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL has been crucial in expanding my professional horizons, from serving on committees to attending inspiring conferences to reading its publications. I especially appreciate the structure ACRL provides to help connect librarians from all over North America; I have formed invaluable relationships—both collaborators and friends—through ACRL that have enriched my work and life immeasurably. Lastly, I am grateful for ACRL’s efforts to move our profession forward.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a liaison librarian in the research and instruction department of my library, my focus is on teaching and learning. I collaborate with teaching faculty to create dynamic, student-centered assignments and activities for instruction sessions in the disciplines with which I work, individual research consultations, and workshops. I will also teach a 3-credit course in the spring semester that incorporates the ACRL Framework and concepts of social justice. One of the most important aspects of my liaison work is building relationships: with teaching faculty, students, and members of the campus, community, and state. Through these relationships I am able to communicate the library’s importance and connection to the research and teaching that form the core mission of the university.

6. In your own words: I feel extraordinarily fortunate to be in a profession that allows me to regularly interact with so many intelligent, engaged people. It is both energizing and challenging to work alongside students as we grapple with the issues surrounding information in our world, and as trite as it sounds, every day I learn something new and stimulating. I am proud of the way that academic librarians have responded so nimbly to changes in higher education, and I look forward to continuing to create a better environment in which our students, staff, and faculty can learn and grow.


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 mpetrowski@ala.org for more information.

Member of the Week: Christina Chan-Park

Christina Chan-ParkChristina Chan-Park is a science librarian at Baylor University in Waco, TX. She recently joined the presenter team for ACRL’s new licensed workshop Building Your Research Data Management Toolkit: Integrating RDM Into Your Liaison Work. Christina has been an ACRL member since 2013 and is your ACRL member of the week for February 13, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, brain-stormer, learner.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am reading Toddler 411 by Ari Brown and Denise Fields. We adopted a 2-year old boy this past spring and I try to read a few pages each night while he plays during his bath.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, academic, dedicated.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I enjoy being around like-minded people in the ACRL community who have a passion for helping students and faculty succeed.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I have a much longer background as an academic than as a librarian so I often bring to my librarian colleagues a different perspective. The teaching and research faculty realize that I am a librarian by choice and that I have received as rigorous training as they have but are still sometimes surprised at the help and insight I can give them on their work.

6. In your own words: For me after jobs in teaching, research, and administration at the university level, being an academic/research librarian just feels right. I discovered over the years, that I like teaching process rather than content and specifically guiding others through the different stages of research. I like the one-on-one interaction and the exposure to different fields, and I have a soft-spot for graduate students.


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 mpetrowski@ala.org for more information.

Member of the Week: Harriet E. Wintermute

Harriet E. WintermuteHarriet E. Wintermute is the catalog and metadata librarian at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Lincoln, Nebraska. Harriet has been an ACRL member since 2011 and is your ACRL member of the week for February 6, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Creative, introvert, dedicated.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I recently finished Quanta (second in the Shadow Ravens series) and have started The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny (third of the Inspector Gamache series). Sometimes I have several books in progress on different devices and other times I am devoted to reading only one book.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Forward-thinking, supportive, learning.

4. What do you value about ACRL? The academic librarianship community that comes with ACRL is a great resource for networking and support. I also like the professional guidance, training opportunities, and conference programs ACRL offers.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a catalog and metadata librarian at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, I collaborate with colleagues with the goal of facilitating the discoverability of our materials. This often involves original cataloging of e/books, DVDs, games (board and console), and maps, and establishing new name authority records through the Library of Congress’s Name Authority Cooperative program. This also includes enriching our CONTENTdm collections through creating or remediating metadata and through discussions with stakeholders about their subject expertise and metadata expectations.

6. In your own words: Even though I’ve always liked libraries, reading, researching, and learning, I actually came to librarianship by way of Ravelry, an online fiber arts community. For several years, I was a volunteer pattern and yarn database editor at Ravelry. This was my first collaborative experience in creating and maintaining metadata and I enjoyed it so much that I decided librarianship was a good career option for me. As a perennial student engaged in several areas of study over the years, I’ve always loved academic and research environments and how various academic librarians patiently and helpfully guided me towards useful resources and tools. My previous experiences with these librarians have served me well as examples to emulate in my interactions with colleagues and researchers.


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 mpetrowski@ala.org for more information.

Member of the Week: Kristin A. Briney

Kristin BrineyKristin A. Briney is the data services librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With her background in data management, she recently joined the presenter team for ACRL’s new licensed workshop Building Your Research Data Management Toolkit: Integrating RDM Into Your Liaison Work. Kristin has been an ACRL member since 2016 and is your ACRL member of the week for January 30, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Data management evangelist.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently reading Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case by Agatha Christie and can’t wait to start Mary Robinette Kowal’s new book Ghost Talkers.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Leadership, community, learning.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the connections I make with my peers and how much I am able to learn from them. In particular, the Digital Curation Interest Group has been a resource for connecting with other librarians in my area of data management; such peer networks are incredibly important when one works in a newer subfield of librarianship. I also really value publications coming out under the umbrella of ACRL, such as the recent book Databrarianship. There are lots of people doing great data things through ACRL and I’m pleased that I get to learn from them and contribute.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I’m the main data management person on my campus, meaning I spend time teaching graduate students how to better their data practices (through strategic use of real life data horror stories), answer questions on data management plans and data sharing, host workshops on a number of data-related topics, and try to build a better research support network on campus. I also work in the scholarly communications and digital preservation space and try to push the goal a little further on these two issues. Basically, I help with anything on the research data spectrum from data creation to open data.

6. In your own words: I love being on the edge of what the library is doing, though it can be challenging at times—especially as I am starting new services. I have learned a lot and made mistakes, but having good coworkers both inside the library and out of it has made a huge difference. My greatest successes have come from adversity, such as making progress on digital preservation without a formal preservation system and making data management videos to reach out to our many students that never set foot in the library (or even on campus!). It’s a fun time to be doing data work in the library and I’m lucky to have a good support system here to encourage me in this challenge.


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 mpetrowski@ala.org for more information.

Member of the Week: Donald A. Barclay

Donald A. Barclay Donald Barclayis Deputy University Librarian at the University of California, Merced in Merced, CA. Donald has been an ACRL member since 2011 and is your ACRL member of the week for January 23, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Disruptive smart aleck.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? My serious reading right now is Higher Education in America by Derek Curtis Bok. My guilty pleasure is reading Cracked.com for its humorous/serious insights into twenty-something thinking on pop culture, gaming, politics, and education.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Best of ALA.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL stakes out the tricky turf that lies between pragmatism and vision. If a professional organization is too focused on pragmatism, on how to keep doing what everyone is already doing, the result is stagnation. If, on the other hand, an organization is all about vision with no grounding in the realities of the people who have to show up for work and do a job every day, the result is a disconnect from membership. Not everyone will agree, but I think the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy is a great example of the balance that ACRL manages to achieve. The Framework is visionary enough to really challenge the profession without being so disconnected that it can’t be applied to the real academic world in which the membership lives and breathes.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I like to think that my main contribution has been, and still is, to keep my library on a trajectory that looks to the future rather than the past. When I came to UC Merced in 2002, there were no buildings, students, or faculty. Along with a team of smart, visionary, risk-taking people, I got to help invent a research library for the twenty-first century. In planning a new kind of research library we got a lot more things right than we got wrong, and I’m proud of that. As our campus has grown, the daily grind of serving a population of flesh-and-blood students and faculty has made it a lot harder to take the risks required to stay on a forward-leaning trajectory. Harder, but not impossible. One of my cheery managerial mantras is, “If we aren’t looking five years ahead today, we will be five years behind tomorrow.”

6. In your own words: I’ve been an academic librarian longer than some of the people I now work with have been alive. What I love about my profession is that it has allowed me to work directly with students (through instruction and reference), to dabble in scholarly pursuits (writing and publishing), and to grapple with the administrative realities (budget, human resources, organizational management) of higher education. When I started as a professional librarian, I had no interest in becoming a manager/administrator, yet that part of the job has turned out to be both intellectually stimulating and rewarding. It’s hard to imagine a job that would give someone a more wholistic understanding of higher education than a career as an academic librarian. Even though the rigid hierarchy of higher education positions academic librarians far lower in the pecking order than we deserve, it has been a blast sitting at the intersection of learning, scholarship, and administration while doing what I can to influence the direction of my profession, my campus, and the academy writ large.


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 mpetrowski@ala.org for more information.

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