Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2016 ALA/ ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2016 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 3 — 14. Complete details on candidates for ACRL offices are available on the election website. Make sure to vote for the candidates of your choice starting March 15.
Mark Emmons is Associate Dean of Public Services at the University of New Mexico University Libraries & Learning Sciences in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a 2016 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Vice-President/ President-Elect.
1. Describe yourself in three words: Student. Teacher. Collaborator.
2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am currently co-teaching a course in organizational leadership and so am rereading some of my favorite theorists in James MacGregor Burns on transformational leadership, Robert Greenleaf on servant leadership, and Peter Senge on system leadership and am beginning to delve more deeply into the ideas underlying authentic leadership.
For pleasure, I have lately found myself reading science fiction over my favorite genre of fantasy, including The Water Knife, which is the latest novel set in the near dystopian future Paolo Bacigalupi introduced in his brilliant novel The Windup Girl, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, and The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. I have also found myself disappointed in Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman because she took Atticus in a direction that jarred my impressions from the beloved To Kill a Mockingbird.
3. Describe ACRL in three words: Educating. Advocating. Connecting.
4. Why do you value about ACRL? ACRL is its members! We benefit individually and the profession benefits collectively because we contribute. I think ACRL works so well because we promote collaboration and fellowship, we advance careers through continuing education, we share best practices, we nurture leadership, and we advocate for academic librarianship and intellectual freedom. And we do so with the brilliant partnership of ACRL staff. The greatest value I have taken away from ACRL are the many wonderful colleagues I have met and the many valuable ideas I have taken back to my workplace.
5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I was recently named Associate Dean of Public Services in the College of University Libraries & Learning Services at the University of New Mexico. Public Services is responsible for all aspects of the library that support student and faculty learning and research. We actively engage students and faculty. We teach students how to conduct research. We provide help with student and faculty information needs. We build and provide access to collections to support research. We provide spaces that facilitate collaboration and learning and the production of knowledge. My contribution is to support the many amazing UNM library public services faculty and staff as they foster student success and partner in faculty teaching and research.
6. In your own words: Academic and research librarians live in a world of change and uncertainty and opportunity. When I was nominated as a candidate for ACRL vice-president/president-elect, I began speaking to ACRL colleagues about what they would like to see from ACRL and I found that their concerns echoed many of the concerns we face in my library. Librarians want to understand and adapt to changing student demographics and communication preferences, to understand the user experience, to foster knowledge creation, and to build partnerships across campus and with their community to better serve students and faculty, all while upholding the fundamental mission of connecting people with knowledge and educating students. Librarians want to recruit the best and the brightest, to weave the traditional core services with new emerging services, and to build human, social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Librarians want to learn skills in areas such as leadership and management, instructional design, digital collections, scholarly communication, assessment and data analysis, data management, data visualization, geographic information systems, and technological skills.
Librarians see ACRL as a place that can help them deal with the changes in higher education and librarianship. Specifically, librarians would like to see ACRL orient and support new members, sustain membership throughout the course of their careers, and to nurture leadership; to continue to advocate for the value of academic libraries, the library profession, and our fundamental values; and to infuse the value of diversity into everything we do. Like the librarians I interviewed, I believe that ACRL is ideally situated to help academic librarians seize opportunity out of change and uncertainty and I am interested in helping to make that possible.