Category Archives: Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff – Erin Nevius

Editor’s Note: This month we return to our occasional series profiling members of the ACRL staff, featuring new ACRL Content Strategist Erin Nevius. You can learn more about all the ACRL staff on the association website.

e_nevius1. Describe yourself in three words. Pragmatic, adventurous, wordy.

2. What are you reading right now? I’ll do my best to stick to the highlights, I’m always in the middle of a lot of very different things! Right now I’m reading Parallel Stories, Péter Nádas’s novel about Hungary in the 20th century. I’ve been insatiably reading fiction that explores and contextualizes the 1900s ever since finishing Ken Follett’s excellent Century Trilogy last year.

In between, I subscribe to probably too many magazines—I’m currently reading the summer issue of Vanity Fair—and listen to podcasts, my two current favorites being “You Must Remember This” and “Mortified.” I’m not watching anything special at the moment, just gearing up for the new season of “Orange is the New Black.”

3. What was your background before coming to ACRL? I’ve been in publishing for more than fifteen years, acquiring and editing books and working with periodicals and online content for both commercial and not-for-profit publishers. Previously I was an executive editor and then the associate director of book publishing at the American Bar Association, and prior to that I was an editor with both F+W Media and Sourcebooks, Inc. I have a B.A. in English and Communications from Xavier University in Cincinnati.

4. What do you do in your role as ACRL Content Strategist? I identify and acquire compelling, timely, and practical content for academic and research librarians in a variety of formats, including but not limited to books, e-learning, podcasts, webinars, and blog posts. And if you have an idea for any of those things, I want to hear from you!

5. What’s your favorite thing about working at ACRL?  Well, I’ve been here for just shy of three months, but I’m having a wonderful time so far—the ACRL staff and membership, to a person, is educated, clever, and so engaged in their work and librarianship. I feel very lucky to be part of such an interesting and passionate community.

6. In your own words: Dynamic and changing communities like academic and research libraries are always in need of educational, inspiring, thought-provoking content from their colleagues, in many different forms, and I’m thrilled to help facilitate that. I’m very much looking forward to continuing my immersion in the challenges and trends within the profession, and hope to work directly with very many of you!

Meet the Staff – Allison Payne

Editor’s Note: This month we return to our occasional series profiling members of the ACRL staff, featuring ACRL Program Officer Allison Payne. You can learn more about all the ACRL staff on the association website.

Allison Payne picture1. Describe yourself in three words. Dependable, efficient, organized.

2. What are you reading right now? Currently reading Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl and Daniel ClowesPatience.

3. What was your background before coming to ACRL?  Before ACRL, I was working on my MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s distance education program. While earning my master’s remotely, I interned for ALSC and worked part-time as an indexer in Kraft Foods’ Research and Development Library.

4. What do you do in your role as ACRL Program Officer? I coordinate the activities of the Board of Directors and the Budget & Finance Committee. I also maintain ACRL’s budget, manage division-level appointments, and archive ACRL materials.

5. What’s your favorite thing about (or most memorable experience) working at ACRL?  Easily the ACRL 2015 Conference in Portland. This was not only a great opportunity to meet members face-to-face, but also allowed staff an opportunity to explore the unique city together.

6. Fun fact about Allison: I have a wide variety of interests and enjoy learning, traveling, and playing tennis. I also enjoy exploring Chicago, and taking in the city’s many museums, restaurants, theaters, and markets. In September 2016, I’ll be participating in my first half-marathon!

7. In your own words: I’m enthusiastic about the future of ACRL and the implementation of its Plan for Excellence. I’m impressed by the nimbleness of the Association and ACRL leadership to reflect current trends in higher education libraries. I look forward to seeing the accomplishments surrounding the newly approved strategic goal area, New Roles and Changing Landscapes.

Meet the Staff – Mary Jane Petrowski

Editor’s Note: This month we return to our occasional series profiling members of the ACRL staff. This month, we feature ACRL’s Associate Director, Mary Jane Petrowski. You can learn more about all the ACRL staff on the association website.

petrowski2015-highres-9 (2)1. Describe yourself in three words. Artistic, intuitive, resilient.

2. What are you reading right now? I’m always reading last week’s issue of The New Yorker, watching Happy Valley, and listening to whatever vinyl my husband is playing at the moment.

3. What was your background before coming to ACRL?  I went to school in the Research Triangle (Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and was hired over the phone to run a small military library on a U.S. army intelligence base in Sinop, Turkey (circa Argo). After seven years, the Turkish military started to censor the library collection and insisted on removing any material about the Armenian genocide and/or the Kurds. So I left Turkey to work at the NATO Command Library in Ramstein, West Germany. My favorite sign on the way to work read “Paris – 300 KM.”

Just before the Berlin Wall fell, I returned to the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana to work on a Certificate of Advance Study in library science. While working on my degree, I joined the library faculty of the University Library at UIUC and worked in the Undergraduate Library with Betsy Wilson, Charles Forrest, and Lori Arp. Always on the move, I left Illinois for snowy upstate New York where I worked at Colgate University for ten years. Having completed all my academic library fieldwork, I returned to the Midwest to work at ACRL.

4. What do you do in your role as ACRL’s Associate Director? I enjoying working as staff liaison to a number of ACRL division-level committees (Membership, Student Learning and Information Literacy, ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board, to name a few). I also work on ACRL member recruitment and engagement, fundraising, and manage the ACRL statistics program.

5. What’s your favorite thing about (or most memorable experience) working at ACRL?  Favorite thing: the ACRL staff is the most fantastic group of people I’ve ever worked with hands down–we really do “team for results.” Collectively, I think the “frolleagues” have worked together at least 100 years. Most memorable experience: taking a break during a Board meeting in San Francisco and getting locked in the bowels of the convention center. The second most memorable experience: heading to the ACRL Conference in Minneapolis in 2005 and discovering I’d gone to the wrong airport.

6. Fun fact about Mary Jane: I’ve attended every ACRL Conference since the 1989 conference in Cincinnati.

7. In your own words: During the past week I’ve been reading testimonials from members who received scholarships to attend the 2015 ACRL Conference in Portland, Oregon. It is so gratifying to know that the work of ACRL leaders, members, and staff has had a profound impact on the lives and careers of so many students, new librarians, and mid-career professionals.  I’d love to win the Chicago lottery and give ACRL a big donation so that every scholarship applicant could have the chance to experience the ACRL conference at least once in their lifetime.

Meet the Staff: Tory Ondrla

Editor’s Note: This month we return to our occasional series profiling members of the ACRL staff. This month, we feature ACRL’s Conference Supervisor, Tory Ondrla. We’ll be highlighting one of our fantastic staff members each month or so moving forward. You can learn more about all the ACRL staff on the association website in our new staff bios.

TO profile pic1. Describe yourself in three words. Organized and enthusiastic (I can count the “and,” right?).

2. What are you reading right now? The Girls from Corona Del Mar by Rufi Thorpe and A Chosen Faith by John Buehrens.

3. What was your background before coming to ACRL?  I planned conferences for various professional groups, mainly gynecologists.

4. What do you do in your role as ACRL’s Conference Supervisor? I manage logistics for the ACRL Conference and professional development events. It means I do a lot of negotiating of hotel and convention center contracts and work on site selection, vendor contracts and managing audio-visual and catering execution. I also work with various member committees to help them facilitate their specific goals for events.

5. What’s your favorite thing about (or most memorable experience) working at ACRL?  Every odd year the ACRL Conference itself is always my favorite, the execution and culmination of all that planning and seeing people enjoy what we have created for them. More recently – the FIRE SHOOTING SNAIL CAR (see picture above) we got for the RBMS Conference reception!

6. Fun facts about Tory: I was the Lynfred Winery 2009 Female Barrel Rolling Champion.

7. In your own words: When people ask me about my job, I always say that I am lucky to work with people I truly enjoy, and to work for people I really like. I’ve planned meetings for a lot of different types of groups (technology, healthcare, and industrial sector) but none of them have been as collectively wonderful as librarians. Kind, patient, understanding, and good hearted people who really care about what they do. It makes seeing the events we put together truly rewarding.

Meet the Staff: Kathryn Deiss

Editor’s Note: This month we return to our occasional series profiling members of the ACRL staff. We’ll be featuring one of our fantastic staff members each month or so moving forward. You can learn more about all the ACRL staff on the association website in our new staff bios.

Photograph by Kyle Cassidy.

Photograph by Kyle Cassidy.

1. Describe yourself in three words. Empathetic, enthusiastic, creative.

2. What are you reading right now (or watching or listening to on your iPod?) Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility by Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon.

3. What was your background before coming to ACRL?  I started out as a sculptor but became a reference librarian after getting my MLS from The University at Albany in Albany, New York. I have worked in public libraries, a museum library, a university library, and at the Association of Research Libraries as well as a multi-type consortium in Illinois before coming to work at ACRL.

4. What do you do in your role as ACRL’s Content Strategist? I am the ACRL Content Strategist which is certainly a conversation starter of a title. My job is several-fold. I look for new book authors, editors, and topics, and use my persuasion skills to get them to publish with ACRL since we are a separate press from other ALA publications. I also work with my colleague Margot Conahan to acquire e-learning content which essentially means looking for interesting and timely topics and finding librarians eager to present on those topics. Finally, I have a role in co-leading the ACRL Consulting Services program that provides such services as external library reviews, facilitation of planning retreats or team development retreats, consulting on change initiatives and the like.

5. What’s your favorite thing about (or most memorable experience) working at ACRL? I think my favorite thing about working at ACRL is when we do the ACRL Conference every other year. It is such an exciting time and it is a time when all of us come together to make the experience as special and valuable for the ACRL Conference attendees as possible. And it is so much fun to be in that sizzling environment every other year!

6. Fun facts about Kathryn: Aside from having wielded a 14 lb mallet on stone when I was a stone sculptor, I am a painter and plan to go back to many other media when I get more time for larger scale work. I was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, and Spanish was my first language. I taught U Thant, then Secretary General of the United Nations, the bunny hop when I was young!

7. In your own words: I think we, as a profession embrace our values in a unique way – the strength of our values is what drew me to librarianship in the first place. I’d love to see us be even bolder leaders and to solve problems (with our communities) in more imaginative ways, but also I’d like to see us continue creating the new. I am in awe of the next generations of librarians I meet in the leadership programs I conduct and in the libraries I visit. I know our profession is in great hands with extremely bright and intellectually curious librarians coming along at just the right time. The challenge to my (boomer) generation is to trust that they will do great things and to work with them, make space for their ideas, or get out of the way!

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