Category Archives: Meet the Staff

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!

Meet The (New) Staff: Casey Kinson

Casey KinsonWe’re delighted to announce that Casey Kinson has joined the ACRL staff as Program Coordinator. Casey will be the staff liaison to ACRL award committees, discussion groups, interest groups, and Chapters Council, and will also provide support for various professional development programs. She is already engaged with each of these programs from her time as an ACRL intern and is very much looking forward to working with you.

Casey just received her MLS from Dominican University and she has a BA in English from Western Illinois University. Learn a little more about Casey below and please join us in welcoming her to the ACRL team!

1. Describe yourself in three words:  Empathetic, driven, passionate.

2. What are you reading right now? I’m currently re-reading the Fellowship of the Ring and am also in the midst of The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I’m also reading the poetry of Wallace Stevens when I have spare bits of free time.

3. What’s your favorite thing about (or most memorable experience) working at ACRL? Any time we have had a staff event or party, or any time when the whole ACRL team is together in one place. I have great co-workers!

Meet the Staff: Kara Malenfant

Editor’s Note: This is the first in an occasional series profiling members of the ACRL staff.

Kara Malenfant is ACRL’s Scholarly Communications and Government Relations Specialist.

Kara recently earned her PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. To learn more, listen to the audio discussion above about her dissertation, Understanding Faculty Perceptions of the Future: Action Research for Academic Librarians.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Enthusiastic. Dedicated. Collaborative.

2. What are you reading right now? Currently I’m reading juvenile nonfiction on Chile (to prepare a cultural presentation for my son’s kindergarten class) and Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole for book club. Next up on my list are Academically Adrift by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa and Enhancing Campus Capacity for Leadership: An Examination of Grassroots Leaders in Higher Education by Adrianna J. Kezar and Jaime Lester.

3. What was your background before coming to work at ACRL?: Before I started at ACRL in fall of 2005, I was a librarian for 6 years at DePaul University in Chicago. Prior to getting my MS from UIUC and becoming a librarian, I had worked in nonprofits focused on international humanitarian aid and advocacy. I started on that path after teaching English as a Peace Corps volunteer while part of the first group posted to the Republic of Armenia in the early 90s.

4. What do you do in your role as ACRL Scholarly Communications and Government Relations Specialist? I coordinate ACRL’s scholarly communication activities, government relations advocacy, and am the lead staff member on the Value of Academic Libraries initiative. Recently I have begun working with colleagues on a forthcoming research series and to provide consulting services on organizational development and use of ACRL’s standards for libraries in higher education.

5. What’s your favorite thing about working at ACRL? I’d have to say my favorite thing is the variety. I enjoy being engaged on wide range of national issues that are important to libraries and higher education. I appreciate my colleagues, who are so highly competent, and the way we all work together to support one another. It is an absolute pleasure working with our very motivated members, who are some of the best and brightest in the profession.

6. In your own words: Although I was active in ACRL for years (I served as chair of ACRL’s International Relations Committee from 2003-2005), it wasn’t until I started on staff that I came to realize how truly member driven this organization is. If you have a good idea and are willing to give it some elbow grease, there’s no telling what you can do. ACRL depends on active members to accomplish all that we do for the good of the profession.