Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Andrea Baer

Andrea BaerAndrea Baer is an instructional services librarian at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, GA. She is also part of the presenter team for ACRL’s new licensed workshop Engaging with the ACRL Framework: A Catalyst for Exploring and Expanding Our Teaching Practices. Andrea first joined ACRL in 2010 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 26, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Reflective, curious, aspirational.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? In my professional work I have been reading a lot about discussion-based pedagogies, in particular as they relate to engaging with politically and emotionally charged topics. Some of this work looks at the emotional dimensions of learning, as well as at the challenges and potential limitations of classroom dialogue. Such writing is especially relevant to a credit-bearing information literacy course I teach on news literacy. Some of the works I am finding particularly useful are Megan Boler’s Democratic Dialogue in Education and her Feeling Power and Diana Hess and Paula McAvoy’s The Political Classroom.

For fun I’ve been reading Lydia Davis’s amazing short short stories in Break It Down. I’m also a big fan of podcasts like Invisibilia and Radio Lab, and am addicted to the Netflix show Grace and Frankie.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Connecting, forward-looking, multi-faceted.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I most value how ACRL helps to connect academic library professionals who work in a wide range of contexts. The conversations and collaborations that ACRL helps make possible help us explore both the possibilities and the realities of our individual and shared professional practices. Because most of my library work focuses on teaching and learning, I especially appreciate that ACRL has served as a catalyst for discussions about our evolving roles as educators and as teaching partners.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? In 2016 I joined the University of West Georgia (UWG) as an instructional services librarian. My main responsibilities at UWG are teaching a credit-bearing information literacy course; liaising to the English and first year writing programs; developing cross-disciplinary instructional materials; and supporting student learning through a range of initiatives (for example, faculty workshops and most recently a faculty learning community on news literacy).

I think one unique thing that I bring to my work at and beyond UWG is an interdisciplinary perspective that I developed in part through previous graduate teaching and research in comparative literature and cultural studies. That earlier experience, in combination with my continued teaching and research, has had a big influence on how I approach information literacy instruction as contextual and as a process of open inquiry and exploration. Having worked at both research-intensive and teaching-centered institutions, I also strive to bring a sensitivity to local contexts to my work. I see this as vital to approaching information literacy as a shared responsibility of all educators. I believe my various learning and work experiences have also helped me to develop ways of talking about and exploring information literacy’s relevance with educators across disciplines.

6. In your own words: As an instruction librarian, I believe this is an especially important and exciting time for librarians engaged in information literacy education. The complexity and the relevance of information literacy is so apparent in this current moment of political polarization, as every day we encounter conflicting information sources and highly charged public and political discourse. In this climate it is easy to either disengage entirely from what’s happening in the world or to choose just to believe whatever one wants to believe, rather than critically examine evidence and argument and seek out varying perspectives. This moment has presented a very real context for exploring information literacy as something meaningful and inextricable from people’s everyday lives and from our sociopolitical conditions and environments.

Many educators outside librarianship share this concern and seem to be recognizing on a deeper level the importance of information literacy. Such appreciation of information literacy’s complexity and relevance is occurring at the same time that librarians’ instructional work has been shifting toward teaching about broader conceptual understandings like “Research as Inquiry;” engaging with the sociopolitical, historical, and ethical dimensions of information production and use; and approaching information literacy as a shared responsibility of all educators. We are experiencing a lot of change, which can feel at times overwhelming, but which also opens room for a great deal of creativity and possibility for how we support student learning.


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: Robert P. Holley

Robert P. HolleyRobert P. Holley is a professor emeritus at Wayne State University in Huntington Woods, MI. Robert has been a member of ACRL since 1974 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 19, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Intellectual, curious, eclectic.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Laclos to maintain my fluency in French.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Innovative, focused, valuable.

4. What do you value about ACRL? The national conferences. I’ve attended all but two since they began in Boston in 1979. Beyond the practical sessions on library issues, I remember the amazing keynote speakers. My favorite choice for its audacity and support for intellectual freedom was John Waters at the 2007 Baltimore conference. This unconventional media star shocked some in the audience but exemplified for me the counter culture aspects of many librarians.

5. What have you as an academic librarian contributed to your campus? Until my retirement in 2015, I worked as a librarian and library educator in three large research universities. One of my goals was to undermine the negative stereotypes about librarians by being active in the intellectual, political, and social life of the university. Having this dual career, I also worked to bridge the divide between librarians and faculty by sharing my perspectives on how the two groups sometimes misunderstood each other.

6. In your own words: The best thing that ever happened to me was not getting a faculty appointment in 1971, the first year of the PhD glut. I became a library assistant in the Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, and six months later started commuting to Columbia University to get my library science degree. I’ve been extremely happy as a librarian, teacher, and researcher. I have wide ranging interests and delight in synthesizing information from multiple sources, two traits librarianship values. I’m pleased that I ended my career with broad experience both as a librarian and an educator.


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: Sara Lowe

Sara LoweSara Lowe is the educational development librarian at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in Indianapolis, IN. She is also part of the presenter team for ACRL’s new licensed workshop Assessment in Action: Demonstrating and Communicating Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success. Sara first joined ACRL in 2004 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 12, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Inquisitive, goofy, passionate.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? An Everyone Culture by Kegan Lahey; SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard; MIND MGMT by Matt Kindt.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Inspiration for practice.

4. What do you value about ACRL? Their advocacy as well as moving the profession forward (e.g., Assessment In Action, The Framework for Information Literacy). Their top notch publications and conference. Colleagues I’ve met via committees and conferences.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As educational development librarian at IUPUI, I hope I act as a bridge or conduit between the work of teaching librarians and disciplinary faculty, demonstrating to the campus the value of the work we do and how it contributes to the mission of the university.

6. In your own words: Working as an academic librarian is endlessly fun, challenging, and engaging. The research I do can be applied directly back to my (and my colleagues) teaching practice which creates a continuously improving feedback loop. This is a job where the curious thrive; I’m constantly learning new things and pushing my boundaries in instruction, assessment, and research.


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: Stephanie Espinoza

Stephanie EspinozaStephanie Espinoza is the eLearning librarian at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, NV. Stephanie first joined ACRL in 2015 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 5, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Conscientious. Passionate. Creative.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I just finished Anna Kendrick’s biography, Scrappy Little Nobody, which is not only quite amusing but also relatable for any woman early in her career who might have anxiety or even imposter syndrome. I also recently read the young adult novel Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon in about seven hours. I absolutely love children’s and young adult literature! For my next YA book club meeting I’ve started Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Inclusive. Vast. Inspiring.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the experiences that ACRL provides academic librarians, both new in their career and established in the field. There is always something to learn, and ACRL offers those opportunities to learn—both in person and virtually—that we might not otherwise have. Librarianship has so many areas of focus. It’s nice to have an organization that’s dedicated specifically to our needs. It’s not just professional development. It inspires us to be leaders, or better leaders. It encourages us to innovate. It’s an exciting world in which to be involved!

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? On my campus, I recently transitioned from an instruction/reference librarian to an eLearning librarian. Having taken all my graduate degree courses online, I understand how important it is for distance students to be able to connect with a friendly, human face even if they can’t come to campus. I serve as a resource and advocate for this demographic, assisting students with everything from online research to technical difficulties. I also serve on our library’s marketing team where I help to plan student engagement events, create promotional materials, and maintain our social media.

6. In your own words: I work at a community college library where the population of students is so incredibly diverse—we see students from all cultures, backgrounds, and ages. I serve international students who are just learning English, 60-year-old students going back to school, teenagers who are the first in their family to go to college, mothers who work, raise kids, and attend classes. And all of them are so proud to be here. The students I see in the library and help online work so hard to be able to finish their assignments and progress in their studies. They are dedicated to their success, so I just make sure they know they can always come to me if they have questions or need help along the way. That’s what we’re here for.


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: Natalie Bennett

Natalie BennettNatalie Bennett is the online services librarian at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga in Chattanooga, TN. Natalie first joined ACRL in 2015 and is your ACRL member of the week for May 30, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Energetic, hardworking, outgoing.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I just started Botany of Desire by Michael Pollen, a gift from a dear friend. I haven’t read much yet, just waiting for a nice rainy day off to dig in.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Conversation, scholarship, opportunity.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity connect with and work with colleagues all over the country. ACRL has provided the support, technology and connections necessary to organize, host, and attend great professional development opportunities, even at a distance. I also truly value the publications coming from ACRL; I look forward to flipping through College & Research Libraries News each month for latest trends and developments in the field.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? In my role as the online services librarian, a big part of my job is to be the library’s link to the University’s online education efforts. I cultivate relationships with faculty teaching online to increase information literacy instruction in the virtual classroom. When I’m not working with online ed, I teach a lot of face-to-face library instruction classes, which is probably where I am most visible to students and faculty. I also help to connect the library with the University’s instructional design team, especially as they work to review online classes for quality assurance.

6. In your own words: As I think about why I became a librarian, I know that I made the right decision. I am a very service oriented individual, and academic librarianship gives me the opportunity to interact with folks on a customer service level. I get a lot of joy out of teaching, both in class and online. I love watching students begin to understand the concepts I’m explaining and having conversations about the process of research with them. I get a lot of gratification out of knowing that I might be helping make a difference in how people interact with information and that I might be making that interaction easier for them. I am also lucky to work in a field where I can find a variety of projects to get involved in that I’m passionate about.


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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