Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: David Midyette

David MidyetteDavid Midyette is Reference and Instruction Librarian at the Roseman University of Health Sciences in Henderson, Nevada. David has been an ACRL member since 2009 and is your ACRL member of the week for September 15, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Eclectic, Curious, Loyal.

2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile device)?  At the moment, I’m in book one of Game of Thrones on Audible. Despite being a librarian, I’m not an avid reader as I have quite specific tastes in books.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Respected, Resourceful, Rewarding.

4. What do you value about ACRL? Quite honestly, I value the opportunity to connect with colleagues who share both a specific interest in the health sciences as well as those with a broader range of interests. ACRL has long provided me with a connection to a comprehensive view of academic librarianship, and I have truly enjoyed reading both C&RL and C&RL News for many years. I have always found the topics and news to be both timely and on point. Librarianship for me is all about the flow of information, and ACRL has been a reliable conduit for that flow. While I haven’t been the most involved member due to my unique career path, I have always felt connected to the academic world through multiple academic degrees, and ACRL has been instrumental in allowing me to stay abreast of topics of interest to librarians in both direct and peripheral academic settings.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? Given the unique nature of my current institution, I take more of a support role. Our students have a compressed timeline for completing their degrees, and this limits or prohibits my time with them in the classroom. As a result, I have become far more interested in passive reference and instruction, and have begun talking to faculty about generating subject focused assignments that contain strong searching skills components. More specifically, I want to help develop information literacy exercises where students do not necessarily realize that they are learning “library” skills. In my instruction and orientation sessions, I focus on connecting students to specific guides to meet their information needs, and I am currently working on developing targeted, and very short, tutorials on finding information.

6. In your own words:  As a librarian and instructor, I feel that we need to take a very long and hard look at library education. I believe that entry level library positions are more suited to a bachelor level degree in library science, and that we should adjust our educational programs accordingly. I know that there is a movement by a few to study the issue and I look forward to working toward that end. I still think that there is a place for graduate library science degrees, but that an undergraduate level degree is a far better starting place for future new librarians.

As someone who has taught MLIS classes, I do not see the value in the content as being at that level, and it is certainly nowhere near as complex or challenging as that of my subject area master’s degree. I would much prefer hiring someone with a BS in library science and then supporting them in the pursuit of a subject area masters or doctoral degree. With the advanced degree, they would be far better suited to act as liaisons to specific departments or disciplinary groups, and hopefully by that point they would have published in the subject area, which would make their liaison connections far more collegial in nature. I see the librarians of the future as true information specialists who know the discipline(s) they support because they have had coursework, research, and publications in the subject(s).

I feel that these changes in our approach to professional education would go a long way towards improving both the profession and the image of the profession. Of course, there would still be the option of the MLIS for those interested in a fuller understanding of the profession, or for those who had no need of a subject specialty. There will always be a need for professionals to do what we do, but we can be a great deal smarter about the approach to educating our future colleagues.


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: Julie Kane

Julie KaneJulie Kane is Director of Digital Teaching and Learning / Digital Pedagogies Librarian at Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Virginia. Julie has been an ACRL member since 2008 and is your ACRL member of the week for September 8, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, enthusiastic, lucky.

2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile device)?  Like many of us, I always seem to have a number of things going at once. I’m currently pursuing a master’s in English, so this one has to do with my degree, and it’s part of a great series of Pickering and Chatto Women’s Novels I’m studying: The Victim of Fancy by Elizabeth Sophia Tomlins. For fun I’m reading Mannequin Girl by Ellen Litman; and when I get a chance to get out walking I’m listening to Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Community, resource, mentorship.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value an area within ALA where I feel a vast support network within and among college and university librarians. ALA is of course enormous, which is both amazing and overwhelming; there are times to be reminded that our subdivision of academic librarianship can be overwhelmingly diverse, as well, and I think ACRL does a phenomenal job of both putting us in touch with librarians across our academic universe and helping us find those closer to our realm.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? This is something I find myself asking routinely, as my position has changed dramatically over the last year or so and I’ve been sort of poking my head into new areas all over campus. After about six years as the Head of Technical Services, I’m now the Director of Digital Teaching and Learning/Digital Pedagogies Librarian. Right now, my primary focus is directing our ePortfolio program, which touches a lot of things: I work with Co-Curricular life and our advising program to make sure that all incoming first-years complete a personal essay in ePortfolio for their academic advisors, ePortfolio is now completely integrated into our college-wide writing assessment; we use it in our Y:1 program for critical thinking assessment; our Honors program launched an ePortfolio contest this semester — and this is all within our first full year rollout of ePortfolio. It’s been a busy first year, and I see more integration on the horizon.

I’m hoping to roll more digital humanities work into my position; my intention is to support the faculty and students in whatever projects they would like to launch. I’m lucky to have the chance lately to work with faculty, students, and staff from all areas of campus, and to be involved in discussions relating to curriculum changes. It’s all been challenging and incredibly exhilarating.

6. In your own words:  I love that my career has taken me in directions I never could have anticipated, and I hope that will always remain true. I have a faculty colleague who jokingly refers to me as a “recovering librarian,” I think mainly because what I do mostly is outside the building and traditional headspace of the library, but this is one particular evolution of a librarian. I am an academic librarian. I’m not sure I would have pursued an interest in SQL without a basis in MARC. I wouldn’t be as giddy about TEI as I am without a love of cataloging as my background and a thorough love of literature at my core.

I wouldn’t say that I am recovering so much as evolving. We are all on trajectories of one sort or another; I cannot emphasize enough that I love the fact that I have the flexibility and support at my institution to pursue my interests that align with interests and goals of faculty and educational mission of the institution so that I may flourish. I think that that is the best attribute of the life of an academic librarian: the freedom to continue to learn on the job.


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: Timothy Hackman

Timothy HackmanTimothy Hackman is Head of Resource Sharing and Access Services at the University of Maryland McKeldin Library in College Park, Maryland. Timothy has been an ACRL member since 2004 and is your ACRL member of the week for September 2, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Affable, dedicated, thoughtful.

2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile device)?  Reading: Heroes and Villains: Essays on Music, Movies, Comics, and Culture by David Hajdu; and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (I know, I’m late to the party). Listening: An ever-rotating list of music and comedy via Spotify. Some friends and I are in the middle of an 80’s album “bracket challenge,” where we choose a pair of albums each week and try to determine which one is the “best.” At the moment we’re on Round 2, with 32 pairs of albums.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Learning, connecting, innovating.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the opportunities ACRL provides to connect with other professionals in academia. The connections I’ve made with colleagues via ACRL’s sections and committees have enriched my personal and professional life.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As the Head of Resource Sharing and Access Services, I oversee some of the most important services we offer in support of research and teaching, including circulation, reserves, document delivery, and interlibrary loan. My department also maintains the Libraries’ physical collections and keeps the building open 24 x 5 to provide a quiet, safe study space for all our students. I spent 10 years as a subject specialist/liaison librarian before my current job, and I think there’s a tendency for those of us on the “reference side of the house” to devalue the tasks that go on in circulation and its related departments. But I can attest that the work is just as challenging and rewarding, the staff just as dedicated and knowledgeable. It is truly a privilege to lead this team of committed professionals to serve our University.

6. In your own words:  The pace of change in the academic library is fast and furious, which means that I’m almost always behind and never bored. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing!


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: Britt McGowan

Britt McGowanBritt McGowan is Coordinator of Library Instruction at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. Britt has been an ACRL member since 2009 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 25, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Laughing, caring, dreamer.

2. What are you currently reading?  I just checked out Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I read Housekeeping last year, and I think it will be one of those books that I read over and over again.  So, I’m excited to start this one.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Supportive, dynamic, community.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the connections with other librarians that I’ve been able to make, as well as the professional development opportunities.  I appreciate that ACRL supports a culture of information-sharing and mentoring, which has been so useful to me since I became a librarian in 2009.  I have served on the Instruction Section Program Planning Committee and have been a mentee through both the Instruction Section and the Literatures in English Section. Being able to form relationships with people and rely on their expertise has been extremely helpful.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As the Instruction Coordinator and Information Literacy Librarian, I try to find new ways to teach and assess instruction classes while also sharing and streamlining this process for the rest of the librarians. I work hard to coordinate with our Composition and First-Year Experience Programs to ensure the library is a vital part of first-year students’ academic and personal experiences.  I am fortunate, too, that the size of my library allows me to work on a number of tasks, including staying active in collection development and marketing, among other things.  I have to say that my favorite parts of the job are connecting one-on-one with students and writing our silly bathroom newsletter, The Stall Street Journal.

6. In your own words:  New initiatives and projects are great, but what I have loved about working in libraries since I started as the Reserves Coordinator about 10 years ago are the people.   I am motivated by helping and getting to know the students and the faculty, and I could truly never say enough about my co-workers.  Our library is full of interesting, funny, and whip-smart people who take ownership in what they do.  We draw upon each other’s talents and value each other’s opinions.  And? We cut-up.


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: Shali Zhang

Shali ZhangShali Zhang is Dean of Libraries at the University of Montana Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library in Missoula, Montana. Shali has been an ACRL member since 2001 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 18, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Thoughtful, approachable, and flexible

2. What are you currently reading?  I am re-reading Montana 1948 by Larry Watson, a master piece. The novel received the Milkweed National Fiction Prize.  One thing that I feel very fortunate about is the fact that I live in Missoula, Montana. It is an area being surrounded by mountains and endless forests. The weather in the winter is much milder and more comfortable, in comparison with that in the northeast part of Montana in Watson’s novel where it was brutally cold in the winter and the temperature could be below 40 degrees.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Visionary, professionalism, and advocacy

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL has produced and published most valuable professional literature, guidelines, and other documents. These publications, online or in other formats, have helped guide my practical work.  I was on the Editorial Board of College and Research Libraries for two terms, six years in total.  During that period, I had opportunities to read, review, and recommend manuscripts from academic librarians to be published.  It was most rewarding experience and it also inspired me to get my Ph. D. degree so that I could become a better consumer for ACRL’s research products. ACRL has done an outstanding job in encouraging and inspiring academic librarians’ interests in conducting research projects and sharing their research findings through publications.  In many ways, these research findings have served as foundation on which we developed policies, programs, and best practices to serve library users.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As the library dean, I am able to help strategically plan library services, programs, and initiatives aligning with the university’s vision, mission, core values, and strategic directions. For instance, the University of Montana’s strategic Plan, UM 2020: Building a University for the Global Century, focuses on student success, education for global century, discovery and research, learning environment, and planning-assessment.  When we developed the library’s strategic plan, we made sure that the library plan reflects that of the university so that the library is an active player and an important participant in helping realize the university’s goals. The library faculty members have made concerted efforts in reaching out and partnering with campus units in serving our diverse student populations, including traditional and non-traditional students, Native American students, student veterans, students with learning and physical disabilities, international students, and online students. The library’s efforts have also been recognized by the campus community.

6. In your own words:  Taking a leadership position in the library profession often requires courage to get out one’s comfortable zones for new challenges. In late 2012, I took a new position as Dean of Libraries at the University of Montana. The position has offered me opportunities to practice what I learned through the ACRL Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians in which I participated previously. The Institute helped me think strategically and develop skills to be an effective administrator in facing challenges of the complex environment of higher education.  Librarians at academic libraries have played important roles in learning, teaching, research, community engagements on their campuses. ACRL has been valuable resources to help us on these exciting endeavors.


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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