Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Robert Kelly

Robert KellyRobert Kelly is Coordinator of Library Services at the Hutchinson Community College John F. Kennedy Library in Hutchinson, Kansas. Robert has been an ACRL member since 2003 and is your ACRL member of the week for September 29, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Collaborative, good-humored steward

2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile device)?  I always have multiple things going. A sample from what I’m currently reading: The Mysterious West, edited by Tony Hillerman; The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler; Mastering Omaha/8 Poker by Mark Tenner and Lou Krieger; and That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Not Just Universities.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I have appreciated the recent energy the organization has committed to be more inclusive of two-year community and technical colleges in national initiatives (such as advocating for financial literacy and the role of the library in campus’ overall provision of programming, services, and resources), conference programming, and standards creation/revision. The bi-annual conferences are essential to attend to gain and share knowledge and to enjoy the great concentration of vendors that market to the higher education sector. The organization is a core source of standards and best practices. The ACRL Choice magazine is a core collection development tool and it too is working to position itself to be more relevant to the two-year environment. The organization is one where librarians have opportunities to be involved in something that matters.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As Coordinator of Library Services (aka Library Director) I am responsible for library oversight in a position that combines administrative leadership with front-line activities. I lead our instruction program, participate in reference services, actively liaison with faculty, serve on campus committees, and generally be the face of the college library on campus. I also advocate for the library, the college, and Kansas two-year colleges in general by being actively involved in local, state, and regional organizations. In turn I keep my administration informed of potential opportunities and threats.

6. In your own words:  Five lessons learned in every position I’ve held:

  • From day one get to know the people that really matter on campus: secretaries/admin assistants; ITS staff (including the director); and maintenance staff. They are the ones who really run the campus and have the power to ruin or make your day.
  • From day one get to know who the faculty and staff library heros are. Oil those squeaky wheels because they will help you viral market to draw more faculty and students in.
  • Look for opportunities to matter. You want people to know who you are and to trust you. In turn, those people will always have the library in the back of their mind and will be reluctant to attack it if for no other reason than because they know you.
  • Don’t be afraid to jump ship before being pushed. Opportunities may drop in your lap and you’d best be prepared to seize them when they do. Often you only get one chance. That especially is relevant to getting involved in campus initiatives and committees as well as when considering a change of employment. A corollary: It is always easier to pursue an opportunity when you don’t have to.
  • To make real change you must get involved in leading and do so actively. Armchair complainers and saber rattlers rarely yield any success because they don’t have any influence or control.

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: Jennifer K. Sheehan

Jennifer K. SheehanJennifer K. Sheehan is Exhibitions Manager at The Grolier Club in New York, NY. Jennifer has been an ACRL member since 2007, is the new editor of RBM, and is ACRL member of the week for September 22, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Tenacious, hungry, accommodating.

2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile device)?  I spend a lot of time commuting on a crowded train, where I like to read on my iPhone, and popular fiction works pretty well for that. I recently finished R. J. Palacio’s Wonder. The story was beautiful and left me in tears at least twice. Sometimes I’ll mix it up with Italian language podcasts when I feel like I’m starting to get a little rusty. Professionally, I’ve been spending some time with Bamber Gascoigne’s How to Identify Prints for a course I took at Rare Book School over the summer.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Engaged, evolving, stimulating.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I appreciate ACRL’s efforts to represent a wide variety of research libraries, librarians, and interest groups. “College and research libraries” is a pretty wide net to cast, and ACRL does a great job of representing the variety of sub-collections and populations found in these institutions, so that everyone can find a place to belong.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I bring a background in both special collections libraries and museums to a rather unique position that balances characteristics of both. I have the drive to see a complicated project through to completion, juggling a lot of moving parts, with the flexibility to balance the needs of multiple stakeholders.

6. In your own words:  My current position as Exhibitions Manager resonates with my professional experience and my passions. I’ve always kept one foot in museums and the other in libraries. Now I get to work with both collections and with people, so I do feel like I get the best of both worlds.


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: 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.

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