Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Kelly McElroy

Kelly McElroyKelly McElroy is student engagement and community outreach librarian at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. Kelly has been a member of ACRL since 2008 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 14, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, committed, cooperative.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? For fun? I’m currently re-reading The Prince Zine by Joshua James Amberson, which is a fantastic fanzine all about Prince, printed in purple ink; also Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan and A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Librarians connecting librarians.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL creates chances for me to meet other academic librarians with similar interests. I participated in ACRL Immersion in 2013, and when I think about the lasting impact, it is amazing how many ongoing professional relationships stem from that single week. For example, it was the first time I met Nicole Pagowsky, who I worked with on the Critical Library Pedagogy Handbooks, as well as at least three of our authors. Through its programming, ACRL fosters these opportunities to get in a room with the right people to make something excellent happen.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? My work at Oregon State is to welcome students, particularly from marginalized communities, into the library. Sometimes I say that I’m the fun librarian, because I get to think about ways to make the library more approachable and accessible. In some cases, this means directly connecting students to resources or services, but just as often I collaborate with other staff and faculty who work closely with those students. The library can be a part of initiatives to support particular campus communities—say, undocumented students, students experiencing homelessness, or QTPOC students—without creating a new service, but by sharing the resources we have, whether through teaching, technology, collections, or just by showing up. It’s easy to focus on the stuff we offer, but the relationships are also often crucial.

6. In your own words: For some reason, this question stumped me—I don’t have any deep reflections on this profession, especially not as a lifestyle. But as far as jobs go, I am glad to spend my days learning and helping other people learn, in a context where I can contribute to some kinds of social change.


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: Stewart J. Van Cleve

Stewart J. Van CleveStewart J. Van Cleve is a digital archives and research services librarian at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, MN. Stewart has been a member of ACRL since 2007 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 7, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Librarian, archivist, author.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I recently started a new job as a librarian/archivist at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, so right now I’m reading a history of the university and re-re-reading Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives. While working as a librarian at Winona State University this past year, I launched and produced a podcast called the Athenaeum—that means I got to listen to lots of podcasts for research. My weekly favorites include the NPR Politics Podcast and My Brother, My Brother, and Me.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Innovative, engaged, informative.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value ACRL’s commitment to improving diversity in the profession by coordinating tangible and ongoing investments of resources toward that effort. The Diversity Alliance is an excellent example; the residency will have a profound impact on new library professionals who are part of underrepresented racial and ethnic communities by helping them get the experience they need to establish careers at colleges and universities. Writing from experience as one of the Emerging Leaders who recently accepted a great job, I can assure all ACRL members that programs like Emerging Leaders or Diversity Alliance can make the difference for young professionals as we navigate a challenging job market.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I subscribe to the belief that we are the “welcome wagon” of academia. Especially for new students, I see us as the people who can help answer questions students may feel embarrassed to ask their professors or in classes (“what’s a scholarly article?”). That also works for teaching faculty; they may be embarrassed to admit to colleagues that they don’t know how Zotero works or what Omeka can bring to their courses, but they can certainly ask us—knowing that they will get help without judgment. Keeping with that, I try to bring positivity, eagerness, and creative suggestions to department meetings, meetings with teaching faculty, and in all of my reference interactions.

6. In your own words: I have moved more than ten times in as many years, chasing opportunities and building a CV that was impressive enough to land me interviews and job offers. This profession is a labor of love. It is difficult to imagine anyone pursuing academic librarianship today just to “phone it in” for the remainder of their careers. That’s really what I love most about the field; I am surrounded by people who love what they do and are willing to share everything they know or have learned with each other. I simply would not find satisfaction doing anything else.


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: Emily Drabinski

Emily DrabinskiEmily Drabinski is coordinator of instruction at Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY. Emily has been a member of ACRL since 2007 and is your ACRL member of the week for July 31, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Organized, organizing, organizer.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? The Global Transformation of Time by Vanessa Ogle and In the Woods by Tana French. I can’t believe it took me so long to start reading her!

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Best practices, people power, connecting.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL has introduced me to a network of colleagues who consistently challenge my thinking and practice, engage in critical research, and consolidate and extend the influence of librarians beyond my reference desk and classroom. ACRL offers us structures we can use to make bigger and better things happen.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? Someone called me “the switchboard” the other day and that captures my role. I connect people to resources of all kinds to help them shape and answer their questions and solve all kinds of problems.

6. In your own words: Academic librarians build things, from catalogs and research guides to instruction programs and publishing initiatives. It is our responsibility to build those things in ways that are maximally open and hospitable to the vast diversity of ways of thinking and doing that happen in our libraries. We do our best work when we understand the power we have to shape the way inquiry happens on our campuses.


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: Essraa M. Nawar

Essraa M. NawarEssraa M. Nawar is a library development coordinator at Chapman University in Orange, California. Essraa has been a member of ACRL since 2014 and is your ACRL member of the week for July 24, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Global citizen, flexible.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Reading Choosing to Lead: The Motivational Factors of Underrepresented Minority Librarians in Higher Education, edited by Antonia P. Olivas. Listening to TED Talks.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Innovative, accepting, thriving for diversity.

4. What do you value about ACRL? Sense of a special community, like-minded people, amazing publications, great Instagram!, valuable newsletter, amazing scholarship opportunities.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? International flavor (as an Egyptian-American), diversity initiatives, and fundraising opportunities; serve as chair of the Arts, Exhibits and Events Committee, head of library development, and liaison to the Muslim Student Association and the Interfaith Center.

6. In your own words: I just received my Masters of Library and Information Sciences in May, 2017 so I am not an academic librarian yet, but my dean is working on the transition. Yet, I can already tell that as a librarian, one can touch so many lives and affect many decisions. In my position, I help bring academic programming and events to life and make various fundraising opportunities happen. Wearing that academic cap will give me the opportunity to be at the table and contribute to the profession locally and nationally.

Watch Essraa’s Tedx Talk, “Feeling Welcomed and Empowered.”


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: James K. Teliha

James K. TelihaJames K. Teliha is the director of the library and learning commons at Utica College in Utica, NY. James has been a member of ACRL since 1997 and is your ACRL member of the week for July 17, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Here – As Woody Allen said, showing up is 80% of life.

Optimist – I honestly believe that things are getting better (and hope I’m contributing toward that goal).

Traveler – Seven continents, 49 countries (50 this fall), and counting.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Philip Kerr’s Prussian Blue (the latest Bernie Gunther novel) and Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes’ Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collegial, expertise, service.

4. What do you value about ACRL? My colleagues’ expertise—academic librarianship should never be lonely—on our professional standards and their uncanny ability to know what the next big things are (and how to deal with them), and most importantly, the ability to serve and participate in ACRL and give back to the profession.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I am the fixer at my college—I help students (both online and ground) complete their assignments and pass their classes, I help the faculty with their research and teaching, and I help build the timeless collection that is my college’s library—the intellectual heart of any college.

6. In your own words: I completely love what I do and can’t imagine not being in a library every day. For me, librarianship is a calling not just a job or career choice. I’ve worked in all kinds of libraries (public, special, and academic) and have felt most useful in academic libraries. I never know where the day will take me, but I do know it will take all my skill and experience as a librarian to help as many people as I can and do my job. And I never stop learning new things.


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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