Christian Dupont is Burns Librarian and Associate University Librarian for Special Collections at the Boston College John J. Burns Library in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Christian has been an ACRL member since 1998 and is your ACRL member of the week for December 15, 2014.
1. Describe yourself in three words: Philosophical. Adventuresome. Protean.
2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? For pleasure reading, I’m constantly taking advantage of free moments while my hands are busy to tune into my LibriVox and Audible downloads. In anticipation of my new position at BC, I’ve spent the last few weeks discovering Graham Greene (we have his personal library and papers at the Burns). I started with The End of the Affair and am now deep into The Heart of the Matter, having bitten off Brighton Rock in between.
I’ve also been reacquainting myself with Jesuit spirituality under the direction of James Martin, SJ, who has in turn led me back to Thomas Merton and his Seven Storey Mountain. All roads always lead me home to Dante, my constant companion now in every stage of our life’s journey (I was appointed Secretary and Librarian of the Dante Society of America this past spring). With my teenage daughter as a highway companion on a recent drive back to Virginia, we chased down several short stories from Mark Parent’s Secret Society of Demolition Writers anthology while doing our best to avoid collisions of our own (don’t tell mom!).
3. Describe ACRL in three words: Revitalizing. Resourceful. Resource-full.
4. What do you value about ACRL? In truth, everything—beginning with the opportunities to connect and collaborate with colleagues who share similar commitments to improving academic libraries and increasing their relevance and value in our rapidly evolving educational, social, and technological environments. Over the years, through various leadership roles in RBMS (my section home) and the larger organization, I have also enjoyed opportunities to work closely with almost all of the ACRL staff, who continually inspire me with their dedication, professionalism, and vitality.
5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? Well, that remains to be seen! I just recently started in my new role at Boston College. As associate university librarian for special collections, my primary aim will to be work with my eager staff in the Burns Library to engage an ever-growing proportion of our students and faculty with our unique collection resources and, beyond our local sphere, the larger scholarly world and global public. Because our collection strengths align strongly with BC’s Jesuit, Catholic character and mission, our goal is to become an ever more vital resource and node of BC’s intellectual and cultural life. Burns Library has had especially strong ties with BC’s Center for Irish Programs through our Irish Music Center and distinguished annual visiting scholar program. I look forward to further enhancing those alliances and cultivating relationships with many other academic departments and programs.
6. In your own words: Six years ago, while I was director of special collections at UVa, I decided to jump the rails and join Atlas Systems, the library software development company best known for creating the ILLiad interlibrary loan management system, to lead the development and promotion of Aeon, the first online user and request management system designed specifically for special collections and archives. Leveraging network and database technologies to liberate rare books and manuscripts proved liberating for me as well, both personally and professionally. And yet at times I felt that having a .com instead of a .edu or .org at the end of my email address limited librarians’ perceptions of me as a partner who was equally invested in the success of our shared enterprise. I like to think that I became good at working past the “vendor” image, and now that I have reassumed the outward signs of my identity as an academic librarian, I like to think that I will be good at helping my library colleagues think about possibilities for partnerships outside the library in fresh and creative ways.
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