Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Rachel Borchardt

Rachel BorchardtRachel Borchardt is the Science Librarian at American University in Washington, D.C. Rachel has been an ACRL member since 2006 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 29, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Passionate, quirky, and helpful.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? These days, I usually only listen to audiobooks while running, so I have a strong preference for YA sci-fi/fantasy, which is entertaining enough to distract me while running! I’m currently reading Atlantia by Ally Condie and The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani is up next.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Diverse, engaging, and useful.

4. What do you value about ACRL? The thing I value most about ACRL has been the opportunity to meet other science librarians and become involved in STS. The wide range of opportunities to both learn and contribute, from conference presentations and discussions to webinars and ACRL publications, has been invaluable to my growth as a librarian and scholar. And a specific shout-out to Kathryn Deiss, who has been a valuable resource in helping publish our book through ACRL!

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? Like many subject specialists, many of my contributions happen through my reference, instruction, and collection management duties in support of the faculty and students on campus. I also serve on a fair number of committees, including serving on the faculty senate as the library representative starting this June. Right now, I am trying to build a better program to support the research impact needs on our campus, including offering workshops and presentations to faculty and graduate students and providing one-on-one consultations with faculty, many of whom are preparing tenure or reappointment files.

6. In your own words: As librarians, I think our community is uniquely poised to affect higher education in many ways, and we are often looked to by the academic community as an important leader in many discussions. To that end, I believe that we have an opportunity to influence the current research impact landscape – that is, to reimagine what it means to measure the ways in which a scholar impacts his or her academic discipline. For instance, within our own profession, we recognize that scholarly contributions can occasionally mean something different than other professions – a presentation at the ACRL conference, for example, can have a greater impact than traditional scholarship in the form of a peer-reviewed publication. I think, as a profession, now is the time for us to define what scholarship means to our profession and how we want to measure the impact of that scholarship. And yes, I think that altmetrics has a role to play in capturing our impact.


Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Elizabeth Caris at ecaris@ala.org for more information.

Member of the Week: Kenny Garcia

Kenny GarciaKenny Garcia is Reference and Instruction Librarian at California State University – Monterey Bay in Seaside, California. Kenny has been an ACRL member since 2009 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 22, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Student-centered, praxical, and community-oriented.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? I just finished reading What’s Gender Got to Do With It? A Critique of RDA Rule 9.7 by Amber Billey, Emily Drabinski, and K.R. Roberto. I’m currently reading Environments for Student Growth and Development edited by Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Melissa Autumn Wong, Love Cake by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, This House, My Bones by Elmaz Abinader, Black Prophetic Fire by Cornel West, and Prison Notebooks by Antonio Gramsci. I look forward to reading Uncivil Rites by Steven Salaita when it’s published in November.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, collaborative, and engaging.

4. What do you value about ACRL? As a fairly new member to the library profession, I have found the association to be extremely valuable for my professional development, networking opportunities, and learning about best practices in the various areas of academic librarianship. I received a scholarship to attend my first ACRL conference in Portland this year. It was an amazing experience and I was able to reflect on my pedagogical skills and network with other academic librarians interested in critical information literacy, diversity, and faculty/staff collaborations.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a reference and instruction librarian, I provide reference assistance at a reference desk and support business, nursing, and kinesiology students through consultations and library instruction sessions. I’m also responsible for the collection development in the business and health & wellness subject areas. I’ve also been able to build a pedagogical community with library colleagues, student affairs colleagues, teaching faculty, and students.

6. In your own words: I love collaborating with library colleagues, student affairs colleagues, teaching faculty, and students. I feel fortunate to be working at a Hispanic-serving institution that has historically valued serving undereducated and first-generation students, while incorporating social justice, inclusive excellence, and gender equity-based values in its vision and mission statements. As a profession, I hope academic librarianship will continue to grapple with issues related to diversity, critical librarianship, and social justice. As academic librarians, I also believe that engaging and collaborating with community-based organizations and partners is vital to the flourishing of students as civically and critically engaged community members. I love what I do, and find the process of engaging and building with academic communities and community spaces to be very fulfilling!


Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Elizabeth Caris at ecaris@ala.org for more information.

Member of the Week: Esther Stampfer Grassian

Esther Stampfer Grassian

Esther Grassian is Adjunct Librarian at Pierce College in Los Angeles, California and Distinguished Librarian Emerita of UCLA. Esther has been an ACRL member since 1986 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 15, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: “A librarian forever!”

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? Just recently I enjoyed reading The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, then finished Unbroken, and am just starting The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Also eagerly awaiting Hilary Mantel’s 3rd Thomas Cromwell novel, though I’m not a fan of the TV mini-series. I also still read books in paper– I just finished The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and I’m currently reading Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up (about his career as a comedian). I have waiting in the wings, Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano, 1776 by David McCullough, My Ántonia by Willa Cather, Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, I’ll Mature When I’m Dead by Dave Barry, and Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, as well as Active Learning Techniques for Librarians by Andrew Walsh and Padma Inala. Whew!

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Opportunity, networking, and “quality control.”

4. What do you value about ACRL? I truly value the many opportunities ACRL offers to learn, connect with others, and contribute to the profession through committee work, elected office, publications, and continuing education. Basically, you can make a difference with ACRL!

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus?

Just a few highlights from my 41-year career at UCLA, in a variety of capacities, beginning with Reference Librarian (1969), through Reference/Instruction Librarian, Information Literacy Coordinator, Interim Head (College Library), and ending with Information Literacy Outreach Coordinator (through June 2011)…

  1. CAMPUS LEADERSHIP AND COLLABORATION: Worked with campus computing center staff on Internet training. Led the UCLA Library’s Internet Training Group, teaching UCLA librarians, staff and students how to use the Internet, beginning with Gopher (1993/94) and proceeding through the Web (1995 +); also wrote one of the first web evaluation guides: “Thinking Critically About World Wide Web Resources” (1995).
  2. UC LEADERSHIP: Served in various leadership capacities, including chairing the local (UCLA) Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC-LA), as well as the statewide LAUC, and served as Interim Head of College Library (UCLA’s undergraduate library), August-December 2007.
  3. PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP: Have chaired local, regional, and national groups, including the ACRL Instruction Section; established and chaired LILi (Lifelong Information Literacy), a grassroots California multi-type library group focused on supporting and encouraging development of sequential lifelong information literacy instruction curricula.
  4. iSCHOOL INTERNSHIP DEVELOPMENT & SUPERVISION: Established and supervised many UCLA iSchool Interns who worked on a variety of projects, including an extensive online tutorial (“Road to Research”), a number of point-of-use guides, as well as an adaptation of the University of Minnesota’s open source “Assignment Calculator.”
  5. CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT FOR THE PROFESSION: With Joan Kaplowitz, proposed and then alternated teaching a 4-unit graduate course in information literacy instruction for MLIS and PhD students in the UCLA iSchool (1990-present); co-authored two ILI textbooks for this course.
  6. CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT WITH FACULTY COLLABORATION: Working collaboratively with UCLA faculty, proposed and taught two 1-unit undergraduate IL courses: a lower-division course in the Honors program, and an upper-division course in the English Composition Department.

As a part-time Adjunct Librarian at Pierce College (1 of the 9 Los Angeles Community Colleges), just since February 2015, I am very happy to be back doing reference, teaching one-shots, and now also working on student success (Equity-funded) projects. Here are a few highlights…

  1. Adapted point-of-use guide for EBSCO databases from UCLA College Library guide.
  2. Created UCLA iSchool Reference/Instruction Internship for the coming year and will have two Interns in Fall 2015.
  3. Publicized and promoted Pierce Library Research Appointments to support student success (Equity-funded) initiative.
  4. Developed LibGuide for English (language and writing).

6. In your own words: Academic/research librarians make a tremendous difference in the lives and success of students, staff, and faculty, helping them leap “thresholds” of all kinds (we’ve been doing that for many decades), though usually not in a single bound… “Information literacy vaccine” requires repeated “booster shots” for everyone–i.e., a lifelong learning mindset. Faculty need updates; grad students need to learn about and expand their information resources/tools horizons; undergrads need introductions to the world of library resources beyond (though also encompassing) Google and Wikipedia; staff need to learn about library resources. Of course, information literacy represents just one aspect of the added value that academic/research librarians bring to their institutions.

In fact, ACRL has put a lot of emphasis on studying and promoting the value of academic and research libraries. But, will we continue to have academic/research librarians? Many library administrators need consciousness-raising regarding the value of academic/research librarians with MLS/MLIS degrees. Some are hiring people with PhDs who have deep subject expertise in specific subject areas, highly useful for collection development. But do those with PhDs have the “big picture”– an overview of information tools and resources, of the history, roles and functions of libraries and librarians, of knowledge organization and access, data preservation, data and culture, privacy and confidentiality, digital and information literacy? Generally not, and the same is true for others with expertise now valuable to libraries–e.g., in digital humanities, cultural anthropology, technologies of various kinds, data management, etc. Adding these kinds of experts can expand a library’s scope, but should they be hired as librarians or into new positions that focus on their expertise?

Academic/research librarians, as I said above, your work and your help are crucial to the success of your academic community. You are expert researchers and many of you are also scholars. I urge you to use that expertise to search for evidence to support arguments regarding the value of the MLS/MLIS degree, to develop and conduct your own research on the value of the degree, and to publicize the results widely before the MLS/MLIS-holding academic/research librarian vanishes.


Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Elizabeth Caris at ecaris@ala.org for more information.

Member of the Week: Phil Waterman

Phil WatermanPhil Waterman is Head of Research Support Services at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. Phil has been an ACRL member since 2012 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 8, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Dedicated, helpful, and humorous.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? I finally got around to reading The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell.  I hope to use some of his ideas to tip information literacy into our new core curriculum.  Just before that, I read The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester.  This is such a Librarian book!  Next on my list, for the flight to and from ALA San Francisco, is The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Professional, educational, and engaging.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the opportunities that ACRL provides to learn from and connect with fellow librarians. I value the first-rate professional development that ACRL provides through its conferences, online programs, and publications.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I feel that I contribute to my campus community through my work within the library as Head of Research Support Services, and through my work outside the library as a member of various college committees. First, through the services and resources the library offers, my colleagues and I strive to contribute to the academic successes of our students. We know that we have a role to play in our students having successful academic careers and we constantly work to fulfill that role as best we can. Whether it’s by answering questions at our research help desk, meeting with students one-on-one for a research consultation, teaching a research instruction session, or creating online research guides, we believe we are contributing to their learning and their academic success. In this way, we are contributing to our college community.

Second, I contribute to my campus community and support its goals and mission by volunteering to serve on campus-wide committees, such as our Academic Honesty Advisory Committee, Curriculum Review Committee, NEASC Accreditation Group, and our Technology Advisory Committee. I know that to be as successful as my community wants to be, and needs to be, in advancing student learning, requires committing one’s self to these additional roles. Also, being involved with these committees raises the profile of the library within my college community. I want my college community to think of the library as an active campus participant; one that is interested in and qualified to contribute to the academic success of our students.

6. In your own words: I often find myself describing my job as fun when asked by friends or family, “How’s work?” I’m always taken aback when I respond that way. It’s a job. How can it be fun? Maybe it’s because previously I worked for 25 years in the banking industry, which would definitely not be described as fun. I know that’s part of it. But the academic environment with its focus on learning and helping others is definitely a better fit for me, and I find this environment invigorating. There is always something new to learn, something new to try, or some unexpected turn in the road that leads to a new venture or adventure. I find that I can’t be bored being a research librarian.

The other reason why I find this career so enjoyable is the people. Librarians are definitely a different breed from bankers! Their focus on learning, their unfailing willingness to help others – be they students, faculty or fellow librarians – makes working with librarians so refreshing and energizing. Finally, the students with their youthfulness bring their own source of energy to the work environment. That’s why I thoroughly enjoy being a research librarian.


Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Elizabeth Caris at ecaris@ala.org for more information.

Member of the Week: Anne K. Heimann

Anne K Heimann

Anne Heimann is Director of Library Services at Bryan College of Health Sciences in Lincoln, Nebraska. Anne has been an ACRL member since 2009 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 1, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Adaptable, driven, and dedicated.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? Wildwood by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Carson Ellis. I’m a big fan of the band The Decemberists and Colin Meloy is their lead singer. Not only is he a great singer, but a talented writer as well. And I’m always trying to keep up with the professional journals. I also have a slight addiction to fashion and food blogs.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, progressive, and passionate.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the collaborative nature of ACRL members. Everyone I encounter through the organization demonstrates a true passion to serve the information needs of their users. And because ACRL members are so willing to share ideas, I am always learning new and different ways to meet the ever-changing needs of our students and faculty. I also greatly value the ACRL conference. It’s by far the most useful, fun, and motivating of all conferences.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As director, it is my job to ensure library services and collections align with and support the College mission. I make sure that our users have access to the information they need, when they need it, and can obtain it in an effective and efficient manner. This involves everything from collection development, web design, statistical analysis of usage, and resource implementation and maintenance. Because we are only a staff of three, I also get to participate in all areas of the Library, from interlibrary loan to reference to cataloging. In addition, I serve on academic committees to advocate for the Library’s role in curriculum changes and developments.

6. In your own words: I feel incredibly blessed to be in a profession that brings me great professional and personal satisfaction. Whether it’s keeping up on new technologies, learning different ways to engage users, or helping a student find the article they need, I love the work I do. The dynamic nature of librarianship provides me with endless challenges. I know my role in a student’s development of new knowledge is important, and that is extremely gratifying. I love being a librarian.


Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Elizabeth Caris at ecaris@ala.org for more information.

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