Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Shahla Bahavar

Shahla BahavarShahla Bahavar is Director of Public Services Division I and Head of the Science & Engineering Library at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Shahla has been an ACRL member since 1997  and is your ACRL member of the week for July 7, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Collegial, mentor, leader.

2. What are you currently reading?  I read a variety of materials, some for pleasure and some for professional development and on my research interests. Due to my personal interest in information literacy and services for international students as well as the concept of the Information Commons and the tiered-reference service model, most my readings are focused around those topics. Currently I’m reading Library Reference Services and Information Literacy: Models for Academic Institutions and Meeting the Needs of Student Users in Academic Libraries: Reaching Across the Great Divide.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Professional, educational, innovative.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value ACRL as the leading professional organization focusing on issues and topics of librarianship that relate directly to academic and research institutions. ACRL presents key information to keep us informed in our rapidly changing environment and offers valuable professional development opportunities through programs that are tailored to our needs, which help us keep up with changes and broaden our knowledge of academic and research libraries. ACRL provides a medium to presenting and publishing on academic library research and best practices while addressing emerging trends through conferences, publications, and online discussion lists.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I contribute to information discovery and access, to faculty scholarship and student learning, and to intellectual and educational endeavors of all kinds. Most importantly, I contribute to the mission of the USC Libraries as well as the University’s strategic vision through key services and activities such as information literacy instruction, research services, collection development, and outreach. Through outreach, I promote and present on the value of the library and its resources and services to the USC community.

6. In your own words:  I’m committed to ensuring intelligent access to research resources for future generations. The library profession is all about passion: passion to help, passion to serve, passion to teach, passion to give.  I love USC and have been with USC Libraries for many years. Working at a large research institution, every day is different and exciting. In addition to my administrative responsibilities as Director and a unit head of a big research library, I contribute significantly to public service activities, including teaching information literacy instruction and research services. I enjoy interacting with students, teaching them something that they didn’t know, opening their eyes to the world of resources that they were not aware of, and facilitating their learning, discovery, and utilization of information.

I am especially sensitive to the needs of the international students and actively work with them to help them get acquainted to the Western library system and the complexity of our institution’s library system. I’m devoted to user services and strive to bring excellence in all my public service activities and other administrative and user-focused service responsibilities.


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: Beth Stahr

Beth StahrBeth Stahr is Head of Reference at the Southeastern Louisiana University Sims Memorial Library in Hammond, Louisiana. Beth has been an ACRL member since 1998  and is your ACRL member of the week for June 30, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, analytical, focused.

2. What are you currently reading?  My reading list is somewhat scattered, but predictable by those who know me well. I’m reading Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America by François Weil. As a former professional genealogist who is still certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, I am intrigued by this arms-length view of Americans’ interest in family history. As a resident of southeastern Louisiana, I am always interested in scholarship relating to local lore, so I’m also reading A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau by Carolyn Morrow Long. And, at the suggestion of my director, for pure enjoyment, I just finished Help for the Haunted by John Searles on my Kindle.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Innovative, collaborative, enlightening.

4. What do you value about ACRL?  I appreciate ACRL’s push toward excellence in everything it attempts, from the ACRL conferences, to the publications, to online courses. The concept of quality permeates every offering.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? Faculty librarians on our campus provide traditional services like information literacy instruction, reference assistance, and subject area expertise, but also contribute to the institutional fabric by service on Faculty Senate and on important university committees. I am honored to currently serve on the University Tenure and Promotion Committee and the Institutional Review Board, positions which allow me to share the library’s unique perspective. I also serve as the treasurer of the university’s chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, interacting with students, faculty, retired faculty and alumni. I’m convinced that these campus connections accentuate what we do in the library, and help remind teaching faculty of our impact on our campus.

6. In your own words:  The possibilities are unending—the variety of work, the constant change, the outreach and service and working with faculty across campus is so personally enriching. There is never a moment of workplace boredom, and academic librarians can find their personal identity in so many different ways.


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: Marie R. Kennedy

Marie R. KennedyMarie R. Kennedy is Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian at the Loyola Marymount University William H. Hannon Library in Los Angeles, California. Marie has been an ACRL member since 2004  and is your ACRL member of the week for June 23, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Engaged lifelong learner.

2. What are you currently reading?  I’m in the middle of Night Sweats by Laura Crossett and just starting Analyzing Social Networks by Borgatti, Everett, and Johnson.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Connector, network, professional.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I still remember telling my colleagues after I returned from my first ACRL conference that I had found my tribe. The people I talked to at the conference were thinking about the same kinds of things happening at my own library and seemed to be honestly interested in how to improve/develop/create in order to better connect with patrons. When I think about ACRL, I consider it to be an organization that effectively connects librarians with similar interests and passions.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? My work is in technical services, managing serials and electronic resources, but the work I do has a very public face. When I first began working at LMU, I focused on building the infrastructure to make our electronic resources work as seamlessly as possible, focusing on patron-facing features as the most important component of that effort. As the infrastructure has become solid I can now turn my attention to communicating about those resources, using marketing techniques and feedback mechanisms.

6. In your own words:  As an academic librarian, I value being a practitioner in the field of librarianship and at the same time a questioner of our own practices. Most of my research is generated from observing how we do things in the profession and wondering if we could be doing something different or better. This kind of job is a dream for a person who is naturally curious and interested in how people interact with information.


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: Brianna Marshall

Brianna MarshallBrianna Marshall is Digital Curation Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wisconsin. Brianna has been an ACRL member since 2012  and is your ACRL member of the week for June 16, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Positive, analytical, pragmatic.

2. What are you currently reading?  I am re-reading Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. The third and final book in the series, MaddAddam, came out in the last few months and I can’t wait to read it. Now that I’m done scouring the web for job ads my availability has really opened up, so I am eagerly welcoming reading for pleasure back into my life!

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Community, connections, collaboration.

4. What do you value about ACRL? My first real introduction to ACRL was attending the 2013 conference with the generous help of an ACRL scholarship. I’m a big picture thinker, so I was really inspired by the opportunity to compare what was happening at different institutions, especially in terms of digital scholarship and data curation. ACRL 2013 confirmed that I want to work in an academic library a thousand times over. Although I had attended several other conferences in the past, I felt a strong connection to the community there. Now I’m looking into ways to become more involved with ACRL moving forward.

5. What do you as a librarian/ technologist contribute to your campus? While pursuing my MLS and MIS at Indiana University (IU), I was lucky to be able to work in various roles within the IU Libraries: Science Data Curation Assistant in the Scholarly Communication Department, Digital Library Research Assistant for Digital Collections Services, and Project Assistant for the Avalon Media System. In an average week I got to work one-on-one with colleagues, researchers, and students; write about digital projects; and tinker with different technologies until they worked (or until they broke – which is just another step toward figuring out how to make them work, really). I did my part to further the progress of the many amazing digital projects happening there.

I just started this month as the Digital Curation Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW). I can’t pinpoint specifics about my impact yet, seeing as I’m only a few weeks into the job, but I will say that I’m most excited when I can convince people that the library is relevant to them. People make assumptions about what the library is and does; we need to be proactive in communicating and marketing our spaces and services to the academic community. If we don’t take an active role in shaping people’s ideas about the library, it will fail to be a connector central to campus life. Although there are many technical aspects of my job, I am a believer in getting enthusiastic faces out in front of faculty, staff, and students, so this is something I hope to prioritize in my position. Institutional repositories and data services add incredible value but without relationships that lead to use and support, you aren’t going to get very far.

6. In your own words:  As an undergraduate I was drawn to my campus library because it was equally a place for guidance, inspiration, collaboration, or solitude – it all depended on my needs at the time. Now as I look at things from a librarian/technologist perspective, I still find myself considering library spaces and services. How can we ensure that the library is a place where people want to be? Even if a user never steps foot in the library, how can we develop services that are useful? How can we leverage technology to enrich users’ lives? These are huge issues that bring more questions than answers but it’s a worthy challenge for the profession.

I’ll be honest: There are days when I am overwhelmed by how much I don’t know. However, I’ve been really encouraged by how helpful my mentors and the broader library community have been. Whether I’m looking for advice or support, colleagues have been very accessible, with many of the connections coming via Twitter or as a byproduct of conference meetups. The morale boost I get from having an amazing network helped me bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm back to my work at IU and I suspect the same will be true for UW.


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: Laura Saunders

Laura SaundersLaura Saunders is Assistant Professor in the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Boston. Laura has been an ACRL member since 2007  and is your ACRL member of the week for June 9, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Passionate, Curious, Optimistic.

2. What are you currently reading?  I’m currently reading a great non-fiction book called The Half-Life of Facts, which explains the rate at which knowledge is changing in different fields.  I’m intrigued by this because I think it has some interesting implications for information literacy.  And, although I haven’t actually started it yet, I finally got my hands on a copy of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s book The Prisoner of Heaven.  I read The Shadow of the Wind several years ago and absolutely loved it, so I am very excited to read the further adventures of Daniel Sempre!

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Professional, Supportive, Educators.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I see ACRL as one of my main pipelines to the profession.  I draw on its standards, guidelines, forums, etc., constantly to keep informed about what is going on in the field, and I share these resources with my students.  The ACRL standards – such as the information literacy standards or proficiencies for instruction librarians – often form a framework for my research and teaching.  Finally, the ACRL conference is one of my all-time favorite conferences.  I look forward to it every two years, and always come back feeling energized!

5. What do you as an LIS educator contribute to your campus? Within my own department, I try to strike a balance between theory and practice.  While I definitely spend time in all of my classes examining relevant theoretical and philosophical perspectives on content, I also try to be sure to demonstrate how these theories are reflected in practice.  I always try to remember that I am working with future professionals, and I want them to see and understand the connections between the theories that form the foundation of our field and the day-to-day activities that they will engage in as practitioners.  On the wider campus, I like to think that I bring a library perspective to the conversation.  When meeting with faculty, staff, and students across campus, I can often be the person who reminds others of

6. In your own words:  Being a librarian was the best job I ever had, second only to being a library educator.  I feel very lucky to be able to work with up and coming students, to discuss the current issues and challenges of the field with them, and to watch as they grow into full-fledged professionals.  I also love being able to make contributions to the field through my research and publications.  I hope that through all of these activities I can give a little bit back to the field.


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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