Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Robin M. Katz

Robin KatzRobin M. Katz is the outreach and public services librarian for Special Collections and University Archives at the University of California, Riverside in Riverside, CA. Robin first joined ACRL in 2007 and is your ACRL member of the week for July 10, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, strategic, and communicative.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Since I moved to LA and bought a car, I now spend my long commute listening to podcasts. A LOT of podcasts. I’m a big fan of Gimlet’s shows, especially Reply All, which is about the internet; Twice Removed, about genealogy; and Heavyweight, which defies categorization and approaches poetry. There’s little I love more than eating, so I always look forward to Gastropod, about the history and science of food, and I really enjoy The Sporkful. For explorations of identity, I love Tablet’s Unorthodox, for us modern, irreverent Jews; Slate’s Double X about gender and feminism; 2 Dope Queens; and NPR’s Code Switch. Finally, I think my professional practices benefit from listening in on the entrepreneurial and business worlds through Planet Money, Freakonomics, NPR’s interviews with successful company founders on How I Built This and Gimlet’s Startup—especially season 1 about starting Gimlet and this last season about the controversial founder of American Apparel.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: An opportunity, a resource, and a community.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I’m active in RBMS and the annual RBMS Conference it is by far my favorite professional conference because the quality of programming is so high (that’s the plus side of having business meetings at ALA Midwinter and Annual. The cons, of course, are time and money). I always suggest that my colleagues in archives and special collections make the RBMS Conference a priority—it is an ideal size, the daily itinerary is easy to navigate as an attendee, the community is welcoming and approachable, and the sessions are both smart and interesting.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As a special collections librarian and archivist focused on public services, I connect people (on our campus, but also beyond!) to primary sources. I hope we create meaningful interactions with our collections which help our users explore, learn, grow, play with, and reflect on issues that matter to them.

6. In your own words: Librarianship is a perfect fit for generalists! I am always learning something new.


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: Ashleigh D. Coren

Ashleigh D. CorenAshleigh D. Coren is a resident librarian at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. Ashleigh first joined ACRL in 2016 and is your ACRL member of the week for July 5, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Perceptive, empathetic, determined.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I just finished Shea Serrano’s The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979 and Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware The Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen and Shannon Watters, which were both fantastic. I am almost done with Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild and am rereading Bobby Brown’s memoir, Every Little Step: My Story, for fun.

As for podcasts, I try to keep up with You Must Remember This and The Read.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, adaptable, standards.

4. What do you value about ACRL? Over the past year I’ve been able to connect with some wonderful people who both affirm and stretch my perception of what it means to be a librarian in the 21st century. To meet individuals, particularly those of color, who work tirelessly to transcend the boundaries of what it means to be an academic librarian, while being their authentic selves, is always a privilege.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I’ve spent the last year working with our library administrative team on various initiatives to support our underserved communities on campus including commuter students, student veterans, and first-generation students. In the last academic year I’ve developed workshops on library services for our retention programs, coordinated short videos to promote our services to student veterans, and mentored students. Working in the dean’s office has been quite the experience–I’ve learned quite a bit about the complexities of organizational change and the importance of creating a work environment where people feel empowered and are encouraged to see opportunity within uncertainty.

On top of the work I do through the dean’s office, I also teach! Right now I’m co-teaching an online course on film and media literacy.

6. In your own words: I love the fluidity of academic librarianship and am energized by the fact that I know as my career progresses, my interests and areas of expertise will shift as well. I’m also excited by all of the discussions and debates regarding diversity and inclusion in higher education and am curious to see whether these conversations will lead to a reexamination of what success looks like in our profession.


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: Andrea Baer

Andrea BaerAndrea Baer is an instructional services librarian at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, GA. She is also part of the presenter team for ACRL’s new licensed workshop Engaging with the ACRL Framework: A Catalyst for Exploring and Expanding Our Teaching Practices. Andrea first joined ACRL in 2010 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 26, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Reflective, curious, aspirational.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? In my professional work I have been reading a lot about discussion-based pedagogies, in particular as they relate to engaging with politically and emotionally charged topics. Some of this work looks at the emotional dimensions of learning, as well as at the challenges and potential limitations of classroom dialogue. Such writing is especially relevant to a credit-bearing information literacy course I teach on news literacy. Some of the works I am finding particularly useful are Megan Boler’s Democratic Dialogue in Education and her Feeling Power and Diana Hess and Paula McAvoy’s The Political Classroom.

For fun I’ve been reading Lydia Davis’s amazing short short stories in Break It Down. I’m also a big fan of podcasts like Invisibilia and Radio Lab, and am addicted to the Netflix show Grace and Frankie.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Connecting, forward-looking, multi-faceted.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I most value how ACRL helps to connect academic library professionals who work in a wide range of contexts. The conversations and collaborations that ACRL helps make possible help us explore both the possibilities and the realities of our individual and shared professional practices. Because most of my library work focuses on teaching and learning, I especially appreciate that ACRL has served as a catalyst for discussions about our evolving roles as educators and as teaching partners.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? In 2016 I joined the University of West Georgia (UWG) as an instructional services librarian. My main responsibilities at UWG are teaching a credit-bearing information literacy course; liaising to the English and first year writing programs; developing cross-disciplinary instructional materials; and supporting student learning through a range of initiatives (for example, faculty workshops and most recently a faculty learning community on news literacy).

I think one unique thing that I bring to my work at and beyond UWG is an interdisciplinary perspective that I developed in part through previous graduate teaching and research in comparative literature and cultural studies. That earlier experience, in combination with my continued teaching and research, has had a big influence on how I approach information literacy instruction as contextual and as a process of open inquiry and exploration. Having worked at both research-intensive and teaching-centered institutions, I also strive to bring a sensitivity to local contexts to my work. I see this as vital to approaching information literacy as a shared responsibility of all educators. I believe my various learning and work experiences have also helped me to develop ways of talking about and exploring information literacy’s relevance with educators across disciplines.

6. In your own words: As an instruction librarian, I believe this is an especially important and exciting time for librarians engaged in information literacy education. The complexity and the relevance of information literacy is so apparent in this current moment of political polarization, as every day we encounter conflicting information sources and highly charged public and political discourse. In this climate it is easy to either disengage entirely from what’s happening in the world or to choose just to believe whatever one wants to believe, rather than critically examine evidence and argument and seek out varying perspectives. This moment has presented a very real context for exploring information literacy as something meaningful and inextricable from people’s everyday lives and from our sociopolitical conditions and environments.

Many educators outside librarianship share this concern and seem to be recognizing on a deeper level the importance of information literacy. Such appreciation of information literacy’s complexity and relevance is occurring at the same time that librarians’ instructional work has been shifting toward teaching about broader conceptual understandings like “Research as Inquiry;” engaging with the sociopolitical, historical, and ethical dimensions of information production and use; and approaching information literacy as a shared responsibility of all educators. We are experiencing a lot of change, which can feel at times overwhelming, but which also opens room for a great deal of creativity and possibility for how we support student learning.


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: Robert P. Holley

Robert P. HolleyRobert P. Holley is a professor emeritus at Wayne State University in Huntington Woods, MI. Robert has been a member of ACRL since 1974 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 19, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Intellectual, curious, eclectic.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Laclos to maintain my fluency in French.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Innovative, focused, valuable.

4. What do you value about ACRL? The national conferences. I’ve attended all but two since they began in Boston in 1979. Beyond the practical sessions on library issues, I remember the amazing keynote speakers. My favorite choice for its audacity and support for intellectual freedom was John Waters at the 2007 Baltimore conference. This unconventional media star shocked some in the audience but exemplified for me the counter culture aspects of many librarians.

5. What have you as an academic librarian contributed to your campus? Until my retirement in 2015, I worked as a librarian and library educator in three large research universities. One of my goals was to undermine the negative stereotypes about librarians by being active in the intellectual, political, and social life of the university. Having this dual career, I also worked to bridge the divide between librarians and faculty by sharing my perspectives on how the two groups sometimes misunderstood each other.

6. In your own words: The best thing that ever happened to me was not getting a faculty appointment in 1971, the first year of the PhD glut. I became a library assistant in the Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, and six months later started commuting to Columbia University to get my library science degree. I’ve been extremely happy as a librarian, teacher, and researcher. I have wide ranging interests and delight in synthesizing information from multiple sources, two traits librarianship values. I’m pleased that I ended my career with broad experience both as a librarian and an educator.


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: Sara Lowe

Sara LoweSara Lowe is the educational development librarian at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in Indianapolis, IN. She is also part of the presenter team for ACRL’s new licensed workshop Assessment in Action: Demonstrating and Communicating Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success. Sara first joined ACRL in 2004 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 12, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Inquisitive, goofy, passionate.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? An Everyone Culture by Kegan Lahey; SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard; MIND MGMT by Matt Kindt.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Inspiration for practice.

4. What do you value about ACRL? Their advocacy as well as moving the profession forward (e.g., Assessment In Action, The Framework for Information Literacy). Their top notch publications and conference. Colleagues I’ve met via committees and conferences.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As educational development librarian at IUPUI, I hope I act as a bridge or conduit between the work of teaching librarians and disciplinary faculty, demonstrating to the campus the value of the work we do and how it contributes to the mission of the university.

6. In your own words: Working as an academic librarian is endlessly fun, challenging, and engaging. The research I do can be applied directly back to my (and my colleagues) teaching practice which creates a continuously improving feedback loop. This is a job where the curious thrive; I’m constantly learning new things and pushing my boundaries in instruction, assessment, and research.


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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