Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Jungwon Yang

Jungwon YangJungwon Yang is International Government Information and Public Policy Librarian at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. Jungwon has been an ACRL member since 2013 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 20, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Compassionate, inquisitive, analytical.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am reading Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo, Jules and Jim by Henri-Pierre Roche, and The Reluctant Welfare State by Bruce S. Jansson.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Communication, collaboration, inspiration.

4. What do you value about ACRL? The ACRL conference is a great place to learn about emerging issues in academic libraries and to communicate with colleagues who share similar interests. I also want to mention the wonderful Ms. Kathryn J. Deiss, ACRL’s former content strategist, who helped me immensely during the Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians in 2014. Her thoughtful advice about leadership, organizational culture, and creating a personal vision deeply helped me to realize what kind of librarian I want to be. She also helped me to understand how to balance my work and my private life. Last, but not the least, I  heard from my fellow University of Michigan Librarians that ACRL provides useful and exciting professional development programs for all level of librarians. I am very interested in participating in these ACRL programs in the near future.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As an international government information and public policy librarian, I provide reference and consultation services related to policy, international governmental organizations, and foreign governments to clients. I also teach library workshops related to public policy, government information, data resources and retrieval, research data management, and research method.  I collect and manage books, journals, statistics and other electronic resources related to public policy.

6. In your own words: As a research librarian, I am passionate about providing “reliable” information to researchers and improving data accessibility for them. My interest in the reliability and accessibility of information often leads me to explore new ideas and take on new projects, such as three library guides about statistics and geospatial data for three East Asian countries, a research methods class for the new graduate students of the Ford School of Public Policy, an international research data management workshop for librarians, and my attendance at the United Nations’ Regional Cartographic and Global Geospatial Information Management Conference to resolve a data accessibility problem. I cannot say that I was not nervous when I developed these new ideas. I am still nervous when I begin a new and challenging project. However, I am lucky to have advisors and mentors who encourage me to dream up new ideas and patiently wait while I figure out how to develop those ideas clearly. I’m also lucky because of the researchers at the University of Michigan who appreciate my efforts to create better research environments and because of my colleagues who share my burdens without hesitation.


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: Gabriel Gardner

Gabriel GardnerGabriel Gardner is Librarian for Criminal Justice, Linguistics, and Romance, German, Russian Languages & Literatures at California State University, Long Beach in Long Beach, California. Gabriel has been an ACRL member since 2015 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 13, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Committed, inquisitive, amiable.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently working through The Discoverers: A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself by Daniel J. Boorstin (the 12th Librarian of Congress). Before that I read The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. As for podcasts, I never miss an episode of EconTalk.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Sterling, inspiring, professional.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL provides high quality professional development programming, up to date scholarship and research on the state of academic libraries, and an incredibly diverse and useful personal network of librarians.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? Besides the traditional duties of managing specific subject collections, offering reference services, and teaching library instruction workshops, I work with staff to update our library’s website and ensure that access to our electronic resources is uninterrupted. Almost all aspects of my work require input and collaboration with others, be they students, staff, or faculty. A library is nothing without its patrons so I place a premium on their feedback.

6. In your own words: I became interested in librarianship due to my experiences in public libraries. My career began in public libraries and I enjoyed that; in a way, I came to academic librarianship by chance. I’m thankful every day for the opportunities I’ve had and the work that I am able to do as an academic librarian. The expectations of scholarship and service to the profession that are incumbent on academic librarians have been delightful challenges. The interactions I have with faculty and students on a regular basis provide me with several ways to make positive impacts not only on those individuals but also on the larger landscape of scientific and humanities scholarship itself. I am proud of the work our profession does.


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: Nicole Thomas

Nicole ThomasNicole Thomas is College Librarian at Erie Community College South Campus Library in Orchard Park, NY. Nicole has been an ACRL member since 2015 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 6, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Patient, ambitious, pragmatic.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I recently finished reading Mike Tyson’s Undisputed Truth. Until I make it to the next book, I’ll be filling my reading gap with newspapers, fitness, and fashion magazines. My mentor has also been sending me various professional articles for reflection and discussion.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Valuable, supportive, innovative.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value ACRL’s dedication to keeping academic librarians connected, especially to each other, the exchange of new and useful ideas is astounding. ACRL provides so much support with the availability of professional development opportunities and scholarships.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? One of my contributions is working to get our students reserve copies of textbooks. I consistently work with teaching faculty and publishers to help students succeed by having copies of their textbooks available when they need them. I also provide reference services and find new ways to effectively teach our students research skills during information literacy instruction.

6. In your own words: I’ve worked in libraries since I was a teenager in many different positions but the most meaningful has been as an academic librarian. I am always very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to grow and collaborate with others in the same field. It’s a great time to be in the profession with so much going on. I know I’ve made the right decision in choosing academic librarianship as a career.


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: Callie Wiygul Branstiter

Callie Wiygul BranstiterCallie Wiygul Branstiter is the Social Work Librarian at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. Callie joined ACRL in 2014 and is your ACRL member of the week for May 31, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Determined, empathetic, and collaborative.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’ve so much on my reading plate right now–it’s the best kind of problem! For pleasure I am reading John Adams by David McCullough and Abigail Adams by Woody Holton, while White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi and Almost Famous Women: Stories by Megan Mayhew Bergman are up next. I’m on the hold list at Los Angles Public Library for Helen Oyeyemi’s new collection of short stories, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours–I’m eagerly waiting my turn. I’m also actively reading the comics Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn, and Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron as each issue is released.

I was recently awarded a USC Libraries Research Grant to study William Faulkner’s time in Los Angeles. So for that project I am reading Faulkner: A Biography by Joseph Blotner; Becoming Faulkner: The Art and Life of William Faulkner by Philip Weinstein; and William Faulkner: Seeing Through the South by John T. Matthews, among other books.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Professional advocacy (and) leadership.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I’m an early career librarian who is new to ACRL. Thus far, I’ve been impressed by the scope and leadership of the organization. Librarians tend to listen when ACRL has something to say, or when the organization chooses to put their weight behind scholarship in a particular facet of librarianship. ACRL also advocates for its members while offering robust professional development opportunities for librarians at all stages of work–who doesn’t value that? For example, many of my colleagues identified their participation in the ACRL Immersion program as a key moment in their professional development. In fact, I’m very much looking forward to participating in the Teacher Track of the program in July. I also value the way that ACRL encourages its members to explore existing and emerging areas of librarianship to further hone their craft through its publications. I also must give a shout out to ACRLog–blogging for them as part of the First Year Academic Librarian series has been a highlight of my career.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I am the dedicated social work librarian for just under half of the approximately 3,000 graduate students enrolled in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. I work with all of the “on-ground” students, those who are not part of the virtual academic center (a distance program with its own dedicated librarian). I support five of the six academic centers for the School of Social Work located in San Diego, Orange County, and two locations in Los Angeles. Essentially, I spend most of my time providing library instruction and research assistance to students and faculty and developing library interventions for these populations. More broadly, I spend a significant amount of my day offering advice, instruction, and guidance to new students who are not accustomed to the complexity and rigor of college-level research.

I also participate in USC Libraries’ reference, orientation, and instruction programs, including the undergraduate and graduation orientation committees. But my proudest accomplishment so far is founding the First Generation College Student Initiative, the first program of its type at USC Libraries. I am interested in exploring the ways librarians can help first-generation and under-represented students succeed in an often bewildering and alien university environment.

6. In your own words: Life as an academic librarian has been rewarding and even bewildering at times. Prior to academia, I was a library assistant in a public library after years working in the corporate sector. The jump from public to academic libraries has been challenging to navigate, but I feel fortunate to have a robust background in the public service arena. I have certainly tapped upon that wealth of knowledge many times while working with students and faculty. I believe there exist connections between academic and public libraries that should be explored further. I also enjoy working in a field where intellectual curiosity is valued and my interests are not contained to a single subject area.

I’ve been with USC–my first academic library job–for just over a year. Finding my niche has been challenging and jumping on the bandwagon of the latest trend has seemed appealing at times. But I think every academic librarian has a wealth of knowledge to contribute to scholarship and scholarly conversations, even if that wealth falls outside of the traditional academic box. All experiences have value. It’s vital to explore ideas in search of where your niche lies. But it’s also important to be yourself. That sentiment can get lost in the shuffle. And I’m always guiding my work with the question, am I really helping people.


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: Donald Beagle

Donald BeagleDonald Beagle is Director of Library Services at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, NC. Donald has been an ACRL member since 2000 and is your ACRL member of the week for May 23, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Learning Commons innovator.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am reading the article “Information Spaces, Digital Culture, and Utopia” by Pramod K. Nayar, published in the Journal of Contemporary Thought (Summer 2010), by way of a discussion with Dr. Ed Tiryakian, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Duke University. Ed has donated much of his private research collection to my library, including his own work on utopian literature, and noted that Nayar referenced my own 2006 book, The Information Commons Handbook, in this article. In the 21st century, I think it is important for LIS literature to reach an academic audience across disciplines, and I am delighted that my books and articles have been cited over a thousand times, including references in research articles by cognitive psychologists, anthropologists, historians, and contemporary philosophers, such as Pramod K. Nayar.

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

4. What do you value about ACRL? The expertise of colleagues through personal contacts, professional conferences, and the research literature.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I’ve most recently spearheaded a just-completed $1.5 million renovation of our Library, envisioned and planned a proposed $8 million expansion of our Learning Commons, and serve on the Gaston Gigabit Initiative that has just received funding for our gigabit linkup to the Google Fiber network being installed across the adjacent metropolitan area of Charlotte, NC.

6. In your own words: From 1995, when I received an Apple Library of Tomorrow Grant, I have tried to explore and articulate the organizational and technological challenges we face in bridging (and helping our students and faculty bridge) the border between the Age of Print and the Digital Age.


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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