Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Brandon West

Brandon WestBrandon West is Social Sciences Librarian at SUNY Geneseo in Geneseo, NY. Brandon has been an ACRL member since 2014 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 15, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Driven, genial, collaborative.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am reading Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home by Alayna Schroeder, Llona Bray, and Marcia Stewart as I creep into the world of adulting.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Essential, progressive, community.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value being able to participate in an active community that is both intellectual and passionate. Whenever I have needed guidance on a project or idea, I have been able to count on other ACRL members to share their experience and perspectives. I consider ACRL to be the most beneficial and relevant source of professional development for academic librarians.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a faculty member, I am highly involved with campus community on a variety of levels from providing reference and instruction services to helping support online course development to making the campus a safer place for the LGBTQ community. In a larger sense, I promote information literacy; connect people to ideas, resources, and services; encourage students to do their best; listen to and support students, faculty, and staff.

6. In your own words: As an academic librarian, I am a creative problem solver. I spend my days figuring out how to best teach my students, inventing new library services, developing my scholarly agenda, and more. Being a voice in the evolving academic landscape energizes me and makes me feel like I am making a difference in the world.


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: Joelle Pitts

Joelle PittsJoelle Pitts is Associate Professor and Instructional Design Librarian at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. Joelle has been an ACRL member since 2011 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 8, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Driven, analytical, collaborative.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently listening to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, an introvert’s manifesto. Lately my print reading hours have been filled with Teaching Information Threshold Concepts edited by Bravender, McClure, & Schaub, infused here and there with doses of Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, advocacy, network.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL has given me a professional home which allows me to serve my profession though the Distance Learning Section, as well as access to various professional development and learning opportunities. I love that I can come away from the conferences with an in-depth look into new projects and initiatives in addition to a broader view of the big trends and ideas in the profession. I also value the critical and thoughtful discussions that take place at the conferences, on listservs, and in publications like C&RL News.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I’m an instructional design librarian, a position that I’ve learned looks different at each institution. At K-State, a lot of the work I do is behind the scenes creating tutorials and learning environments to teach information literacy competencies. I think a big part of my role here is to help both our teaching faculty and our library staff look at library instruction in new and different ways, based on how the human brain transfers information.

I have played a large role in our efforts to flip our high-enrollment one-shot instruction to an online environment and have worked to embed library instruction into the curriculum of the English Language Program. I also spend a lot of my time leading the New Literacies Alliance, an inter-institutional collaborative developing online lessons based on the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. Our lessons are being used in many classes on campus and are being scaffolded into several programs, getting us closer and closer to library-infused curricula.

6. In your own words: I came to academic librarianship very circuitously, holding jobs ranging from bank teller, to health inspector, to consortium coordinator. But when I finally landed here, I found “My People: those who care about education, service, and access. People who love learning and helping others find their way through the universe of information at their fingertips. People who will stay late to help a patron or sacrifice their weekend to staff an outreach event. People who will stand and read The Diary of Anne Frank or Naked Lunch aloud to a crowded plaza during Banned Books Week to celebrate the freedom to read.

Not many can truly say they love their job, but I really do. I think the important work we do as academic librarians is making our world a better place, one reference transaction, info-lit tutorial, line of metadata, digital collection, or open access discussion at a time.


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: Clint Chamberlain

Clint ChamberlainClint Chamberlain is Educational Resource Support Officer at the Dallas County Community College District in Dallas, Texas. Clint first joined ACRL in 2003 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 1, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Contemplative, inquisitive, compassionate.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I usually have a book in just about every room of the house, so that no matter which room I’m in there’s a book to be read. In no particular order, here’s what I’m reading this week, depending upon where I am in my house: Edward Carpenter by Sheila Rowbotham, The Food Lover’s Garden by Mark Diacono, and Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway. And I’m re-reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Don’t even get me started on the piles of magazines I peruse during lunch – I think the latest issue of Audubon is on tap for today.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, engaged, community.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the connections I’ve made through ACRL. These days I don’t get to go to as many conferences as I did earlier in my career, so I appreciate getting C&RL and C&RL News as a way to remain current.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As the head of a technical services operation that serves seven colleges, I’m not actually at a campus but rather in a centralized location that serves all of our district’s constituent colleges that are spread all over Dallas County. By virtue of that, I have the privilege of working with the library directors and librarians at seven quite diverse institutions. A huge part of my job is making sure that our department enables access to our resources that is as seamless as possible for our users, whether they’re students and faculty at a college in the core of downtown Dallas or enrolled in one of our distance learning programs. If we can make things available for our students and faculty in such a way that access is something they don’t have to think about but instead just do, then we’ve made it that much easier for them to get about the real business of teaching and learning.

6. In your own words: I always intended to be an academic—one of my middle school teachers told my parents that I was destined to be an absent-minded professor because I already had the absent-mindedness down pat—but I sort of fell into librarianship by accident. I was pursuing another advanced degree, another career path, but I was lucky enough to have a job as a student assistant in a small branch library at that university, where there was a librarian who saw my aptitude for dealing with the challenges unique to serials. He later said that I had a tolerance for ambiguity, for recognizing and being at peace with the fact that some messes are never completely resolved, and for wrestling with the many-tentacled octopi that are continuing resources. Whatever the case, I was hooked on solving problems for others and also realized that I loved coming to work at the library every day, not just for the work itself but also for the chance to be with my fascinating coworkers. Although I’m no longer so directly involved in dealing with continuing resources, I’ve found that tolerance for ambiguity and for realizing that things are not always neat and tidy are real assets in librarianship today as we face so many challenges coming at us from seemingly all directions. Those fascinating coworkers are even better assets—librarians as a group have such wide-ranging interests and deep knowledge and that combined with the urge to serve and connect gives us a great perspective on how to navigate the changes affecting the academy.


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: Caitlin Bagley

Caitlin BagleyCaitlin Bagley is Instruction Librarian at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Caitlin has been an ACRL member since 2014 and is your ACRL member of the week for July 25, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Creative, competitive, compassionate.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I read the entirety of Kevin Kwan’s fun Crazy Rich Asians on a recent cross country plane trip, and Karina Longworth’s podcast, You Must Remember This, is quickly becoming a must listen to. I am looking forward to tucking into Sonia Purnell’s Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill, and when I’m out running I can frequently be found listening to Florence + The Machine’s album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Engaging, informative, fun!

4. What do you value about ACRL? Participating in Immersion absolutely changed how I thought of ACRL. It was truly transformative and I took so much away from that experience. To this day I continue to work with members of my cohort. Likewise, the ACRL conference is one of my favorites to attend. Great programming, insightful keynotes, and a tremendous takeaway value.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As an instruction librarian, I get to meet at some point with nearly every student who attends the university. I love that! I work closely with students throughout their education and I love watching how they change from semester to semester. We talk about everything from keyword strategy to understanding the motives and hidden questions behind works and issues.  I also like working with my partners across the campus community, such as Academic Advising and the Faculty Senate, to help make the small invisible decisions that make this university such a great place for our students.

6. In your own words: I feel so lucky to do engaging work in academia that lets me work with students, staff, and faculty, and in particular, it’s an exciting time to be a librarian. The old stereotypes are finally being put away as librarianship embraces new ways to provide access to information. At the core of our work, I think every librarian wants to give their patrons all they can. We’re not just ebooks, 3D printers, and discovery layers. Libraries are also outreaching further into their communities than before, and finding greater ways to make ourselves available to people at their point of need. Librarians are some of the friendliest and happiest people I know, why wouldn’t I want to work with them?


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: James L. Adams

James L. AdamsJames L. Adams is the Data and Visualization Librarian at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. James has been an ACRL member since 2013 and is your ACRL member of the week for July 18, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Affable, reflective, user-focused.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m reading The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver. I’m also listening to several podcasts: What’s the Point, Data Stories, Hardcore History, and The Infinite Monkey Cage, among others.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Fantastic professional community.

4. What do you value about ACRL? As an early career librarian, ACRL has helped me find a community of people that I feel truly connected to as a professional. Because of our common experience serving scholarly communities, my interactions with other ACRL members help me to improve my own work. One of my most memorable experiences since joining the profession was the week I spent at ACRL Immersion, which I feel vastly improved my abilities as an instructor and connected me with other librarians that I’ll continue to work with throughout my career. I like hearing about how my peers at other institutions approach some of the same challenges I face, and ACRL gives me the chance to make those connections.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a data and visualization librarian, one of my main goals is to empower members of my academic community by promoting data literacy and providing instruction on tools that can be used in quantitative research. A lot of my work relies on technology, and some of the tools I work with or methods I use may seem intimidating for those who don’t consider themselves to be tech-savvy or who think that they don’t have the skills to write code. My goal as an instructor and collaborator is to convince people otherwise and to make the things I do approachable for everyone. As a librarian, I feel that my expertise in data visualization or any other area is best utilized by making concepts accessible to others. I could create visualizations and help researchers explore their data all day, but I would much rather give them the power to do so themselves.

6. In your own words: I believe that the job of an academic librarian is fundamentally the same as any other librarian or information professional. We work in a community-focused profession, and on some level we all share the goal of providing our users with the information they need. I personally enjoy working in an academic library because I think that the information needs of academic communities are among the most interesting and in-depth. This gives us a chance to be constant learners; many of the people we get to work with are experts in their fields, and helping an expert find an answer is a great way to learn something new. On a broader level, I have a firmly held belief that education is inherently good. As librarians, we are dedicated to furthering education, and that gives me a deep sense of pride in our profession. Even doing something as small as helping an undergrad find a worthwhile source for their latest assignment, I can be happy knowing that I’ve done some good for the day.


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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