Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Robin Kear

Robin KearRobin Kear is Liaison Librarian at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA. Robin has been an ACRL member since 2003 and is your ACRL member of the week for March 28, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Collaborative, outgoing, engaged.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am just beginning Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Dynamic, relevant, and practical.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the professional insights I gain from being part of ACRL. The formal and informal publications take me out of my day-to-day universe and help me feel I’m part of a larger network. I enjoy being part of the academic librarianship community through ACRL.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I am an interdisciplinary maven. I see connections across departments and across campus that others may not see. I need to understand and communicate effectively across all constituents of the university, undergrad and grad students, staff, faculty, and administration. Understanding these nuances and relationships makes all librarians very valuable partners.

6. In your own words: I recently reflected about how much I enjoy being at work and how it does not feel like work at all. I am constantly surprised and inspired by the intellect, curiosity, and humanity of those around me, including faculty, students, administrators, and librarians. I love being part of academia. We all say that librarianship is always changing because it’s true. I take a comfortable seat in that change. I enjoy mentoring library school interns and field placements, it keeps my professional outlook fresh. I am lucky to be doing a job I love at an institution that I also love.


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: Melissa Cardenas-Dow

Melissa Cardenas DowMelissa Cardenas-Dow is Reference and Instruction Librarian at the University of California–Riverside in Riverside, CA. Melissa has been an ACRL member since 2005 and is your ACRL member of the week for March 21, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: More interesting online.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I usually read lots of articles and blog posts, so I can’t pinpoint just one. However, I just picked up the audiobook of Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things. She is one of my favorite bloggers. In the book, Lawson sheds light on the realities of dealing with mental illness—particularly the hilarious and absurdist parts. She makes many connections in the book. Many of them are surprising, and many should already be common knowledge. Comedy and improv thrive on connections. This probably explains why I love them so much. Also, sometimes you just gotta laugh because you’ve survived the dark times. Life can be so funny and complicated that way.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Enables many possibilities.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value that ACRL is a place where we can discuss matters of importance to us as both members of society and professional information workers. While seeking possible solutions for and applications within academic libraries is very important, ensuring we ourselves are exemplary citizens and good human beings is just as vital. Perhaps more so. ACRL, from what I’ve seen and experienced, recognizes that academic libraries are locales within the education process where worldly social and cultural issues meet and interact with professional standards.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I see the work I do as a reference and instruction librarian as primarily being a guide to the world of information and academic discourse. My role is to make the world of scholarship and academic communication more accessible to those who need or want to understand them. In this capacity, I think my biggest contribution isn’t to simplify, but to highlight the complications and issues of concern, of research, of study. This may seem counterintuitive to the idea of accessibility, since complications are often seen as barriers. However, complications are features of social phenomena and information is, I think, highly social. At least what information means is contextual and situation based. Matters of diversity, social justice, intellectual freedom, just to name a few—these are all complicated. We do ourselves and others a disservice when we frame these monumental concerns as “simple,” when they are very well not. As these issues are complicated, so are the ideas, concepts, and scholarship that attempt to explain and describe them. My role is to help others navigate through the complication. And, all the while, learning about these complicated matters myself.

6. In your own words: I often hear that a concept or idea is “too theoretical” or “too idealistic.” I get a sinking feeling in my stomach whenever I hear these kinds of comments because, oftentimes, dismissal is not too far behind when such words are uttered. What I find most valuable is making connections. Connecting theory and ideals with practice and action is very important to me as a professional and as a whole person. One of the questions I ask myself almost daily is, “How can I make a positive difference in this world?” Within that one question one can make the connections between ideals and actions, between theory and practice. I also think such connections are highly emblematic of life as an academic librarian. As a librarian, I am a practitioner. As an academic, I am dedicated to ideas and to a life of the mind. Being conscious of the connections between theory and practice is central to the life and work of academic librarianship.


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: Rosalind Tedford

Rosalind TedfordRosalind Tedford is Director for Research and Instruction at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. Rosalind has been an ACRL member since 2004 and is your ACRL member of the week for March 16, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Energetic, smart, analytical.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I usually have a couple of books going at once so right now I’m reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, Girl in the Spiders Web by David Lagerkrantz and Shakespeare’s Pub: A Barstool History of London as Seen Through the Windows of Its Oldest Pub – The George Inn. On my iPhone I also have the British radio comedy Cabin Pressure but it’s so funny I can’t listen to it in public because people look at me oddly when I’m laughing out loud.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, network, awesome.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the chance to be in a community of people who share the same passion for academic librarianship as I do. I value the collective wisdom of the group and the willingness to share that wisdom with the world.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I have literally been part of Wake Forest since I was born. A faculty brat with two degrees and now 21+ years of full-time service, I bleed black and gold. So one of the things I bring to my library is a deep-seated knowledge of the culture and the history of the institution. What I bring to my campus is a passion for libraries and an ability to express how central the library and our librarians are to student success both inside and outside the classroom. I stand at a privileged crossroads between university and library and I hope I make significant contributions to both.

6. In your own words: I fell backwards into librarianship after deciding not to pursue a PhD in English. What I realized along the way was that it was the perfect fit for me. I get to work with faculty and students on their research, teach for-credit and one-shot classes, advise undergraduates and participate fully in the life of the campus and the library. I think librarians and libraries have an enormous role to play on our campuses in the coming decade. The sea-changes facing higher education in terms of diversity, student debt, online education and the value of a degree are as significant as those libraries have faced in the last two decades. The experiences libraries and librarians have had reinventing themselves and their services to adapt to a new information landscape and changing user needs have put them in a strong position to help their campuses facing equally paradigm-shifting changes. I hope the lessons we have learned along the way can serve to help the larger campus communities prepare for and manage the changes that are imminent. Libraries are truly the hearts of university campuses and I look forward to what we will do in the future to help our campuses come out stronger.


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: April M. Hathcock

April Hathcock blog photo (681x1024) (2)April M. Hathcock is Scholarly Communications Librarian at New York University in New York, NY. April has been an ACRL member since 2013 and is your ACRL member of the week for February 29, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Ambitious, detailed, lawyerbrarian.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently reading The Collective by Don Lee, a beautiful novel about what it means to be a racial/ethnic minority artist and intellectual in a very racialized world. While riding the subway, I’ve been listening to Death of a Maid by M.C. Beaton, one of a series of murder mysteries set in the Scottish Highlands. If nothing else, my reading tastes are eclectic.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, community-driven, responsive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I love having a community that centers on academic librarianship while still making room for the wide-ranging definitions of what that work entails. As someone who has worked in a couple of very different academic libraries during my short library career—community college, law school, and now research university –I value being able to connect with colleagues from different areas, doing so many different types of work, all of which falls under the auspices of “academic librarianship.” Taking advantage of that diversity of connection is invaluable to the work we all do.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As the Scholarly Communication Librarian on my campus, I spend a fair amount of time explaining what it is I actually do. (Smile.) In all seriousness, I’m proud to serve my campus by educating members of our research community on issues relating to ownership, access, and rights in the research lifecycle. When that gets to be a mouthful, I shorten it to explain that I am the “lawyer in the library.” I work with everyone from subject specialists, special collections archivists, teaching faculty, researchers, and students to help them navigate the world of issues related to creating research material and using material created by others.

6. In your own words: Working as an academic librarian has been a huge blessing for me. I started my professional life as a corporate litigator and quickly discovered that that work made me miserable. I’m grateful to have come to my senses and entered a profession where I can do all the reading, writing, researching, and educating I want, without having to pay service to the billable hour.


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: Kathryn Miller

Kathryn MillerKathryn Miller is Director of Libraries and Academic Success at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, FL. Kathryn has been an ACRL member since 2014 and is your ACRL member of the week for February 22, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Innovative, creative, and adventurous.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I just finished reading Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. We read this as part of a team-building activity and learned a lot about trust, accountability, and harmony.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Guiding, leading, and imaginative.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL provides a base for innovative decisions; the organization provides guiding principles and validation for innovative decision-making.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As an academic librarian, I contribute ideas, support, and innovation to the active university environment. I am a cornerstone that balances traditional research with innovation in teaching and collaboration. I, along with my team of librarians, promote intellectual discovery in an innovative, user-centered learning environment while providing specialized resources and support opportunities for every student and scholar to connect, collaborate, and anticipate technological progress.

6. In your own words: Life as an academic librarian is disruptive. Disruptive in a fun, engaging, and challenging way. We are expanding our services. We are serving more students. We are the people and the location that, together, create a central campus hub for student success. We are demonstrating the benefits and necessity of academic librarians. We are disrupting the way people think about librarians and library service. We are guiding our profession to essential importance within twenty-first century academia.


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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