Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Susan Mythen

Susan MythenSusan Mythen is a librarian at Florida State College at Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida and an adjunct associate professor at the University of Maryland University College. Susan has been an ACRL member since 2016 and is your ACRL member of the week for April 17, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Innovative, curious, encouraging.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I love to read and I’m a huge fan of audiobooks, so I usually have several titles going at once. I’ve just finished The Girls by Emma Cline, and I’m in the middle of The Passage by Justin Cronin, and The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. I’m also listening to Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming, which surprised me with its depth and intensity. I’m completely hooked.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Engaged professional network.

4. What do you value about ACRL? Before joining ACRL, I was trying to maneuver through the world of librarianship on my own without even realizing it. Through ACRL, I finally found a framework that made sense to me, as well as a community of people with similar interests, passions, and motivations. After attending several ACRL sessions at ALA Annual Conference, I felt as though I had finally “found my people”! I loved connecting with college and university librarians from all over the globe and sharing ideas, many of which I could take back and implement immediately. These connections make me a more effective instructor, librarian, and leader on campus.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? My colleagues joke with me that I am the Relevance Librarian, since I seem to be the one that pushes for some of the trendier items in the collection and in our programming. But all joking aside, I think it’s extremely important that we meet students where they are, and not where we wish they were. If bestsellers and board games get them through the library doors and make them comfortable interacting with the staff, then we are that much more likely to see them when they really need us academically. My number one priority is information literacy. I instruct students in a number of settings: a one-shot session, a reference appointment, a 4-week class. Regardless of how they come to me, I need them to leave feeling confident and empowered.

6. In your own words: Academic librarianship is more exciting and fulfilling than I ever could have imagined. No two days are ever the same! I love that the library community values intellectual curiosity and encourages its members toward professional and personal development. In the course of our duties we have the opportunity to read, research, and learn, and then share that knowledge with students and faculty. I can’t think of a more rewarding 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: Rebecca L. Hankins

Rebecca L. HankinsRebecca L. Hankins is an associate professor at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Rebecca has been an ACRL member since 2002 and is your ACRL member of the week for April 10, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Advocate, fearless, and passionate.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Professor Sherman Abdul Hakim Jackson’s Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection and on my mobile device I listen to a number of podcasts.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Professional, advocacy, and accessible.

4. What do you value about ACRL? What I value about ACRL are the opportunities to always learn something new that is strategic to the work that I do. I value the colleagues that I’ve met through ACRL conferences, meetings, and organizations. People that I have had the good fortune to work with and engage in dialogue with over shared issues of concern.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As an academic librarian I contribute to my campus in a myriad of ways, from providing instructional sessions to sharing resources for students, staff, and faculty research and courses. I contribute by serving on campus-wide committees, from search committees to tenure denial hearings, from evaluating faculty teaching to voting on promotion and tenure cases. I mentor colleagues, both in and outside the library, sharing my years of experience, working in diverse environments and with diverse populations.

6. In your own words: My life as an academic/research librarian has been varied, exciting, and filled with many achievements. The opportunities to conduct research on areas of scholarship unexplored and underexplored, and to impart this to diverse audiences, has been a passion of mine since I’ve been in this field; librarianship has afforded me those options. I have traveled around the world, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, but not yet Africa, working and advocating for our profession. I love working with students and sharing undiscovered resources and new knowledge that they have and can use in their writings, performances, and other scholarship. I am a fearless advocate for diversity within the profession, in our collecting of resources, and in providing leadership skills for all within the library environment, from the support staff to the faculty. The most successful libraries are those that value their people, work to hire staff that reflect the diversity within our society, and reward those that are on the frontlines, the first to engage with our patrons. These are the issues and discussions that animate me as a librarian and are reflected in my research and scholarly output and hopefully, will be for years to come.


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: Laurie E. Hathman

Laurie E. HathmanLaurie E. Hathman is the library director at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri. Laurie first joined ACRL member in 1996 and is your ACRL member of the week for April 3, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Contemplative, engaged, optimistic.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am reading Seven Thousand Ways to Listen by Mark Nepo.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Proactive, creative, affirmative.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the relationships that I have developed with other academic librarians from a variety of institutions. ACRL opens the door to a wide range of experiences no matter the type or size of institution. Due to the generosity of spirit these academic librarians have demonstrated by sharing their expertise not only have librarians on my campus benefited, but most importantly so have our students and faculty.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As the library director I have the opportunity to help the university community understand what and how the library contributes to the mission of the university. I participate in cross-campus collaborations that both directly and indirectly impact the library. These not only include “routine” service on committees, but I also have leadership roles in mission and identify initiatives, accreditation visits, as well as faculty, staff and student development.

6. In your own words: I’ve been an academic librarian for over 30 years, so I have the multi-year perspective of the ups and downs of funding and institutional changes. Although there are many challenges today in higher education, I’ve learned that these can bring opportunities that strengthen the contributions made by academic librarians. There is a chance in times of limited resources to reflect on what’s really important and where we need to put our energy. This is often when we are most creative.


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: Howard C. Marks

Howard C. MarksHoward C. Marks is the director of library services at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas. Howard has been an ACRL member since 2015 and is your ACRL member of the week for March 27, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Creative problem solver.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, And Why People Follow by Tom Rath, The 360 Degree Leader by John C. Maxwell, Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen and The Complete Pink Floyd: The Ultimate Reference by Glenn Povey.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Innovative professional connector.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL has been the natural bridge for learning, from reading the College and Research Libraries monthly publications to attending my first upcoming conference in Baltimore. It is the top caliber professional association of its size and scope in academic librarianship, period.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a manager and administrator and wearer of many hats, I always look to bring out the best in my people and myself. It’s all about recognizing strengths and weaknesses. I try to come up with new ideas and new plans for the library while maintaining the beautiful 66,000 square foot space we occupy. I work with the faculty, deans, and provost to bring new, informative programming to the smallest campus in the University of Texas system. This last month, along with Midland College, we offered a free f2f copyright workshop with an Austin, Texas attorney/librarian expert Gretchen McCord, targeted at faculty. We are currently working to develop an OER initiative with our own distance learning department, REACH, and partner with Odessa College. Collaboration is truly the key to success.

6. In your own words: Serving your constituents the best possible way you can is what makes every day of your career rewarding and worth calling yourself a librarian. How do you do that? You have team meetings, you make decisions, you implement new policies, you advocate. You try and you may fail, but you always succeed in the end. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a simple 1-2-3. There is a lot of trial and error. You have to collect as much knowledge as you can. So soak it up. Study up on your audience and get the facts. You’ll get there sooner than later. One of my paramount goals for 2018 is to do a strategic plan for our library. We already have a mission, vision and goals in place. Librarianship and information science are growing so rapidly these days and there is an infinite amount to keep up with to stay ahead of the curve, but you can get there.


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: Katherine S. Donaldson

Katherine DonaldsonKatherine S. Donaldson is a social sciences and education librarian at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR. Katherine has been an ACRL member since 2014 and is your ACRL member of the week for March 13, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, motivated, reflective.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’ve been reading a few essays from The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online, edited by Safiya Noble and Brendesha Tynes. I’m also currently reading IQ by Joe Ide and Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, informative, discovery.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the many opportunities that ACRL provides to connect with other members of the academic library community through its sections, interest groups, and committees. As an early-career librarian, I have found that ACRL provides a wealth of resources for professional development. I appreciate that there are many opportunities for members to get involved at all levels and with different interest areas.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I am the UO Libraries primary liaison to the College of Education. This means that I get to work with a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members, and researchers with interests in teaching, learning, and social equity. I provide information literacy instruction, research consultations, and collection development services to support members of this community.

6. In your own words: I have found it to be very rewarding to work with students and faculty to support a community of learning and scholarship. No two days of work are ever the same and I’m always learning something new! It’s also been fulfilling to be part of a larger professional community that values information access, literacy, and intellectual freedom.


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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