Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Mohamed Berray

Mohamed BerrayMohamed Berray is Social Sciences Librarian at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. Mohamed has been an ACRL member since 2014 and is your ACRL member of the week for January 9, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Honest, dedicated, generous.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am currently reading ACRL’s Putting Assessment into Action: Selected Projects from the First Cohort of the Assessment in Action Grant, edited by Eric Ackermann. I am passionate about library assessment, and I’ve learned a lot reading about the experiences of other institutions. For my casual reading, I read The New Yorker magazine.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Inspiring, engaging, empowering.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL provides a greater platform for advocacy of issues relevant to librarianship. The association also provides networking and professional development opportunities for its members. I’ve especially enjoyed serving on ACRL committees and the opportunity to contribute to the growth of our profession.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As Social Sciences Librarian, I serve as liaison to the political science department, the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, and the international affairs program. I also coordinate Florida State University Libraries’ depository collection and services for federal, State of Florida, and United Nations documents. In my current position, I have been privileged to provide instruction and research support to faculty and students in the College of Social Sciences, and for the Tallahassee community interested in using government information resources.

6. In your own words: My librarianship values are deep rooted in an analytic, research-driven approach to support the continuous improvement of services to the communities we serve. I have a strong commitment to diversity, and I believe that the differing backgrounds and perspectives that characterize diversity have provided our profession with a competitive advantage in our approach to public service and problem solving. I fully support open access to information as a professional practice. Free and equitable access to information has been a core principle of librarianship since the beginning. Open Access embodies this principle more completely now than ever before.


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: Beth Filar Williams

Beth Filar-WilliamsBeth Filar Williams is Head of the Library Experience and Access Department at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR. Beth first joined ACRL in 1999 and is your ACRL member of the week for January 3, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Collaborative, restorative, hard-working.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I always have a variety of reads though I tend to listen to books most often (while walking, doing chores, gardening). I am really enjoying listening to someone I greatly respect and admire—Gloria Steinem’s story of her early years in My Life on the Road. I finished up reading The Design of Everyday Things, which is very relevant to my current service design work, and recommend this read to anyone designing services or spaces in libraries. I also just read the very short We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie based on her TED talk and recommend that quick read or video to everyone!

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, opportunities, engagement.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL is like an academic library for librarians: offering vetted, useful, scholarly resources when you need them, help when you are struggling to find what you need, online learning options, the best academic librarian conferences, and most importantly a means to connect and network with fellow academic librarians around the world.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? My role since February 2015 when I joined Oregon State University Libraries and Press is to grow a new department focusing on users’ experiences, bringing together circulation, the information desk, the building, learning spaces and the virtual library interactions as head of the Library Experience and Access Department. We are diving into wayfinding issues, user centered design of services, rethinking our spaces including collaboration with campus partners, and discovering other ways the library can best support our students to be successful.

6. In your own words: When I worked at the public library in high school in the Baltimore suburbs I swore I would never be a librarian (I am not going to wear a cardigan, a bun, and shush people! haha), but after stumbling into a library graduate degree program 20 years ago I knew there was no denying it was for me. By offering almost any resource imaginable and access to knowledge for people regardless of their privilege, class, race, gender, etc., libraries help creates the informed, equal access society in which I wish to live. Though I worked as a middle school librarian and a consultant, I found I kept drifting back into the academic libraries environment. I relish being on a college campus full of learning, creating, growing, with questioning students, constant new arrivals and those celebrating accomplishments, as well as being surrounded by educators and researchers.


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: Laura Palumbo

Laura B. PalumboLaura Palumbo is Chemistry & Physics Librarian and Science Data Specialist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ. With her research background in engagement with science communities and research data services in academic libraries, she recently joined the presenter team for ACRL’s new licensed workshop Building Your Research Data Management Toolkit: Integrating RDM Into Your Liaison Work. Laura has been an ACRL member since 2013 and is your ACRL member of the week for December 19, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Collegial, inquisitive, tenacious.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’ve just started reading The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church. It’s a novel about two married academics, set against the backdrop of the development of the atomic bomb. It explores the “two body problem,” during a time when it was expected that the wife would sacrifice her own intellectual pursuits for the sake of her husband’s academic career.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Innovative, trusted, supportive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value belonging to an organization that is esteemed worldwide as a resource for forward-thinking research and programming. ACRL connects me with a knowledgeable and engaged community of professionals who readily contribute their skills and time, helping us all to become better at what we do.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As an academic librarian, I liaise with departments in the physical sciences, developing relationships with faculty and students that help me to help them succeed. I connect our researchers and students with collaborators, programming, and resources that contribute to their academic lives. I teach our communities not only about research skills and critical thinking, but in my role as Science Data Specialist I provide instruction and assistance in the developing areas of data management and open access. I’m excited to be involved in this growing opportunity for academic librarians to become more actively engaged with researchers.

6. In your own words: I love being an academic librarian—being part of a profession that cares deeply about the enrichment of students and faculty. It’s very satisfying to me to be able to contribute to the research, teaching, and learning that take place here every day. I also enjoy being challenged by the rapid evolution and growth of our field, adapting services and learning new skills as the needs of our communities change. My days are never dull!


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: Carolyn Caffrey Gardner

Carolyn Caffrey Gardner Carolyn Caffrey Gardner is Information Literacy Coordinator and Liaison Librarian at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA. Carolyn has been an ACRL member since 2012 and is your ACRL member of the week for December 13, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, engaged, advocate.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently reading Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. With LA area traffic I constantly have podcasts in rotation. Some of my favorites are: Reply All, Popaganda, Song Exploder, and On the Media.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, educational, inspiring.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL provides a myriad of opportunities for developing professional skills and relationships. I appreciate the wonderful conferences, engaging webinars, and all of the online publications ACRL produces from section blogs to peer-reviewed journals. ACRL is a key part of my own librarian journey and participating in Immersion in 2012 was a foundational instruction experience. I use the information I learned and reflect on it often.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a librarian focused on information literacy, I facilitate teaching and learning in a lot of different ways. From the gritty mechanics of scheduling one-shots to in-depth collaborations with faculty on assignment design I support librarians and faculty in their teaching practices.

6. In your own words: I love that I’ve found a career that offers so much variety! At the heart of it librarianship is about communities, interconnectivity, and learning—what’s not to 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: Jennifer Brannock

Jennifer BrannockJennifer Brannock is Curator of Rare Books and Mississippiana at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. Jennifer first joined ACRL in 2004 and is your ACRL member of the week for December 5, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Energetic, outgoing, creative.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently reading The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. Ever since the Beatles’ albums were released on streaming services, that’s all I’ve been listening to. The White Album has been playing for weeks.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Innovative, collaborative, and supportive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? There are so many ways in which I appreciate ACRL. I’ve attended a number of ACRL/RBMS conferences and participated in other learning opportunities that have been transformative. These educational experiences have provided me with information and ideas to take back to my job at the University of Southern Mississippi.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I am consistently engaged with faculty, students, and staff at the university. At the moment, I am partnering with a history professor on a digital humanities project relating to Mississippi community cookbooks. Through my work with faculty in various departments, special collections instruction and archival and primary source research is an integral component in many classes. As a tenured faculty member, I have been involved with faculty governance in the library, as well as around campus, by chairing library governance committees and serving as secretary of the university’s faculty senate.

6. In your own words: As with many librarians, twenty years ago I didn’t imagine that I would end up becoming a librarian…and loving it! Collaborating with faculty and students on research, exhibits, and programming is always a rewarding experience. To see a student have that “aha” moment doing research in the collections reminds me of the important role libraries play in the education of students. By presenting at conferences and writing articles for local, state, and national publications, I’m able to contribute to and participate in discussions that impact librarians. Being involved in the library, the university, the community, and in professional service and scholarship gives me the opportunity to make a difference and to hopefully convince others to develop their love of research. I truly love my job, coworkers, and the collections in special collections at Southern Miss.


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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