Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Melissa L. Miller

Melissa L. MillerMelissa L. Miller is the Hoose Library of Philosophy supervisor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. Melissa first joined ACRL in 2014 and is your ACRL member of the week for October 23, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Motivated, organized, enthusiastic.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I just finished The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild. It is about a 300 year old oil sketch The Improbability of Love that turns out to be a lost Watteau that was once owned by Voltaire and Catherine the Great and is now owned by a woman named Annie trying to rebuild her life in London. Unbeknownst to Annie, the Watteau is worth millions and the road to this discovery thrusts her into the nefarious London art scene. Also, I’m in the middle of reading Emotions, Learning, and the Brain: Exploring the Educational Implications of Affective Neuroscience by Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang. This book explores how our emotions influence our motivations, interests, and persistence and therefore learning. Immordino-Yang is an associate professor at USC in neuroscience, education, and psychology. Last but not least, I’m just starting The Alienist: A Novel (Dr. Lazlo Kriezler Book 1) by Caleb Carr. Carr notes, “prior to the twentieth century experts who studied mental pathologies were known as alienists.” The novel is set in the late 1800s in New York City and centers around the search for a serial killer.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, innovative, inclusive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? What I value most about ACRL is the robust offering of resources and tools for all stages and facets of academic librarianship. Also, the sense of community and belonging ACRL provides.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I manage the USC Hoose Library of Philosophy, which includes student assistant budgeting and forecasting, student-centered training and projects, and managing the budget for our materials and supplies expenditures. Also for USC Libraries, I provide in-person and virtual reference and research consultation services, I actively contribute to the teaching and information literacy programs in the USC Writing Program, General Education Program, and disciplinary initiatives. I actively participate in several USC Libraries committees to develop student-focused services that contribute to the transformation of instruction, outreach, reference, and collections at USC Libraries. I really enjoy creating disciplinary and thematic research guides to highlight library services, collections and resources, as well as campus events such as USC Visions and Voices university-wide arts and humanities initiative.

6. In your own words: I believe librarians are interdisciplinary scholars who play a key role in the development of student agency and identity through knowledge and strategies to increase motivation, self-efficacy, and self-determination including time management, planning, and setting goals. Most importantly librarians are facilitators of communities of support. I am grateful to have a terrific community of support and several wonderful mentors through the USC Libraries. One mentor in particular is Dr. Ross Scimeca. I have been working with and mentored by Ross for a little over four years in all aspects of librarianship from outreach, research and reference to information literacy instruction to the importance of library spaces and collections. Also, being a member of the senior capstone projects research advisory group, along with Ross and Dr. Sophie Lesinska, for the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences English and Narrative Studies Departments for the last two years has had a tremendous impact on my approach to student-centered teaching and learning. Working closely with students and engaging in the strategic research process in connection to their personal narratives ignited my pursuit of an Ed.D. in Educational Psychology. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to develop and synthesize my research, teaching and leadership knowledge and skills through an interdisciplinary approach to all that I do.


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: Ngoc-Yen Tran

Ngoc-Yen TranNgoc-Yen Tran is a science librarian at San Jose State University in San Jose, CA. Ngoc-Yen first joined ACRL in 2008 and is your ACRL member of the week for October 16, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Collaborative, adventurous, and enthusiastic.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? My 30-minute train commute gives me a lot of time to read and to listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Currently, I am reading the latest David Sedaris book for book club via OverDrive and catching up on podcasts such as Note to Self (a show that focuses on the impacts that technology has on our lives) and Hidden Brain (where the host reveals the unconscious patterns and biases that drive human behavior).

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Relevant, community-builder, and forward-thinking.

4. What do you value about ACRL? The best part about ACRL is that it is focused on academic librarianship; the ACRL conferences, publications, and initiatives are all highly valuable and applicable in my daily and future work as an academic librarian. I also value the supportive community that ACRL builds amongst its members and have always felt welcomed and that I belonged.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As an academic librarian, I am in a unique position to be a bridge between student academic lives and their life outside of school in order to promote student engagement and success. I contribute by collaborating, conducting outreach, and developing initiatives that encourage students to participate in activities that have been shown to improve student retention and graduation rates of students from all populations, such as first-year experience programs or faculty-mentored research opportunities.

6. In your own words: I cannot imagine myself being anything other than working in academic libraries where I am connecting people to the information that they need to solve a problem, to answer a question, to complete a task, or to fill a gap in their knowledge. I look forward to demonstrating the value of academic libraries by showing and providing evidence of the importance of libraries and librarians in the academic and future successes of our students.


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: Lindsay H. Matts-Benson

Lindsay Matts-BensonLindsay H. Matts-Benson is an instructional designer at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN and a presenter for the ACRL licensed workshop Engaging with the ACRL Framework: A Catalyst for Exploring and Expanding Our Teaching Practices. Lindsay first joined ACRL in 2017 and is your ACRL member of the week for October 9, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, persistent, joyful.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? How We Learn by Benedict Carey and It’s Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, collaborative, connections.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value that ACRL has both breadth and depth. That it creates small communities out of a large one so it doesn’t seem so massive. I value the emphasis on professional development and the opportunities to create learning.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As the instructional designer for the University of Minnesota Libraries in the Twin Cities, I work with my colleagues to develop thoughtful, creative and effective instruction in both in-person and online realms. I get to work with amazing colleagues inside and outside of our libraries to have a positive impact on student learning experiences. I’d like to think that I also show students that librarians are essential, informative and cool, but figuring they hardly ever laugh at my jokes, I’m not so sure on that last one.

6. In your own words: In my professional career, I’ve never not worked in a library. I never intended to work in academia—I specialized in youth services in library school and found my way into working in a law school library as both a librarian and an educational technologist before I became an instructional designer at the UMN. My role is unique and I enjoy that I get to weave my passion and experience for pedagogy, technology and information literacy together every day. Through my work co-designing the curriculum for the Engaging with the ACRL Framework workshop, I’ve learned more about how learning more about what is going on in the larger educational theory realm is essential to our work as academic librarians. Taking risks with our teaching practices has never been more important.


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: Meggan A. Houlihan

Meggan A. HoulihanMeggan A. Houlihan is a first-year experience and instruction librarian at New York Univeristy Abu Dhabi in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Meggan first joined ACRL in 2009 and is your ACRL member of the week for October 2, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Dedicated, adventurous, kind.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am currently reading Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett.

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

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL has given me the opportunity to connect with librarians from around the globe and discuss practical and theoretical issues that many librarians are facing today. Everything about ACRL from the annual conference, online education, publications, and blog, allow me to stay engaged with colleagues and better prepare myself for life as an academic librarian.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As the first-year experience and instruction librarian at New York University Abu Dhabi, I work with the Writing Program, Writing Center, and the Office of First-Year Experience to equip first-year students with information literacy skills. Together, we’ve created an embedded IL program that all first-year students participate in, and thus far, our assessment data has been extremely positive. I also collaborate with liaison librarians and on-campus partners to improve our outreach services and library programs.

6. In your own words: Life as an international academic librarian is both extremely rewarding and challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My favorite part of my job is working with our diverse student body, who hail from over 110 countries, and making the library accessible to them. This can be a difficult task since our students have such poplar library experiences–some students have never been in a library, while some students attended prestigious boarding schools where a librarian was embedded in course content. Overall, my goal is make our students and community feel welcome in the library, as well as know where to find help.


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: Jessica Szempruch

Jessica Szempruch is a librarian at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee in Sarasota, Florida. Jessica has been a member of ACRL since 2017 and is your ACRL member of the week for September 25, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Empathetic, creative, honest.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am currently alternating between reading Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond and I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, instructive, inquisitive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I highly value the in-depth discussions that take place between our dedicated members. ACRL members come from a variety of personal/professional backgrounds and bring their unique experiences to the table, all in the service of our students and institutions. It’s refreshing to watch and take part in professional conversations regarding essential, difficult topics which still managing to be collegial and informative.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a member of a two-librarian team (working alongside my fearless director, Diane Fulkerson), my work is ever-changing to fit the needs of our campus community. To that end, my biggest contributions use collaboration, communication, and creativity to solve problems and create solutions. One core job I do daily is to provide one-on-one research, reference, and citation assistance to students, faculty, and staff across all majors and disciplines. I have the pleasure of planning events, displays, and outreach activities for our department, which often involve working closely with our university’s Student Engagement team and other campus stakeholders. I provide in-class instruction sessions throughout the semester to undergraduate and graduate level classes. I also staff our Information Commons Resource Desk as needed to offer technical support and process equipment loans. Outside of library work, I contribute to our campus through volunteering for many campus and university-wide committees, and supporting our students in their co-curricular activities.

6. In your own words: Since my first visit to the library as a child, I have always wanted to be a librarian. Along the way, I have been fortunate to receive mentoring from many career librarians who saw my passion and encouraged me to achieve my goals. My love for our profession only deepens as I continue to work and grow alongside other bright minds in our field. I give special credit to my incredible 2017 Emerging Leaders team (Team F, working for LearnRT), and my dedicated colleagues in the Florida Library Association (FLA).

Overall, I strive to provide individualized attention to the needs of all of my patrons and advocate for them with equal passion. As a new academic librarian, I have discovered my excitement for using my information skills to enhance student engagement and retention efforts, especially in working with first-year and undergraduate students. I feel strongly that my work as an academic librarian requires much more than just skill at finding resources; in order to provide the best services, it is essential to fully engage with the campus community to better know their needs and gain their trust.


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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