Category Archives: Member of the Week

Member of the Week: Jennifer Knievel

Jennifer Knievel BlogJennifer Knievel is Associate Professor and Director of Arts & Humanities at the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries in Boulder, Colorado. Jennifer has been an ACRL member since 1999 and is your ACRL member of the week for April 25, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Optimistic, ethical, pragmatic.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am currently re-reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I know some people don’t love his writing, but this book changed the course of my life; it inspired me to become a librarian. The story reminds us of the importance of protecting intellectual discourse, of questioning the world and society around us, and most of all, of encouraging others to do the same.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, learning, growing.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL is where I find my people. It’s where I can build relationships that remind me why I love being a librarian and inspire me to focus on students, center my work on learning, and strive to improve myself as a professional.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? Librarians are situated to work with students in a safe, non-evaluative relationship in ways that their regular course faculty can’t do. Research shows increasingly that students who leave college do so because they don’t feel like anyone at the university cares about them. Librarians have an opportunity to stand in that role as the person who cares, who inspires a student to stay. As an academic librarian, I am part of an organization that exists to enable the students to succeed.

6. In your own words: Not everyone’s career is world-changing in an obvious way, the way that perhaps an emergency doctor, social worker, or firefighter’s might be. However, all of our careers have the potential to improve the piece of the world we do touch. So I consider it my role, my calling, to do everything I can think of to make the library and the university a better place to live, work, and learn. Perhaps that improvement is something major, like championing the implementation of a new mentoring program for library faculty or participating in drafting a new strategic plan, or maybe it’s something minor, like guiding a student at the reference desk to articles about the depiction of the Indian caste system in Bollywood films. But every day, I have a chance to make life a little better for others.


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: Patricia A. Kreitz

Patricia Kreitz BlogPatricia A. Kreitz is Dean of Library and Academic Resources at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, California. Patricia first joined ACRL in 1986 and is your ACRL member of the week for April 18, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Collaborative, good listener, easily intrigued.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)?
Professionally, I am re-reading Heifetz’ Leadership Without Easy Answers (which I only skimmed the first time!). Personally, I love reading cookbooks and my current one is Metcalfe and Hays’ Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Professional support, advocacy, strategic initiatives.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I have been active in ACRL since my first year as an academic librarian. The opportunities it has given me to develop professionally, to learn from and with colleagues, and to make an impact both locally and nationally have been invaluable. I would not be the leader I am today without the opportunities ACRL provided. Currently, ACRL enables me to support and coach other librarians through mentoring programs. Finally, through ACRL I have developed friendships I deeply cherish.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? An important part of what I do as the library dean is to provide vision and leadership on both a library and a campus level.  I also communicate to “outsiders” the library’s activities and successes and, in particular, how we in the library collaborate with and support students, faculty, and administrators.  My job is to make sure the entire campus understands the library’s central role in supporting the college’s strategic plan and goals as well as the value we bring to teaching, learning, and research.

6. In your own words: When I tell people why I like my profession, I usually say it’s never boring. Academic librarians get to do so many different things—often in the same day—that there’s always some new idea, challenge, problem or puzzle to work on.  It’s the greatest job in the world for someone who loves both learning and research and providing service.  You have the joy of making a difference in an individual’s academic success.


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: Christopher Shaffer

Christopher Shaffer Blog (534x800)Christopher Shaffer is Dean of Library Services and Associate Professor at Troy University in Troy, AL. Christopher has been an ACRL member since 2007 and is your ACRL member of the week for April 11, 2016.

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

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)?
The Heist by Daniel Silva.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Professional, resource, instructive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? Now, more than ever, I find that senior administrators demand justifications for library expenditures in terms of space, personnel, and collections. ACRL does a great job in terms of providing leadership and research that help prove libraries and librarians are as valuable today as they have always been.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I provide overall leadership and vision for our three libraries. For the past few years, I have become particularly interested in programming and outreach, which I believe allows librarians to actively engage with both the faculty and students, while also playing a more concrete role in the educational process.

6. In your own words: Ideally, academic librarians have the best possible role in education. I began my career as a high school teacher, and on the advice of a career counselor went into librarianship after that individual pointed out it was a great way to help others, without having to cope with some of the negatives I was experiencing in the classroom. Academic librarians, at heart, are teachers. They teach students, and sometimes faculty, how to properly research, and help them find the answers and information they are looking for. They also have the opportunity to be involved in scholarship themselves, which helps keep them engaged with the rest of the university. Any profession with a basic mission of helping others is a great field to enter.


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: Pat Hawthorne

Pat Hawthorne (678x1024)Pat Hawthorne is Associate Dean for Research and Education at the University of Nevada Las Vegas in Las Vegas, NV. Pat has been an ACRL member since 1993 and is your ACRL member of the week for April 4, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Inquisitive, pragmatic, reflective.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion by Tracy Daugherty. Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads by Paul Theroux. Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Proactive, collaborative, diverse.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL provides me with a supportive community and meaningful opportunities to collaborate and contribute to my chosen profession and my organization. ACRL allows me to continue to learn—about libraries and myself. I have met and worked with many creative, talented, dedicated librarians who really, really enjoy their work. They are my inspiration!

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? In my role as Associate Dean for Research and Education at the UNLV Libraries, I collaborate with library colleagues to ensure the UNLV Libraries support both student learning and faculty research. This translates into working with campus colleagues—deans, associate deans, faculty, administrators, and students—to develop partnerships and collaborations that help UNLV to achieve its educational, research, and service mission, goals, and initiatives. Within the library, it means working with all library faculty and staff to offer expert assistance and excellent service to our users, develop relevant collections and resources that support teaching and learning and scholarship, provide inviting and welcoming spaces and environments, and offer public programming that engages and inspires our community.

6. In your own words: At its very core, librarianship is a profession that facilitates change in individuals, organizations, communities, and the world. I always feel privileged to work in a profession that helps individuals to learn, to solve problems, and to achieve their personal and professional goals. When we do our jobs well, we have the chance to create a library user for life. This concept guides what I hope is an intentional approach to my work. I believe that all types of libraries can contribute to making an individual a library user for life. Within this ecosystem, all libraries play a role. School and public librarians ignite a passion for reading and a desire to learn. Public librarians support lifelong learning, civic engagement, and community and economic development. Academic librarians support teaching and learning AND facilitate research and scholarship. Special librarians support unique work and professionals. What librarians and libraries do matters. I am grateful every day—I love my job as an academic librarian.


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: 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.

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