Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2015 ALA/ ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2015 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 13 — 20. Complete details on candidates for ACRL offices are available on the election website. Make sure to vote for the candidates of your choice starting March 24.
Jack Fritts is the University Librarian at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, and a 2015 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.
1. Describe yourself in three words: Forward-thinking, loyal, thoughtful.
2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? You may be sorry you asked! I am frequently handed books by my teenage daughter to read, so right now on that front I’m reading The Duff and a book titled The Murk. Beyond those I am working through The First Christmas by Borg and Crossan, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett, God’s Secretaries by Adam Nicolson, and a variety of materials dealing with the court and court life of Elizabeth I in order to go play Renaissance with my daughter this summer. And, finally, there are the various mystery and suspense series I’m working through as time allows.
3. Describe ACRL in three words: Advocate, transformative, educational.
4. Why do you value about ACRL? I value the fellowship, growth, and learning opportunities ACRL offers through the availability of groups focused on specific interest or work areas. The Section model is an example of the possibilities we can pursue.
5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I see my role as multi-faceted. Internally, my primary task is to provide the support and opportunities that allow the library personnel to soar to their own levels, while offering occasional reminders of our operational focus. Externally, within the campus, I serve to build relationships at higher levels, to be a strong advocate for the library and its operations, and to work collaboratively with the deans and other administrators to keep the library in the center of ongoing growth and development.
6. In your own words: There are a lot of writings about ideal or dream jobs. I believe that mine is a dream job, because it’s very difficult to fall into a rut. Yes, a library lives to certain rhythms, and there are always the normal ongoing events, but those serve as a backdrop to whatever else is really going on. I have learned to expect the unexpected, and I never know at the start of a day where that day might end. By definition, at least my definition, unexpected does not always mean good, but even some of the less pleasant surprises are opportunities. I am sure that what comes next is true of all types of libraries, but some of the best things to me about the academic library world are the ability to explore, to experiment, and to build relationships both within an individual library and across the broader academic world.