Member of the Week: Brittney Johnson

Brittney JohnsonBrittney Johnson is head of library instruction at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. She is also part of the presenter team for ACRL’s licensed workshop Engaging with the ACRL Framework: A Catalyst for Exploring and Expanding Our Teaching Practices. Brittney has been a member of ACRL since 2015 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 28, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Teacher, thinker, creator.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’ve just begun reading Mohsin Hamid’s Exit WestNext in line is my book club’s selection Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, engaging, education.

4. What do you value about ACRL? As a former public educator, and because of the involvement I have in ACRL’s information literacy work, I appreciate ACRL’s commitment to engaging librarians as educators. The role that academic librarians serve for students expands far outside the reaches of the classroom, and as such, we have unique opportunities to educate students in a variety of contexts. I value the emphasis that ACRL places on guiding academic librarians through this endeavor.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As head of library instruction, I develop programmatic curriculum in information literacy and lead the library instruction team in cross-disciplinary integration of that curriculum across campus. I also collaborate with the First-Year Writing program to develop integrated models of teaching research and writing that center around shared threshold concepts of information literacy and writing studies, and I teach the senior-level capstone course.

6. In your own words: I love this job! In my role at St. Edward’s, I have the opportunity to not only teach, but to support and mentor students throughout the entirety of their undergraduate career. It is incredibly rewarding to watch and be a part of students’ evolving understandings as they progress from freshmen to seniors in their disciplines. Because St. Edward’s is a small, liberal arts university, we are able to build meaningful relationships within a tight-knit community—with the library at the center! The thinking and innovating and global involvement of our students is inspiring and empowering as an educator.


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.

The Self as Subject: Autoethnographic Research into Identity, Culture, and Academic Librarianship

ACRL announces the publication of The Self as Subject: Autoethnographic Research into Identity, Culture, and Academic Librarianship, edited by Anne-Marie Deitering, Robert Schroeder, and Richard Stoddart. This collection of reflective narratives explores the varied dimensions of librarianship in the present moment, and examines autoethnography’s potential to help librarians answer questions that cannot be answered by traditional, empirical research methods and to reveal voices that are obscured by aggregations of data.

Autoethnography is a type of research that uses writing and self-examination to explore far-ranging cultural, political, and social issues through personal experience. It is a qualitative, reflexive, ethnographic method where the researcher is also the subject of inquiry.

Using autoethnography as their research method, the 21 academic librarian authors of The Self as Subject investigate aspects of what it means to be a librarian. Starting with a reflective examination of themselves, they each investigate questions of culture, values, and identity. All of the pieces in this volume share some characteristics: Each one is the result of a rigorous examination of the self and lived experience, and each one moves between the subjective and the cultural in its analysis. How the authors do this, however, varies widely—from a graphic novel to speculative fiction to rigorous academic analysis.

The Self as Subject provides an opportunity to expand our understanding of rigor and the practice of research in LIS, and explores what it means to be a librarian in this age of disruptive change, and how the various identities and experiences we bring to our practice shape our experience of librarianship. This book is for any librarian interested in research and research methods; the use of literary genres in research; alternatives to large empirical studies; questions of identity and social justice; and those looking to step out of their comfort zone and approach learning from a new and challenging vantage point. As Barbara Fister writes in the foreword, “this collection is something rare and important for the discipline of librarianship.”

The Self as Subject: Autoethnographic Research into Identity, Culture, and Academic Librarianship is available for purchase in print and as an ebook through the ALA Online Store; in print through Amazon.com; and by telephone order at (866) 746-7252 in the U.S. or (770) 442-8633 for international customers.

Member of the Week: Kyle W. Willis

Kyle WillisKyle W. Willis is a product manager at OCLC in Dublin, OH. Kyle has been a member of ACRL since 2012 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 21, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Librarian, outdoorsman, rapscallion.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Most of the reading I do is nonfiction and a little too dry for most, like field guides, books on tree and bird identification, books on preparation for canoe expeditions; that stuff gets my motor running. I like maps a lot, too. Other than that, I’ve been bouncing between Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Harari, The Attention Merchants by Wu, Reality is Broken by McGonigal, and The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Brinkley. I doubt I’ll ever finish any of them; that’s just my style. My wife keeps trying to get me to read fiction, but I’m knee-deep learning about the wild rivers of Canada!

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Academic librarians connected.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I think the strongest aspect of any of these professional organizations isn’t the training materials, the PDF presentation or resume templates or best practices documents. It’s the people. Learning from others who’ve been in my shoes before and working together to advance and improve services for our users is my favorite part. These associations provide the conduit for establishing and maintaining those relationships. (It’s starting to become clear to me that I just like talking to people).

5. Describe your contribution to your organization and to academic libraries: It’s a little bit of everything, it seems. I think librarians in supportive organizations get to say “Yes” to a wider variety of projects than most other professions I’ve been around. I’ve always loved living in that space, too, a little bit of all the fun (and pain) that everyone else is having. It’s great to not be just a cog in the machine, but instead be…6 cogs in the machine and help facilitate exciting research and projects happening in every corner of the campus.

6. In your own words: What I’m happiest to say is that I’ve been blessed to work in some great organizations with amazing people (like those at OCLC, the University of Notre Dame, Williamson County Public Library, and Brevard College), and I look forward to working with more amazing people for years to come. I get paid work on interesting and difficult challenges, have a lot of fun, and laugh probably harder and more often than I should. That’s pretty solid setup, if you ask me. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.


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.

ACRL Board of Directors Condemns Racism and Violence in Charlottesville

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Board of Directors unequivocally decries and deplores all racism and racist ideologies and condemns the bigotry, hate, and violence demonstrated this past week by white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville. We stand with our colleagues at the University of Virginia, recognizing that this was not a localized gathering and could happen on any college or university campus. We honor and remember those who were injured or lost their lives in Charlottesville this past weekend.

ACRL is unwavering in its long-standing commitment to free exchange of different viewpoints, but what happened in Charlottesville was not that; instead, it was terrorism masquerading as free expression. ACRL will continue to advocate for and demand diversity, inclusion, equity, and access in our college and university libraries.

We hope that all members of ACRL will join us in reaffirming our commitment to support students, faculty, staff, and the public we serve. We are committed to representing many backgrounds and advocating for social justice on campus and in our communities.

Keeping Up With… Mindfulness

The latest edition of Keeping Up With…, ACRL’s online current awareness publication featuring concise briefs on trends in academic librarianship and higher education, is now available. This month’s issue features a discussion of Mindfulness by Julie Artman.

Keeping Up With… is available on the ACRL website and each issue will be send via email to ACRL members. Non-members can visit our email sign up page to receive Keeping Up With… and a variety of other ACRL awareness publications including the ACRL Update newsletter and table of contents alerts for C&RL, C&RL News, and RBM.

ACRL is currently accepting topic suggestions for future editions of Keeping Up With… . Visit the Keeping Up With…website for more information or contact David Free at dfree@ala.org with questions or to submit topics.

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