2018 ULS Candidate for Vice Chair/Chair-Elect: Amanda Peters
Tell us more about yourself and how you became an academic librarian.
I have been an academic librarian at The University of Michigan for 18 (!) years. It really has flown by. I work primarily with undergraduates who are new to academic research; I love making those early impressions and connections. I collaborated with a team to start a credit-bearing information literacy course 12 years ago and it’s especially gratifying to see the progression of students throughout the course. I received my B.A. and M.A. in English from The University of Toledo and thought about going on for my PhD, but I discovered that as a Graduate Student Assistant I particularly liked the role of teaching students about doing research. I went on to receive my MLIS from Kent State University.
How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?
I have been involved in ULS for the past 7 years, starting in the Academic Outreach Committee, working as a Member at Large and now as the chair of this year’s Program Planning Committee. I was attracted to the section because I had colleagues who were doing good work in the section and I was inspired by that, but after attending some meetings and socials I felt very welcomed. The opportunities to contribute to the work of University libraries was compelling and the ways to get involved felt very transparent and accessible. I’d like to think I’ve continued to support that agenda in my committee work.
In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in university libraries?
I have been particularly interested in the work around experiential learning and how that often relates to community engaged learning and social justice efforts. I am happy to see librarians making strides to offer new ways of collaborating with faculty and students around this important work. I also think it’s very heartening to see a national effort to take issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility to the next level; this work is integral to the mission of libraries everywhere.
What goals for the section would you have if elected to this position? How do you envision committees and members helping the section achieve those goals?
My goals for ULS would be to continue to do the good work that has come before me and if possible, strengthen those efforts. The libguides project has been a great way to keep our work updated and accessible, and we all know how important it will be to continue the upkeep of those pages! Alex Rivera and I have recently discussed ways to maximize the use of the members at large to further our goals, and I’m particularly interested in this since I served as a member at large. Finally, I think it’s been an important move in the right direction to offer more programs online; I’d love to see our online community grow.
Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?
The main way to stay relevant is to be great listeners and ambassadors for university librarians across the country. As I mentioned above, a concern for many is how they can be involved with the national conversation without a big travel budget, and our online activities can be a great equalizer. I also think it’s very important to keep conversation and collaboration between sections and other committees; it’s been a great experience to collaborate this year with the ACRL Diversity Committee on a joint program. Using those connections across ACRL and ALA and beyond can bring a greater understanding of national conversations around academic librarianship.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.
I was a musical theater geek in high school and an accomplished tap dancer! I find my performance experiences translate well in trying to hold students’ attention while I am teaching. I am now passing down my love of performance to my son, who just participated as stage crew in his elementary school musical–hoping next year I might get him to try out for the chorus!