2018 ULS Candidate for Vice Chair/Chair-Elect: Jody Bailey
I’m a lifelong learner who’s always been interested in research, teaching, and sharing information. Like many people who grew up with a love of reading, I majored in English literature for my bachelor’s degree. I discovered linguistics at that time and was fascinated with it, so I enrolled in the master’s program in English at Louisiana State University to study linguistics, in particular second-language acquisition. I taught English as a second language at the university level and then became involved in scholarly publishing, working as a technical/production editor for the American Psychological Association Journal’s Office for a few years and then doing freelance editing. After a decade in that field, I decided it was time for a change but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. In thinking about where I’d been happiest in my life, I realized it was when I’d been on a campus, surrounded by those who love and value learning. So I went back for my second master’s degree at Wayne State University and finished my MLIS in 2008. I’ve been an academic librarian since that time and sometimes wish I’d found the profession earlier, though I’ve learned so much along the way that informs my work now.
How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?
I volunteered for the ULS Communications Committee in 2010, not long after getting my first librarian gig at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Becoming active in the profession by volunteering for an ALA committee made sense to me as a way to network and get to know other librarians across the U.S., and this section was appealing because I could collaborate with people doing work similar to my own. I was and still am eager to learn from others, particularly those with more experience than me.
In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in university libraries?
In looking back at my 9 years of work at UTA, it seems that my career path mirrors the changes I’ve seen the profession. I began my work as a reference/instruction librarian and moved into a supervisory role in that area after three years. My focus shifted for a couple of years to grants work, and now I serve as the director of publishing. I’m deeply involved in work surrounding scholarly communication, from copyright education and authors’ rights advocacy to open access publishing and furthering the use of open pedagogy and open educational resources at universities. To remain relevant, 21st-century librarians should be able to effectively engage with campus stakeholders and partners on all these issues and so much more, highlighting the valuable knowledge and experience that we bring to the table. Our roles have evolved substantially just in the past decade, and this evolution shows no sign of slowing down.
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?
I’ve witnessed ULS becoming more responsive to the needs of its members over the years I’ve been involved, and I salute all the ULS leaders—including committee and discussion group members—who’ve worked so hard to make this possible. I want to continue in this tradition but also to expand it, finding more ways to help our membership become active and involved, even if they can’t travel to conferences because of budgetary restrictions. In particular, I’ve seen so many professional development events in the form of free webinars sponsored and organized by ULS committees and discussion groups. These webinars are wonderful opportunities (a) for committee/DG members to practice logistical skills of conference planning/implementation, (b) for webinar presenters to share their expertise with others, and (c) for attendees to gain valuable knowledge and skills. I definitely want to see the webinars continue and perhaps grow if there’s a demand, and these events cannot happen without the help of all committee/DG members.
We also need to flesh out the ULS LibGuides project to inform prospective volunteers and members what each committee and discussion group focuses on and how we do our work. These sites are such a rich source of helpful information and will only become more valuable as we all work to develop them.
Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?
We need to have our ear to the ground, focusing on new areas of academic librarianship and perhaps considering whether additional committees or discussion groups need to emerge from them. Newer and growing specialties that are not well represented in ULS include assessment, scholarly communication, and open education, to name just a few. If academic librarians working in these burgeoning specialties do not see themselves reflected in some way in ULS, they will not be interested in joining our section, which would be a huge loss.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.
I’m an online gamer in my free time (e.g., Diablo III, Divinity: Original Sin 2) and sometimes think that my husband and I spend more time together in virtual worlds than we do in the real one.