2019 ULS Candidate for Member-at-Large: George J Fowler

George J. Fowler is one of three candidates this year for ULS Member at Large. He is the University Librarian at the Old Dominion. Read this interview to learn more about George as a candidate

How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?

I have been on the periphery of ULS for a decade, not becoming very involved because I didn’t see many opportunities to become involved – at least not in ways that interested me or where I felt competent to contribute. University libraries are not just where I’ve worked my entire professional life, they are where I believe the hope of humanity rests (with the rest of our library colleagues and the rest of the world). Becoming involved in ULS will allow me to participate in the good work already being done while scaling my efforts to a national and international scope.

In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we are seeing in university libraries?

Beyond the typical trends of the cost of information, perceptions of “value”, and our roles in our institutions, these are some of the more interesting topics I’ve been following:

  • How do we engage with local public, school, and special librarians in more effective ways to address societal and shared problems (academic preparedness, civic awareness and engagement, (information) literacy, the cost and effectiveness of education, etc.)
  • Spaces that inspire curiosity and creativity; intentionally making the print collection an active component of learning spaces;
  • Changing demographics of students
  • Confronting our past to create a better, more inclusive future
  • Restoring our roles in the most important information resources at our institutions – textbooks – through OER efforts

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 primary goal is to learn and contribute to what is already in progress. By doing this, while informing efforts with my knowledge and experience, I will be an active learner and participant in helping determine a better way for committees and members to get more out of, and contribute to, their membership.

Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?

I don’t know, but I want to learn and be an active participant-leader in making it so.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.

New favorite book: The Watchman’s Rattle by Rebecca D. Costa

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