2019 ULS Candidate for Member-at-Large: Lorelei Rutledge
Lorelei Rutledge is one of three candidates this year for ULS Member at Large. She is the Faculty Services Librarian at the University of Utah. Read this interview to learn more about Lorelei as a candidate.
Tell us more about yourself and how you became an academic librarian.
After I finished my Bachelor’s degree, I started a Master’s degree in Communication at the University of Colorado-Boulder. I really enjoy teaching, and my plan was to get my PhD in Communication and hopefully become a professor. After my first year in my Master’s program, however, I got the opportunity to work on a project cataloguing original documents and providing government documents reference support at the Norlin Library. I fell in love with it and decided to go to library school instead! Now, I work at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library as a Faculty Services Librarian.
How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?
Although I have been familiar with the ULS Facebook page for a while, I really started to get involved in ULS a couple of years ago. In 2017, ULS sponsored me for the ALA Emerging Leaders Program. The Executive Committee invited me to share my experiences working on my Emerging Leaders project, which gave me a chance to get to know several committee members. After learning more about ULS and meeting some of the awesome folks involved, I decided I wanted to be more involved and volunteered for a committee assignment. Now, I serve on the ULS Communications Committee. I have really enjoyed getting to be part of such a vibrant community, both in person and online. I feel like I can always get good advice from my ULS colleagues.
In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in university libraries?
I am really interested in the number of residency programs and other professional development opportunities becoming available at university libraries. I think that these kinds of initiatives are part of a larger movement to provide librarians with a chance to learn and practice the skills they need to better serve our students, faculty, staff, and community members. I think another major change we are seeing in higher education is the number of students looking for alternatives to the standard path for getting a degree. Students now are looking for opportunities to take hybrid or online-only classes, or to take classes that will enable them to make changes in their workplaces immediately. I think the library has a major role to play in making sure these students can easily access and evaluate information.
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 the section are to:
- Work with committees so that we can provide addition professional development opportunities to our members. For instance, I love the ULS On-the-Fly Mentoring program offered by the membership committee, and I would really like to promote that opportunity for our members.
- Continue to promote professional development opportunities offered by our members via Facebook, Twitter, the ULS Universe Blog, and other outlets.
- Provide support through professional development programming and networking events to all of our members, but especially those from underserved groups. In the wake of at the ALA Midwinter Conference, I also think our section can play an important role in offering mentoring and training opportunities to develop cultural competence in the broader community as well. I think each section has a responsibility to contribute to changing the environment of ALA to one that is inclusive and supportive to all.
- Conduct informal assessments to ensure that we are offering the kinds of professional development and networking opportunities that ULS members want and need.
In order to make these goals happen, we need members to continue to share their professional development opportunities to the ULS Communications Committee for additional promotion. In addition, we need members to share feedback about what kinds of professional development and networking opportunities would be most helpful for them.
Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?
I think in the future we will be called to find even more ways to reach out and share our community with librarians who may not regularly attend in-person conferences. Although we are already doing this, I think we will have to work even harder to make material available through webinars and to host online discussions so we can reach members who may not have the budget to travel regularly.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.
I love sloths! I love them so much, in fact, that I even went on an overnight adventure inside of a sloth habitat!