2020 ULS Candidate for Vice Chair/Chair-Elect: Jennifer Sharkey
Tell us more about yourself and how you became an academic librarian.
I’ve been an academic librarian for almost 20 years. While in school, I had the opportunity to work in a variety of academic library on campus. However, right out of library school I worked for a short time at a public library. I enjoyed the work but I really missed working in academic library. At the time, most academic libraries were requiring two Masters degrees for faculty/professional librarian positions so I quit my job and went back to graduate school. Ever since then I’ve worked in an academic library.
How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?
I’ve been a member of the section for about seven years. Prior to joining, I was quite active in the Instruction Section but was looking for different professional service opportunities. I was attracted to ULS because the members hold a variety of library positions and bring a range of points of view. I also like the focus on professional development.
In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in university libraries?
There is so much happening in higher education in general and that naturally affects academic libraries. I am really excited to see increasing conversations about open educational resources and textbook affordability. Working on the reference desk, I regularly hear students say they can’t afford their textbooks. Academic libraries are posed to help create equal access to a college degree.
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?
The committees, discussion groups, and members are already doing great work. If elected, I see my role as ensuring that continues to happen. However, as ALA and in turn ACRL examines its future as an organization, it is more important than ever to listen to what members want and need and then helping figure out how to provide it.
Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?
As the academic environment continues to change and evolve, professional development will be more important than ever. ULS is already doing great job in providing these types of opportunities. It is essential for those of us helping shape programming and initiatives to remain open to what members need in this area of their professional lives.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.
I have lived in three different countries, two of which were islands.