2022 ULS Candidate for Member-at-Large: Meggan Press
Tell us more about yourself and how you became an academic librarian.
I’m the Undergraduate Education Librarian in the Teaching and Learning Department at Indiana University – Bloomington. I came to libraries via an advanced degree in music performance. After I finished my master’s in music, I came to the realization that while I loved performing and music, I didn’t want to live the hustle of a freelancing musician in order to live and eat, so I took a year and worked as a substitute teacher while trying to figure out what was next. I landed on libraries for a number of reasons, the primary one being a music librarian seemed like the ideal combination of steady work while continuing to be involved in music. I went to library school and pursued experience working in music libraries and music-adjacent projects, but I found doors closing politely in my face at every turn, to a rather hilarious degree. At the same time, I was discovering that my skills and interests went far beyond subject expertise. Once I discovered teaching and learning in libraries, many threads of my life pulled together and started to make sense. I’ve worked in teaching and learning ever since. My interest in libraries and learners transcends subject disciplines and is primarily concerned with the role of libraries in creating those aspirational life-long learners.
How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?
I’ve been a member of ULS for years, and I’m currently a co-convener of the Evidence Based Practice Discussion Group. I was nominated to the executive committee by a number of members of ULS who know my work and felt that ULS would be a good fit for my strengths and interests. I’m very glad to have been recommended to leadership in this section, which I feel is overlooked by many.
In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in university libraries?
I think the pandemic had brought to light the importance of library spaces in higher education and how absolutely critical it is to intentionally create spaces that feel as safe as possible to as many people as possible. I am, perhaps obviously, extremely interested in how the pandemic has impacted teaching and learning, both on a broad societal scale and within libraries, and I’m eager to see how this area continues to develop in the coming years.
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 would like to help promote the work of ULS, which I believe has many opportunities for librarians of all kinds. As I am new to considering leadership in the section, I would need more information about what ULS currently does in this capacity before I could say how the members and committees could help achieve that. In any group effort, shared goals are the first step.
Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?
It continues to be very important to tell the story of academic libraries in a way that resonates with many kinds of people. To do this, it is critical to invite and understand the stories of librarians and the role of libraries in a democratic society. Staying relevant is a natural outcome of careful listening across silos.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.
Being a professional librarian allows me to continue to make music for the joy of it and not for a paycheck. Currently, I play principle clarinet with the Southern Indiana Wind Ensemble.