2022 ULS Candidate for Vice-Chair Elect – Nancy Gibson
Tell us more about yourself and how you became an academic librarian.
I’ve been a librarian for over 17 years, all at a regional master’s university, and am looking forward to what the future brings! While I didn’t start out thinking I would be a librarian, much less an academic librarian, librarianship has been an excellent fit for me as it combines several of my interests, including technology and training. But it’s also much more, and I truly began to see that while working in library school doing different jobs in instruction, reference, and library technology. Before becoming a librarian, I worked for a high school international exchange program as an administrative assistant and did temp work for local companies.
How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?
I have been involved with ULS for several years, starting as a member of the Procedures committee to get familiar with the section and then serving as Member-at-Large. During this time, I worked with ULS folks on two projects: updating ULS information from static PDFs to the dynamic and flexible libguide platform and surveying members about what they’d like to see from ULS.
Why ULS? It and the sections for college and community college librarians address academic librarianship as a whole and have a complementary role to play to discipline and job-type sections and groups. I’m excited to see how we can build on these complementary strengths and increase the value and benefits for all ACRL members.
In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in university libraries?
There are so many ongoing initiatives and trends that center around access, equity, and inclusion, from OER advocation to responsible resource stewardship to our role as a campus educational partner that should be the focus of our time and effort locally and nationally, so how can we make the most of our valuable time when we’re stretched so thinly? One trend that exemplifies the collaborative sharing spirit of librarianship is the New Literacies Alliance OER Initiative. This project, primarily built around the Framework and utilizing instructional design, addresses metaliteracies and creates a repository of open access lessons that can be library or institutionally branded and integrated with a learning management system.
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 goal is to build on the excellent ongoing work done by ULS committees and promote our section’s professional development offerings and group discussions through creative initiatives. I would also ask chairs and conveners what hurdles and obstacles they encounter within the section, the division, and ALA as a whole and work to address any issues by reaching out and working with others to provide smart solutions.
Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?
As an organization that advances university librarianship, this includes making sure all section members are treated equitably, included as valued members, and that the section represents our nation’s diverse people. Several initiatives are already underway by ALA, ACRL, and ULS to guide us in our short-term and long-term section goals and activities. I think continuing to work with similar sections, academic chapters, and ACRL and ALA at large to build a network of resources, increase advocacy, and ensure a sense of belonging will benefit section members.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.
One of the more interesting Girl Scout badges I earned was for rowing. Like any sport, I learned a lot from rowing competitively as a team, from steering the boat and projecting my voice as a coxswain to getting the large wooden boats in and out of the water and rowing with teammates to race to the finish. Rowing was an incredible adventure that reminded me to be flexible and roll with the action to accomplish common goals.