Interview with ULS Chair Amanda Peters
Amanda Peters is the 2019-2020 Chair of the University Libraries Section. Currently she works at the University of Michigan Library as the Student Engagement Librarian for Learning Programs and Initiatives. In this interview Amanda talks about her involvement with ULS and what she hopes to accomplish as Chair.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to become an academic librarian?
While I was working on my master’s degree in English, I realized I liked the research more than the writing. I also had a great deal of respect for the instruction librarians who would do sessions for my classes as I worked as a graduate student instructor, and thought the work they were doing was so important. I started looking into librarianship as a career option and the idea of helping students with their research was very appealing.
How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?
I’ve been involved in ULS since 2013, and I was drawn to the section because of the new (at the time) Academic Outreach Committee–outreach is frequently a part of my job as a Student Engagement Librarian, and I was really excited about helping develop a community of practice.
What do you think are one or two major issues academic librarians face today and how can ULS help address these?
There’s so much talk these days about how to diversify the profession. There aren’t any easy answers, but anything our membership can do to recruit new librarians of color and do what we can to mentor and support them is a step in the right direction.
How did you come to serve in this ULS leadership role — chair of the section?
I worked on several committees and gradually moved into committee chair positions. Alex Rivera and Kerry Creelman have both been great friends and mentors and have encouraged and supported me through this process.
What advice do you have for members who are interested in taking on a leadership role within the section?
It really is about developing relationships and getting to know folks in the section. We are always looking for new people to add energy and enthusiasm to the section, so if you have aspirations make them known!
What goals do you have for the section during your term? How do you envision committees and members helping the section achieve those goals?
I am hoping our proposal for an Emerging Leaders project is accepted. We plan to have them talk to early career librarians through surveys and interviews in order to find out what is important for the next generation of librarians, and how we can support them in their work through committees and programming.
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 this Emerging Leaders project would be a step towards determining future directions. I also think we have already made some strides toward offering more online programming and committee opportunities, and continuing in this direction is essential in order to be inclusive for members who don’t have as many opportunities to travel.
What last words would you like to convey to ULS members?
I really do hope members feel that they are part of a community, and if there are new ways to make those connections stronger, please feel free to reach out and offer suggestions-I’m always happy to listen!