Member of the Month: Annah Hackett

Name: Annah Hackett

Institution: Grand View University (Des Moines, IA)

Job Title: Campus Engagement and Instruction Librarian

How long have you been a member of ULS? 3.5 years

What or who inspires your work?

My students! A lot of my time is spent working with first year students as the embedded librarian in their core seminar. I love watching them grow into researchers who ask critical questions. A lot of students come into college thinking that they will just learn content; when I am working with them during our information literacy sessions, they slowly begin to understand that higher education is as much about learning skills as it is about learning facts. I feel privileged that I get to watch the lights (slowly) turn on in their heads. I also love when a student learns to enjoy research, especially when it is on a topic they wouldn’t normally pursue. A few years ago, I was working with a business major who was researching the history of jazz for his liberal arts requirement. He was so surprised and happy to discover that “research can actually be really cool sometimes.” Sometimes I wonder if he was ever able to incorporate his discovered interest in music history into his post-college career. I hope so!

What most excites you about academic librarianship?

I think that, now more than ever, we are an extremely necessary profession. That is exciting to me. Before I went to grad school for my MLIS, I spent a few years wandering in search of a career that would allow me to serve others and live purposefully. Now as I watch the headlines about current events roll in on my phone, I see our purpose: to help others see through the blather and identify how information is structured by those in power. Once you understand that and know how to push back (for your own good and for the good of the vulnerable in our society), you can start to understand how our world is run. An information literate populace is necessary for a just society.

What exciting or interesting project are you working on right now?

As a member of the Iowa Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, I am very excited to prepare for Banned Books Week (September 23-29). Here in Des Moines we are hosting a Banned Books Week Pub Trivia Night at a local brewery in collaboration with the ACLU of Iowa and creating an information packet that will be distributed to librarians throughout the state.

What do you do for fun?

Read, of course! Right now I am reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware. I also love movies. The last movie I saw was Leave No Trace; it was excellent. Lastly, my big stress reliever is cooking/baking. As I type this, I am already planning what I will make tonight. It’s rainy here, so I think I will make chicken noodle soup and blueberry oatmeal scones.

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