Member of the Week: Rachel W. Gammons

Rachel W GammonsRachel W. Gammons is Teaching and Learning Librarian at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. Rachel has been an ACRL member since 2012, is a 2015 ALA Emerging Leader, and your ACRL member of the week for March 9, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Purposeful, student-centered, energetic.

2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am working my way through the National Book Award finalists. I just finished Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See (which was excellent) and am getting ready to begin Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman. I also have a soft spot for young adult fiction, I am currently in the middle of the Red Rising by Pierce Brown which is at once amazing and terrifying.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Impactful, empowering, connect-ful.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I deeply appreciate being connected to a community of academic librarians. Higher education can be incredibly siloed, particularly within a library where it can be easy for the library faculty/staff to become isolated from the rest of campus. ACRL is a place to share ideas and get input on projects. It is an invaluable source of inspiration and information-sharing.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I adore first-year students. My entire job is dedicated to making their first semesters on campus a success, and I love supporting them through their research projects and everyday concerns. I am one of the first librarians that a student meets when they get to campus and I have the opportunity to change a student’s perspective about what libraries can help them achieve.

6. In your own words: Academic librarians occupy such a unique position on campus. We are one of the faculty-level persons on campus whose job is not to grade or judge students. Everything a student says to me can be said in confidence . . . my work is dedicated to helping them become better students and better people, and I love the freedom in that. If we play our cards right, I think academic librarians can change a student’s experience on campus. We can make them feel safe and appreciated. We can give them a place to be alone or in a crowd. We be the support they need to succeed. It’s a fantastic responsibility and privilege.

Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Mary Jane Petrowski at for more information.