Member of the Week: Jennifer Knievel

Jennifer Knievel

Jennifer Knievel BlogJennifer Knievel is Associate Professor and Director of Arts & Humanities at the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries in Boulder, Colorado. Jennifer has been an ACRL member since 1999 and is your ACRL member of the week for April 25, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Optimistic, ethical, pragmatic.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am currently re-reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I know some people don’t love his writing, but this book changed the course of my life; it inspired me to become a librarian. The story reminds us of the importance of protecting intellectual discourse, of questioning the world and society around us, and most of all, of encouraging others to do the same.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, learning, growing.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL is where I find my people. It’s where I can build relationships that remind me why I love being a librarian and inspire me to focus on students, center my work on learning, and strive to improve myself as a professional.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? Librarians are situated to work with students in a safe, non-evaluative relationship in ways that their regular course faculty can’t do. Research shows increasingly that students who leave college do so because they don’t feel like anyone at the university cares about them. Librarians have an opportunity to stand in that role as the person who cares, who inspires a student to stay. As an academic librarian, I am part of an organization that exists to enable the students to succeed.

6. In your own words: Not everyone’s career is world-changing in an obvious way, the way that perhaps an emergency doctor, social worker, or firefighter’s might be. However, all of our careers have the potential to improve the piece of the world we do touch. So I consider it my role, my calling, to do everything I can think of to make the library and the university a better place to live, work, and learn. Perhaps that improvement is something major, like championing the implementation of a new mentoring program for library faculty or participating in drafting a new strategic plan, or maybe it’s something minor, like guiding a student at the reference desk to articles about the depiction of the Indian caste system in Bollywood films. But every day, I have a chance to make life a little better for others.

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.