Member of the Week: James L. Adams

James L. Adams

James L. AdamsJames L. Adams is the Data and Visualization Librarian at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. James has been an ACRL member since 2013 and is your ACRL member of the week for July 18, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Affable, reflective, user-focused.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m reading The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver. I’m also listening to several podcasts: What’s the Point, Data Stories, Hardcore History, and The Infinite Monkey Cage, among others.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Fantastic professional community.

4. What do you value about ACRL? As an early career librarian, ACRL has helped me find a community of people that I feel truly connected to as a professional. Because of our common experience serving scholarly communities, my interactions with other ACRL members help me to improve my own work. One of my most memorable experiences since joining the profession was the week I spent at ACRL Immersion, which I feel vastly improved my abilities as an instructor and connected me with other librarians that I’ll continue to work with throughout my career. I like hearing about how my peers at other institutions approach some of the same challenges I face, and ACRL gives me the chance to make those connections.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a data and visualization librarian, one of my main goals is to empower members of my academic community by promoting data literacy and providing instruction on tools that can be used in quantitative research. A lot of my work relies on technology, and some of the tools I work with or methods I use may seem intimidating for those who don’t consider themselves to be tech-savvy or who think that they don’t have the skills to write code. My goal as an instructor and collaborator is to convince people otherwise and to make the things I do approachable for everyone. As a librarian, I feel that my expertise in data visualization or any other area is best utilized by making concepts accessible to others. I could create visualizations and help researchers explore their data all day, but I would much rather give them the power to do so themselves.

6. In your own words: I believe that the job of an academic librarian is fundamentally the same as any other librarian or information professional. We work in a community-focused profession, and on some level we all share the goal of providing our users with the information they need. I personally enjoy working in an academic library because I think that the information needs of academic communities are among the most interesting and in-depth. This gives us a chance to be constant learners; many of the people we get to work with are experts in their fields, and helping an expert find an answer is a great way to learn something new. On a broader level, I have a firmly held belief that education is inherently good. As librarians, we are dedicated to furthering education, and that gives me a deep sense of pride in our profession. Even doing something as small as helping an undergrad find a worthwhile source for their latest assignment, I can be happy knowing that I’ve done some good for the day.

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.