Clint Chamberlain is Educational Resource Support Officer at the Dallas County Community College District in Dallas, Texas. Clint first joined ACRL in 2003 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 1, 2016.
1. Describe yourself in three words: Contemplative, inquisitive, compassionate.
2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I usually have a book in just about every room of the house, so that no matter which room I’m in there’s a book to be read. In no particular order, here’s what I’m reading this week, depending upon where I am in my house: Edward Carpenter by Sheila Rowbotham, The Food Lover’s Garden by Mark Diacono, and Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway. And I’m re-reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Don’t even get me started on the piles of magazines I peruse during lunch – I think the latest issue of Audubon is on tap for today.
3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, engaged, community.
4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the connections I’ve made through ACRL. These days I don’t get to go to as many conferences as I did earlier in my career, so I appreciate getting C&RL and C&RL News as a way to remain current.
5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As the head of a technical services operation that serves seven colleges, I’m not actually at a campus but rather in a centralized location that serves all of our district’s constituent colleges that are spread all over Dallas County. By virtue of that, I have the privilege of working with the library directors and librarians at seven quite diverse institutions. A huge part of my job is making sure that our department enables access to our resources that is as seamless as possible for our users, whether they’re students and faculty at a college in the core of downtown Dallas or enrolled in one of our distance learning programs. If we can make things available for our students and faculty in such a way that access is something they don’t have to think about but instead just do, then we’ve made it that much easier for them to get about the real business of teaching and learning.
6. In your own words: I always intended to be an academic—one of my middle school teachers told my parents that I was destined to be an absent-minded professor because I already had the absent-mindedness down pat—but I sort of fell into librarianship by accident. I was pursuing another advanced degree, another career path, but I was lucky enough to have a job as a student assistant in a small branch library at that university, where there was a librarian who saw my aptitude for dealing with the challenges unique to serials. He later said that I had a tolerance for ambiguity, for recognizing and being at peace with the fact that some messes are never completely resolved, and for wrestling with the many-tentacled octopi that are continuing resources. Whatever the case, I was hooked on solving problems for others and also realized that I loved coming to work at the library every day, not just for the work itself but also for the chance to be with my fascinating coworkers. Although I’m no longer so directly involved in dealing with continuing resources, I’ve found that tolerance for ambiguity and for realizing that things are not always neat and tidy are real assets in librarianship today as we face so many challenges coming at us from seemingly all directions. Those fascinating coworkers are even better assets—librarians as a group have such wide-ranging interests and deep knowledge and that combined with the urge to serve and connect gives us a great perspective on how to navigate the changes affecting the academy.
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