Member of the Week: Joelle Pitts

Joelle Pitts

Joelle PittsJoelle Pitts is Associate Professor and Instructional Design Librarian at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. Joelle has been an ACRL member since 2011 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 8, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Driven, analytical, collaborative.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently listening to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, an introvert’s manifesto. Lately my print reading hours have been filled with Teaching Information Threshold Concepts edited by Bravender, McClure, & Schaub, infused here and there with doses of Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, advocacy, network.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL has given me a professional home which allows me to serve my profession though the Distance Learning Section, as well as access to various professional development and learning opportunities. I love that I can come away from the conferences with an in-depth look into new projects and initiatives in addition to a broader view of the big trends and ideas in the profession. I also value the critical and thoughtful discussions that take place at the conferences, on listservs, and in publications like C&RL News.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I’m an instructional design librarian, a position that I’ve learned looks different at each institution. At K-State, a lot of the work I do is behind the scenes creating tutorials and learning environments to teach information literacy competencies. I think a big part of my role here is to help both our teaching faculty and our library staff look at library instruction in new and different ways, based on how the human brain transfers information.

I have played a large role in our efforts to flip our high-enrollment one-shot instruction to an online environment and have worked to embed library instruction into the curriculum of the English Language Program. I also spend a lot of my time leading the New Literacies Alliance, an inter-institutional collaborative developing online lessons based on the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. Our lessons are being used in many classes on campus and are being scaffolded into several programs, getting us closer and closer to library-infused curricula.

6. In your own words: I came to academic librarianship very circuitously, holding jobs ranging from bank teller, to health inspector, to consortium coordinator. But when I finally landed here, I found “My People: those who care about education, service, and access. People who love learning and helping others find their way through the universe of information at their fingertips. People who will stay late to help a patron or sacrifice their weekend to staff an outreach event. People who will stand and read The Diary of Anne Frank or Naked Lunch aloud to a crowded plaza during Banned Books Week to celebrate the freedom to read.

Not many can truly say they love their job, but I really do. I think the important work we do as academic librarians is making our world a better place, one reference transaction, info-lit tutorial, line of metadata, digital collection, or open access discussion at a time.

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.