Member of the Week: Mark E. Shelton

Mark E. Shelton

Mark E. SheltonMark E. Shelton is Director of Library Services at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Mark has been an ACRL member since 1997 and is your ACRL member of the week for October 3, 2016.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Friendly, enthusiastic, and perceptive.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Right at the moment, I am reading Reimagining the Academic Library by David W. Lewis. I am only about half way through and if the second half is as good as the first, then it will be a truly beneficial professional read. For more of an entertaining read, I am reading Marie Lu’s The Young Elites. Having grown up on Stephen King, Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks, Greg Bear, and Michael Crichton, I haven’t read many of these young adult dystopian series. So this is my first foray into a genre I haven’t explored yet beyond the movies that have been made out of them.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Invaluable, important, and progressive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? There are so many different kinds of academic libraries from the large research library to small liberal arts college libraries to community college libraries. Although the organization and scale of them are different, we all face extremely similar challenges while trying to achieve very similar outcomes. The foundations of our purposes run parallel. As a result, ACRL provides a diverse yet homogeneous community from which to learn and benefit. Being able to see how each of our libraries addresses challenges through a slightly different lens makes it possible to see my own library’s challenges much more clearly. ACRL makes this possible through so many different channels.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As an academic librarian, I am on the front lines of open intellectual exploration. In addition to providing unfettered access to a borderless world of information and content, we provide systems that make the process of discovery efficient and we give students and faculty skills and abilities that they can use well beyond our institutional walls. Education is about discovery, and we create an environment on our campus where discovery is unlimited.

6. In your own words: Ever since I read the book Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, I have been fascinated by the idea of learning about many different fields of study. Michelangelo was very broadly educated and could apply diverse ideas to many different challenges. We label people as Renaissance Men based on the range of their learning. The academic library is, in my view, the unlimited brain. As an academic librarian, not only do I benefit, but I also make it possible for so many others to seek, to explore, to learn, to reach, and to become boundless in their thinking. The academic library is what higher education is all about. I can only hope that Charlie Gordon would look on me and be pleased.

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.