Member of the Week: Beth Filar Williams

Beth Filar-Williams

Beth Filar-WilliamsBeth Filar Williams is Head of the Library Experience and Access Department at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR. Beth first joined ACRL in 1999 and is your ACRL member of the week for January 3, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Collaborative, restorative, hard-working.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I always have a variety of reads though I tend to listen to books most often (while walking, doing chores, gardening). I am really enjoying listening to someone I greatly respect and admire—Gloria Steinem’s story of her early years in My Life on the Road. I finished up reading The Design of Everyday Things, which is very relevant to my current service design work, and recommend this read to anyone designing services or spaces in libraries. I also just read the very short We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie based on her TED talk and recommend that quick read or video to everyone!

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, opportunities, engagement.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL is like an academic library for librarians: offering vetted, useful, scholarly resources when you need them, help when you are struggling to find what you need, online learning options, the best academic librarian conferences, and most importantly a means to connect and network with fellow academic librarians around the world.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? My role since February 2015 when I joined Oregon State University Libraries and Press is to grow a new department focusing on users’ experiences, bringing together circulation, the information desk, the building, learning spaces and the virtual library interactions as head of the Library Experience and Access Department. We are diving into wayfinding issues, user centered design of services, rethinking our spaces including collaboration with campus partners, and discovering other ways the library can best support our students to be successful.

6. In your own words: When I worked at the public library in high school in the Baltimore suburbs I swore I would never be a librarian (I am not going to wear a cardigan, a bun, and shush people! haha), but after stumbling into a library graduate degree program 20 years ago I knew there was no denying it was for me. By offering almost any resource imaginable and access to knowledge for people regardless of their privilege, class, race, gender, etc., libraries help creates the informed, equal access society in which I wish to live. Though I worked as a middle school librarian and a consultant, I found I kept drifting back into the academic libraries environment. I relish being on a college campus full of learning, creating, growing, with questioning students, constant new arrivals and those celebrating accomplishments, as well as being surrounded by educators and researchers.

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.