Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2017 ALA/ ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2017 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 3 — 10. Complete details on candidates for ACRL offices are available on the election website. Make sure to vote for the candidates of your choice starting March 13.
Lauren Pressley is the director of the University of Washington Tacoma Library and the associate dean of university libraries at the University of Washington in Tacoma, Washington, and a 2017 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Vice-President/ President-Elect.
1. Describe yourself in three words: Systems-thinker, strategic, facilitator.
2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently reading Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman. I’m listening to Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined during my commutes between Tacoma and Seattle.
3. Describe ACRL in three words: Innovative, informative, collaborative.
4. Why do you value about ACRL? From early in my career, ACRL has been the association that has most closely supported my work and development as a professional. ACRL publications, conferences, and workshops have been critical for my continued learning. I have met colleagues and found friendships through ACRL projects. ACRL committee work has given me the opportunity to participate in discussions about the future of the field. Most recently, I have found ACRL’s standards and other documentation to be incredibly useful in my daily work as an administrator. When I meet with people outside of the library, these documents have provided talking points, an external source of authority, and in many cases have led to really interesting conversations that will have a lasting impact on the larger institution. ACRL, and the members who provide so much of this content, have provided a foundation for my work as a librarian, increased the effectiveness of my library, and enhanced student and faculty success at my university.
5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? Fundamentally, I work for the success of our students and faculty. I do this by communicating the work we do with our community and advocating for the library within the larger institution. My daily work primarily consists of meetings. I meet with administrators and faculty to help evolve our institution’s understanding of contemporary academic libraries. I meet with stakeholders to understand their needs and priorities so that we can best help them reach their goals. I facilitate conversation within the library about what we do and how we will want to do it in the future. This work will help us reach our desired outcome: positioning the library as a key institutional partner that helps our entire community succeed.
6. In your own words: I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of a profession that advances and transforms learning, knowledge, and community. The actual work of librarianship is intellectually exciting. Understanding trends and changes in higher education, culture, and society; analyzing what this broader context means for our work; and evolving what we do to position the library to best serve our local community is important and interesting work. It’s rewarding and energizing to imagine the future and how to get there while also building on a strong foundation of professional values and principles. Multiple times a day I find myself reflecting on how much I love this work and being an academic librarian.