Kelly McElroy is student engagement and community outreach librarian at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. Kelly has been a member of ACRL since 2008 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 14, 2017.
1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, committed, cooperative.
2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? For fun? I’m currently re-reading The Prince Zine by Joshua James Amberson, which is a fantastic fanzine all about Prince, printed in purple ink; also Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan and A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit.
3. Describe ACRL in three words: Librarians connecting librarians.
4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL creates chances for me to meet other academic librarians with similar interests. I participated in ACRL Immersion in 2013, and when I think about the lasting impact, it is amazing how many ongoing professional relationships stem from that single week. For example, it was the first time I met Nicole Pagowsky, who I worked with on the Critical Library Pedagogy Handbooks, as well as at least three of our authors. Through its programming, ACRL fosters these opportunities to get in a room with the right people to make something excellent happen.
5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? My work at Oregon State is to welcome students, particularly from marginalized communities, into the library. Sometimes I say that I’m the fun librarian, because I get to think about ways to make the library more approachable and accessible. In some cases, this means directly connecting students to resources or services, but just as often I collaborate with other staff and faculty who work closely with those students. The library can be a part of initiatives to support particular campus communities—say, undocumented students, students experiencing homelessness, or QTPOC students—without creating a new service, but by sharing the resources we have, whether through teaching, technology, collections, or just by showing up. It’s easy to focus on the stuff we offer, but the relationships are also often crucial.
6. In your own words: For some reason, this question stumped me—I don’t have any deep reflections on this profession, especially not as a lifestyle. But as far as jobs go, I am glad to spend my days learning and helping other people learn, in a context where I can contribute to some kinds of social change.
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 email@example.com for more information.