Meet the Candidates: Penny M. Beile

Penny M. Beile

Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2018 ALA/ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2018 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 2—9. 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 12.

Penny M. BeilePenny M. Beile is the associate director of university libraries at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL and a 2018 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Vice President/President-Elect.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Strategic, engaged, evidence-based.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? I swing between futuristic, sci-fi thrillers and philosophy of the nature of life, but usually fall asleep with a research article in my hand. Oh, and our provost just requested Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education (Grawe) from the library, so that just got added to the list!

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, inclusive, proactive.

4. Why do you value about ACRL? Early in my career a mentor suggested ACRL and I quickly adopted it as my professional home. It fit then and it fits now, even with changing job responsibilities. I rely heavily on ACRL professional development programs and resources to stay current in the field and to inform my professional practice, which has spanned a variety of roles. I also value the service opportunities afforded by the association, many of which led me to work with some of the most engaged and collegial people in the profession, often resulting in long standing relationships and life-long friendships. On a broader scale, ACRL’s ability to stay at the forefront of emerging issues that have potential to impact academic libraries is both necessary and unparalleled. I am amazed that such a large division is so responsive to the needs of its membership.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As associate director for public services, my main roles are to position our library for success in an increasingly “resource-scarce” environment, as well as ensuring that library services are extended to all university constituents. This entails aligning library services with institutional goals, allocating resources in support of those priorities, and communicating our worth to institutional stakeholders. Specifically, over the past few years we have redesigned our service models and assumed new responsibilities, in turn leading to increased collaboration with campus partners and deeper integration into the curriculum. Results of two initiatives that I coordinate—a large scale library/student success study and campus-wide textbook affordability efforts—have provided evidence of the library’s contributions to student success, in turn allowing me to “connect the dots” between library services and institutional effectiveness metrics. I also use study outcomes to advocate for more positions and resources so we can further our work with faculty, students, and campus partners.

6. In your own words: As the first person in my family to attend college I have firsthand knowledge of the power of education to transform lives. Libraries serve as cornerstones to this enterprise and I firmly believe that they played an integral role in my academic success.  From there it was a small step to want to become part of this active and vibrant community and I remain grateful for the opportunity. Over time our work has become even more meaningful, more dynamic, and more essential. There’s never been a better—or more critical—time to be an academic librarian.