Mea Warren is Natural Sciences and Mathematics Librarian at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. Mea first joined ACRL in 2015 and is your ACRL member of the week for April 23, 2018.
Describe yourself in three words: Excited, encouraging, emerging.
What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)?: I’m currently reading The Care and Feeding of Your Young Employee: A Manager’s Guide to Millennials and Gen Z by Jamie Belinne, who is a professor here at UH. I went to a talk she gave to our faculty about teaching Millennials and Gen Z and was really interested in what she said about my generation and the next. I just finished The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an Epic College Basketball Rivalry by John Feinstein. As a Duke alumna, I’m a HUGE Duke basketball fan. One of my colleagues let me borrow it, and I learned so much more about where I went to college and how basketball has evolved in North Carolina.
Describe ACRL in three words: Interactive, supportive, expanding.
What do you value about ACRL?: I value the many sections that one can participate in and the ways that are available to get involved. I’ve been able to quickly get involved and join committees in STS and ULS, and learn a lot from my colleagues through their respective listservs. I also really value the ACRL conference. I was able to attend my first one on scholarship in 2017, and learned from a variety of librarians and made important connections. Being able to connect with other academic librarians is important to how you feel about the profession and the availability of bouncing off ideas.
What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus?: I make connections with students and faculty, promoting my expertise and the library services. I share a special type of expertise and know-how with many of our students and faculty to help them be successful in research and ultimately in life through information literacy sessions and consultations. I curate the collections of my liaison departments (Math, Computer Science, Earth and Atmospheric Science, and Physics), making sure that we are up to date and can provide students, faculty, and researchers with the best resources. As part of the outreach team, I also connect with high school groups that visit the library, student athletes, and other stakeholders on campus to ensure that we provide resources that best serve the diverse population we have as patrons.
In your own words (an open-ended statement or reflection about life as an academic/research librarian): We teach skills that people don’t think they need until they realize they absolutely need them: to complete an assignment, evaluate resources they use and find, understand academic publishing, and so much more. We offer many different services beyond research help, buying books, and ensuring access to databases. Often we become mini-therapists, keeping students calm when they decide to do research last minute and being the first people our community comes to when they have a question about anything on campus. Academic librarianship is a very special place to be. We have so many resources at our fingertips and we’re constantly trying to evolve and change with our users and do more for them. We are constantly learning new skills and growing our ideals. I’m glad to be a librarian at this time, in an era where knowledge is everywhere and is so usable, but needs to be examined and investigated in order to serve us all best.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.