ACRL Member of the Week: Clara M. Chu

Clara Chu

Clara Chu is the Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign. Clara has been a member of ACRL for two years and is your ACRL member of the week for August 13, 2018.

Clara ChuDescribe yourself in three words: Conscientious, thoughtful, constructive.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? I just finished reading an advanced reader’s edition of Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas. I am always tuned in to my local NPR affiliate, and about to do some extended listening to Canadian radio host and humorist Stuart McLean.

Describe ACRL in three words: Influential, responsive, accessible.

What do you value about ACRL? ACRL has been open to engaging diversity and international issues. I have had the opportunity to address as President and an active member of ALISE, in the collaborative efforts of both associations to address issues of accreditation, educational preparation and diversity, and as co-founding editor of the International Insights column of “College & Research Libraries News”, in enhancing understanding of global academic and research libraries matters.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? Through our Mortenson Center programs we introduce international librarians to library practices on campus and invite our library staff to share their expertise internationally. As an affiliated faculty member of the iSchool of Illinois, I teach, serve on thesis or dissertation committees, host internships and volunteers, and collaborate in many activities, including the webinar series “Minitalks.” Additionally, I serve on campus-wide committees, currently co-chairing the Illinois International Advisory Committee.

In your own words: Academic libraries are experiencing a changing landscape, which has opened up new opportunities to work with and serve our communities. While the transformations in our spaces, collections and information systems are clearly observable, it is my hope that libraries are equally willing to tackle the social, economic and political complexities to advance a noticeably accessible, diverse and inclusive environment.


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 mpetrowski@ala.org for more information.