Cara B. Stone is a acquisitions and instruction librarian at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. Cara has been a member of ACRL for 7 years and is your ACRL member of the week for December 10, 2018.
What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? I’m listening to The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman, with Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West up next, and am in the middle of reading the print version of James Lang’s Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning. I subscribe to around 35 podcasts (not exactly manageable…) and, as a result, am perpetually behind, but do love the true-crime podcast My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the adorable and uplifting The Show About Science hosted by second grader Nate Butkus, Levar Burton Reads, NPR’s Code Switch, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, NPR’s Hidden Brain, and Death Sex & Money with Anna Sale.
Describe ACRL in three words: Relationships, growth, sharing.
What do you value about ACRL? Beyond the impressive list of acronyms, I appreciate that ACRL has a section, interest group, or resource for nearly every flavor of academic librarianship. We can pursue our wide-ranging specialty areas while still coming together with the common goals of exceptional service to our learning communities and advocacy for libraries.
What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I do many things you might typically think an Instruction Librarian would do: lead classes, develop curriculum, and help with our university’s Library/Information Literacy course administration. Beyond that, I work to cultivate relationships — with students, library colleagues, instructors, and offices across campus. The library is a hub for helping and connecting, and that’s what I do. I work with others to build a sense of community, where students and colleagues hopefully feel empowered and encouraged. One example of this is the work I do with our campus Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program and the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center as a trained facilitator for American Association of University Women (AAUW) Start Smart Salary Negotiation Workshops. These workshops address the gender pay gap and teach participants how to negotiate salaries, benefits, job titles, and other related points of interest as appropriate during the job offer process. With my library colleagues, I work with them to further develop their instructional expertise. I am always grateful for this process, as I also wind up learning alongside them. I liaise to the School of Education, tapping into my elementary and middle-school teaching days, to provide specialized instruction, resources, and collections. I am also heavily involved in both campus and state library association committees.
In your own words: Academic libraries play a vital role in helping prepare students to be engaged and responsible global citizens in pursuit of meaningful personal and professional futures. What a privilege it is to do the jobs we do, connecting with students at such a crucial time in their lives! I see every day in librarianship as an adventure and I love serving academic learning communities because of the diverse responsibilities librarians have; we are educators, organizers, facilitators, collaborators, outreach experts, and public servants. Above all else, we are a community of people who care and want to help those around us be successful. How lucky are we to work in such an empowering, engaged, and impactful community of professionals!? Librarians make a difference wherever they are.