ACRL Member of the Week: Kalan Knudson Davis

Kalan Davis

Kalan Knudson Davis is a special collections metadata librarian at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kalan has been a member of ACRL for 3 years and is your ACRL member of the week for February 4, 2019.

Kalan DavisDescribe yourself in three words: Dedicated information Jedi.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? I’m currently reading an interactive fiction story titled 80 Days. Loosely based on Jules Verne’s work Around the World in Eighty Days, it stretches a branching narrative game into a novel-length reading experience.

Describe ACRL in three words: Connected, collegial, supportive.

What do you value about ACRL? As a special collections metadata librarian creating bibliographic descriptions and enabling discovery of the unique materials and books-as-cultural-objects stewarded by and housed in the University of Minnesota Libraries, I value the network of special collections practitioners and fellow catalogers involved in RBMS, the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of ACRL. I currently serve as a member on the RBMS Publications and Communications Committee and on the RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? Special collections and rare materials cataloging draw on a wide variety of skill sets and disciplines. I constantly synthesize and actively grow my knowledge of book history, codicology, paleography, bibliographical description, bookbinding, and provenance as these areas inform and enrich my daily work. This is in addition to the rich knowledge domains of cataloging descriptive standards, the assignment subject access and classification, current evolution in library linked data, and cataloging/metadata policy creation. The work of the rare book cataloger is only the beginning of what later evolves into substantial bibliographical research by scholars in the field. My contributions help make the University of Minnesota Libraries’ materials discoverable and evolves our understanding of the human cultural record on campus and beyond.

In your own words: I have been so incredibly blessed by library mentors in my life who have challenged, encouraged, and helped me grow. I’m so grateful for you, for our shared profession, and for your generosity. Thank you. A great library leader once told me I had to become more than a cataloger and to succeed I must embrace the role of information Jedi. In taking up this challenge, I strive every day to learn more about our bibliographic universe and how to make it better for the academic cataloging librarians of tomorrow.

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 for more information.