Member of the Week: Amy Barlow

Amy BarlowAmy Barlow is Reference and Instruction Librarian and Adjunct Instructor of History at Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, CT. Amy has been an ACRL member since 2008, is a 2012 ALA Emerging Leader,  and your ACRL member of the week.

1. Describe yourself in three words:  Practical. Irreverent. Loud.

2. What are you reading right now? I am reading Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion for fun, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for work, and The Nation for obvious reasons (Katha Pollitt).

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Opportunity. Support. Scholarship.

4. Why do you value most about ACRL? Thank you ACRL for connecting librarians, not only to one another, but to information, professional development, research, advocacy, news, and all of the good stuff that arrives in our feeds and inboxes.

5. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? While I enjoy my daily work tasks, I believe that academic librarians serve a greater set of values, beyond the boundaries of our real and digital campuses. Naomi Klein said it best, in a fierce speech that she delivered to a joint meeting of ALA/CLA in 2003. There, Klein characterized librarians as embattled radicals, praising the roles we play in cultivating knowledge, public space, and resource sharing.

In a global society that increasingly leans toward information overload, private space, buying, and selling, the unique importance of what we do should not be dismissed. Working as a librarian in a community college environment further distills these values, as we offer access to higher education to all students that walk through the door.

6. In your own words: I often feel like a librarian child bride. I wedded myself to the profession at an early age, and never knew another career. This is not to say that I have regrets or that I am ready to break-up with librarianship. On the contrary, I am deeply committed to this engaging profession; it is never boring. I do wonder, however, what the future holds for community colleges. The possibilities are both scary and exciting.

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.