Member of the Week: Brittney Thomas

BrittneyThomasBrittney Thomas is Public Services Librarian at the Illinois College Schewe Library in Jacksonville, Illinois. Brittney has been an ACRL member since 2011, is a 2013 ALA Emerging Leader, and your ACRL member of the week for February 4, 2013.

1. Describe yourself in three words:  Enthusiastic, Innovative, Fearless.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently reading Catch-22 by Joseph Heller and I’m in the middle of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. More importantly, though, I am watching (over and over again) every episode of The Walking Dead!

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Opportunity, Professional, Guide.

4. What do you value about ACRL? The resources and connections that ACRL provide are invaluable to my work as a librarian. I am always looking to ACRL for ideas and for help. ACRL is a source of constant advice, resources, and opportunities for personal and professional advancement. Despite the fact that ACRL is a large professional organization, it is clear that every member is valued. ACRL works hard to provide connections and educational opportunities for all its members.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? My ultimate goal as an academic librarian is to help students become critical information consumers, to build up their critical thinking and problem solving skills, and to help them understand the importance of the library in not only the information gathering process but in every other aspect of their lives. I help make our students more competitive and more informed participants in today’s society. We are all information consumers and I try to make that transparent by participating in campus events, teaching information literacy and fluency skills, and by hosting relevant workshops and programs in the library.

I also advise the library’s student organization and internship program. I am constantly collaborating with different departments across campus including Student Services, the Center for Academic Advancement, and the Writing Center. I also help make the library an active center for learning, creating, and social interaction. I center most of these activities around social media, technology, current events, popular culture, and anything else that the students and faculty deem relevant to their academic, professional, and personal lives.

6. In your own words: Librarians have the flexibility and the intellectual resources to constantly redefine themselves to help their community become better, more active, and more informed citizens. I feel so privileged be a part of this group! Through every interaction I have with students, staff, or faculty I have the opportunity to transform their perceptions of the world and I am also transformed. My work as a librarian is a constant surprise (and delight) to both myself and others in my community. I never know will happen each day but whatever it is, I always strive to knock it out of the park. To me, that is the magic of librarianship. They must teach us that in library school.

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.