Editor’s Note: The ACRL Member of the Week feature is taking a brief hiatus so we can profile the 2013 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate each weekday from March 7 — 18. Complete details on candidates for ACRL offices are available on the election website. Make sure to vote for the candidates of your choice starting March 19. Member of the Week will return on March 25.
Julia Gelfand is Applied Sciences and Engineering Librarian at the University of California-Irvine Libraries in Irvine, California. Julia has been an ACRL member since 1985 and is a 2013 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.
1. Describe yourself in three words: Committed, Adventurous, Intense.
2. What are you reading right now? I am inspired by people’s stories so I read a lot of biographies — current reads include J.G. Ballard’s autobiography Miracles of Life (2013), Mike Wallace: A Life by Pete Rader (2012); My Bookstore by Ronald Rice (2012); but I really enjoyed Thessaly La Force and Jane Mount’s My Ideal Bookshelf (2012), an experiment about how a variety of successful people define their favorite books and how those books influenced and helped them find their way in the world. The illustrations were even more telling than the very short vignettes, but let’s conclude that “books can say a lot about who we are.” Also, The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries (2011); Gavin Newsome’s Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government (2013) about how communities can transform themselves with the powerful social media tools available today; and Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2012), are each recommended.
3. Describe ACRL in three words: Supportive, Engaging, Relevant.
4. Why do you value most about ACRL? Its advocacy role, the ability to learn from colleagues, be influenced by a range of leaders, and learn how to employ new strategies and technologies to help redefine our goals, operations and professional role.
5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? How to follow best practices in scholarly communication and be a good promoter and steward of research methods and scholarship; solve informational queries, teach research strategies and techniques, promote learning and discovery; and hopefully be a good colleague.
6. In your own words: We have chosen a very dynamic career, where the possibilities are constantly changing and the best directive or maxim appears to be “open to change,” and “not afraid of ambiguity and uncertainty.” We are fortunate to have opportunities to develop new ideas, applications and services and to often work with intellectually curious, creative, ambitious, self-directed and motivated users. We also get to test the limits of increasingly working under limited and varying resources to maximize the potential for richer diversity. Higher education is at a challenging nexus right now and defining how to generate the best value and provide this generation and our future ones the ability to learn, engage with and contribute to society is a privilege that my work and affiliating with ACRL helps allow.