Member of the Week: Carrie Donovan

Carrie DonovanCarrie Donovan is Head of Teaching and Learning at the Indiana University Herman B Wells Library in Bloomington, Indiana. Carrie has been an ACRL member since 2001 and is your ACRL member of the week for July 15, 2013.

1. Describe yourself in three words:  Lighthearted, Organized, Determined.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale — it’s this year’s selection for our community reading project, One Book One Bloomington, and I’m happily reminded of how much Margaret Atwood blew my mind when I read this book back in high school. Just one more reason to love Canada.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Research, Community, Supportive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? Connecting with other librarians who self-identify as teachers; being part of an organization that supports, celebrates, and engages in debate about the role of librarians as educators; participating in opportunities to research, publish, and present on topics that I’m passionate about; reuniting with friends and meeting new colleagues through conferences and events.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I coordinate the IU Libraries information literacy initiatives, so my work is really about situating the libraries at the center of students’ experiences, development, and learning. I am the continual reminder to colleagues both in and beyond the libraries that we are all part of a learning organization and the libraries are central to that purpose.

6. In your own words: Librarianship is so full of interesting niches that it can be difficult to find the right one, but once you do — everything just makes sense, like when Dorothy clicks those ruby shoes together! Similar to the way that information literacy makes me wake up nervous, excited, and full of butterflies because teaching is my Everest, I have colleagues who go crazy for rare books or data visualization — because that’s what lights their fire. I really feel like it’s that combined sense of devotion and enthusiasm we all share that makes librarianship more than a job, but a craft.

So, that must be the secret: to find the thing that is YOUR thing, but then make sure it’s challenging and stupefying and troublesome and fun and varied enough to incite a mini-riot in your brain every day as you work at it. And then be willing for it to change and (most of all!) be open to letting it change you – that’s the magic of librarianship. I feel so lucky to be in a profession that encourages and expects this kind of personal growth and intellectual development.

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.