Member of the Week: Heidi Elaine Dowding

Heidi Elaine DowdingHeidi Elaine Dowding is Digitization Centre Manager at the Nazarbayev University Library in Astana, Kazakhstan. Heidi has been an ACRL member since 2012 and is your ACRL member of the week for July 22, 2013.

1. Describe yourself in three words:  Innovative, Curious, Passionate.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently reading Uncensored by Eric Ries and Hunter Walk.  It was a free download when I became a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and I’m using the Readmill app on my iPad to read it.  It’s a great collection of materials originally published as blog posts or even Google+ updates, covering a spectrum of digital age topics.  I’ll be posting a review of the book on my own blog when I finish.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Dynamic, Invaluable, Inquiring.

4. What do you value about ACRL? As an international librarian, I value the ability to connect in many different ways.  I use a lot of the toolkits provided through the ACRL website as I establish best practices in my office, I use ACRL’s monthly publication to keep up on current LIS research, and I just volunteered for a 2013-2014 committee appointment.  Even though there aren’t many library associations or networking opportunities in Kazakhstan, I still feel connected.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a digital librarian working to make ebooks and electronic resources more widely available on campus, I contribute greater levels of access to faculty and students.  There are often procurement issues in getting physical books from the U.S. or U.K. to our library, so my office, the Digital Centre, plays a pivotal role in getting the books that are needed for courses and research.

6. In your own words: Librarians are in a unique position as the connectivity of technology changes the way that societies access knowledge.  We’re needed more than ever before.  At my job in Kazakhstan, we’re establishing practices that will resonate throughout the entire country, affecting how other university and public libraries gather, preserve, and disseminate information.  Our ability to teach others the importance of access to knowledge is paramount.

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.