Circle of Friends: W. Bede Mitchell

The ACRL Circle of Friends acknowledges the sustained generosity of those who have been Friends of ACRL for five or more years. The Friends of ACRL was created to provide a means for the association to take bold steps above and beyond its traditional member programs and services. Rapidly changing demographic, economic, and technological trends are presenting academic libraries and librarians with new challenges and competition that demand immediate solutions. The Friends of ACRL have responded to these new challenges and provided additional support that will enhance and ensure the relevance of our profession. To join or learn more about the Friends of ACRL, please visit the ACRL website.

W. Bede Mitchell is Dean of the Library  at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia,  served on the ACRL Board of Directors from 2002-2006, and has been a Friend of ACRL since 2002.

1. Describe yourself in three words:  Bedecked, Bedeviled, Bede-azzled.

2. Why do you support the Friends of ACRL? ACRL provides an incredible amount of leadership and support, but it is not feasible to sustain the high quality of that work through member dues alone. Gifts to the Friends of ACRL make a significant difference to ACRL programs, and therefore make a significant difference to me as an academic librarian. And it is all about me!

3. What might someone be surprised to know about you?  I’m not really named for the Venerable Bede. I’m told by those in a position to know that I’m named for my grandfather, the first W. Bede Mitchell in the family.

4. Since you’ve become a member of ACRL, tell us about someone who influenced you in some way? James Neal has always epitomized for me the very best in academic library leadership. He is such an knowledgeable, articulate, and persuasive advocate for libraries, and he is a very generous colleague to boot.

5. What do you hope ACRL will achieve in the near future (or the long term)? Sufficient financial stability so the staff can be compensated at a level commensurate with their considerable contributions to our profession. Of course, this is an ALA-wide problem.

6. In your opinion, what is the most important work that ACRL does? ACRL is the best place for academic librarians from large and small institutions to network, share and adapt best practices and creative ideas, and to exercise strength in numbers. Through our work together in ACRL, academic librarians speak with a powerful and influential voice.