Member of the Week: Steve Brantley

Steve BrantleySteve Brantley is Head of Reference Services at the Eastern Illinois University Booth Library in Charleston, Illinois. Steve has been an ACRL member since 2005 and is your ACRL member of the week for February 24, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Thoughtful, analytical, irreverent.

2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am always reading or listening to a bunch of things, but at the moment in my book bag and on my shelf are David Brin’s Existence, Cory Doctorow’s Pirate Cinema, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Managing in the Middle, edited by Farrel and Schlesinger, and I am attempting to read (for probably the sixth time in my life) Tristram Shandy.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Progressive, leading-edge, comprehensive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL is an invaluable to me for a lot of reasons, among them as a way to connect with peers across the country, as a resource for continual professional development, a rich source to mine for practical and research ideas, and as an outlet to present and publish my own research.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I am a vigilant champion of the library and its human and information resources on my campus and I seek to promote and enhance our mission in as many ways as I can. I am always seeking ways to increase my connections with students and faculty so that the rich support we provide will be recognized, utilized and valued by every member of the campus community. On a more individual scale, I work to open up the wealth of knowledge available to the students I help and I try to impart to them the importance of rigorous inquiry into whatever they are studying. I help them to push through the tendency to stop their information seeking after only scratching the open-Web surface of their topics. When working with faculty researchers I strive to help them enhance and more fully inform their research with resources they are often not aware of.

6. In your own words: What attracted me to academic librarianship in the first place, way back in the heady days of Gopher, ftp and DIALOG, was that I wanted to acquire the expertise to find anything and everything I wanted in the seemingly infinite universe of knowledge of the academic library. What I have come to value above that selfish desire is the importance of what we do to educate our citizenry and facilitate the discovery and creation of knowledge. I take enormous pride in being a member of the dedicated professionals who acquire, manage, describe, preserve, facilitate the discovery of, and create knowledge. I would also add that as a public services librarian I find it deeply gratifying to be able to help a student find the information that opens their eyes to a new way of understanding their world.

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.