Member of the Week: Zara Wilkinson

Zara WilkinsonZara Wilkinson is Reference/Instruction Librarian at the Rutgers University Paul Robeson Library in Camden, New Jersey. Zara has been an ACRL member since 2012 and is your ACRL member of the week for May 19, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Forward looking librarian.

2. What are you currently reading? I’m a big fan of science fiction and fantasy. I just finished The Returned by Jason Mott and am about to start China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Staying professionally connected.

4. What do you value about ACRL? As a relatively new academic librarian, I value the opportunity to interact with librarians from colleges and universities all over the country.  I am still learning my profession and still learning how I can best contribute to my profession, and for me that is an exciting combination.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a reference librarian, I provide undergraduate and graduate students with personalized research assistance. As an instruction librarian, I show courses the tools available to them and highlight resources relevant to their assignments. As an outreach librarian, I seek to show everyone that the library is a non-threatening, supportive presence on campus. As a liaison librarian, I make sure the faculty members in my liaison departments have access to the materials that will support their own research as well as their teaching.

6. In your own words:  If you ask me why I became a librarian, I might tell you about the students who hover three feet away from the reference desk, trying to decide if they should take the plunge and admit they don’t know how to find what they need. I might tell you about the English class that applauded when they found out about Refworks. I might even tell you about the first semester graduate student who sat down to tell me his troubles–but left with a handful of citations, feeling just a tiny bit less overwhelmed.  I would tell you how librarians can improve the academic lives of our students and the work lives of our fellow faculty members.

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.