Member of the Week: Laura Saunders

Laura SaundersLaura Saunders is Assistant Professor in the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Boston. Laura has been an ACRL member since 2007  and is your ACRL member of the week for June 9, 2014.

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

2. What are you currently reading?  I’m currently reading a great non-fiction book called The Half-Life of Facts, which explains the rate at which knowledge is changing in different fields.  I’m intrigued by this because I think it has some interesting implications for information literacy.  And, although I haven’t actually started it yet, I finally got my hands on a copy of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s book The Prisoner of Heaven.  I read The Shadow of the Wind several years ago and absolutely loved it, so I am very excited to read the further adventures of Daniel Sempre!

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Professional, Supportive, Educators.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I see ACRL as one of my main pipelines to the profession.  I draw on its standards, guidelines, forums, etc., constantly to keep informed about what is going on in the field, and I share these resources with my students.  The ACRL standards – such as the information literacy standards or proficiencies for instruction librarians – often form a framework for my research and teaching.  Finally, the ACRL conference is one of my all-time favorite conferences.  I look forward to it every two years, and always come back feeling energized!

5. What do you as an LIS educator contribute to your campus? Within my own department, I try to strike a balance between theory and practice.  While I definitely spend time in all of my classes examining relevant theoretical and philosophical perspectives on content, I also try to be sure to demonstrate how these theories are reflected in practice.  I always try to remember that I am working with future professionals, and I want them to see and understand the connections between the theories that form the foundation of our field and the day-to-day activities that they will engage in as practitioners.  On the wider campus, I like to think that I bring a library perspective to the conversation.  When meeting with faculty, staff, and students across campus, I can often be the person who reminds others of

6. In your own words:  Being a librarian was the best job I ever had, second only to being a library educator.  I feel very lucky to be able to work with up and coming students, to discuss the current issues and challenges of the field with them, and to watch as they grow into full-fledged professionals.  I also love being able to make contributions to the field through my research and publications.  I hope that through all of these activities I can give a little bit back to the field.

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.