Member of the Week: Julie Kane

Julie KaneJulie Kane is Director of Digital Teaching and Learning / Digital Pedagogies Librarian at Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Virginia. Julie has been an ACRL member since 2008 and is your ACRL member of the week for September 8, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, enthusiastic, lucky.

2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile device)?  Like many of us, I always seem to have a number of things going at once. I’m currently pursuing a master’s in English, so this one has to do with my degree, and it’s part of a great series of Pickering and Chatto Women’s Novels I’m studying: The Victim of Fancy by Elizabeth Sophia Tomlins. For fun I’m reading Mannequin Girl by Ellen Litman; and when I get a chance to get out walking I’m listening to Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Community, resource, mentorship.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value an area within ALA where I feel a vast support network within and among college and university librarians. ALA is of course enormous, which is both amazing and overwhelming; there are times to be reminded that our subdivision of academic librarianship can be overwhelmingly diverse, as well, and I think ACRL does a phenomenal job of both putting us in touch with librarians across our academic universe and helping us find those closer to our realm.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? This is something I find myself asking routinely, as my position has changed dramatically over the last year or so and I’ve been sort of poking my head into new areas all over campus. After about six years as the Head of Technical Services, I’m now the Director of Digital Teaching and Learning/Digital Pedagogies Librarian. Right now, my primary focus is directing our ePortfolio program, which touches a lot of things: I work with Co-Curricular life and our advising program to make sure that all incoming first-years complete a personal essay in ePortfolio for their academic advisors, ePortfolio is now completely integrated into our college-wide writing assessment; we use it in our Y:1 program for critical thinking assessment; our Honors program launched an ePortfolio contest this semester — and this is all within our first full year rollout of ePortfolio. It’s been a busy first year, and I see more integration on the horizon.

I’m hoping to roll more digital humanities work into my position; my intention is to support the faculty and students in whatever projects they would like to launch. I’m lucky to have the chance lately to work with faculty, students, and staff from all areas of campus, and to be involved in discussions relating to curriculum changes. It’s all been challenging and incredibly exhilarating.

6. In your own words:  I love that my career has taken me in directions I never could have anticipated, and I hope that will always remain true. I have a faculty colleague who jokingly refers to me as a “recovering librarian,” I think mainly because what I do mostly is outside the building and traditional headspace of the library, but this is one particular evolution of a librarian. I am an academic librarian. I’m not sure I would have pursued an interest in SQL without a basis in MARC. I wouldn’t be as giddy about TEI as I am without a love of cataloging as my background and a thorough love of literature at my core.

I wouldn’t say that I am recovering so much as evolving. We are all on trajectories of one sort or another; I cannot emphasize enough that I love the fact that I have the flexibility and support at my institution to pursue my interests that align with interests and goals of faculty and educational mission of the institution so that I may flourish. I think that that is the best attribute of the life of an academic librarian: the freedom to continue to learn on the job.

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.