Member of the Week: Andy Rutkowski

Andy RutkowskiAndy Rutkowski is Interdisciplinary GIS Library Fellow at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Andy has been an ACRL member since 2013 and is your ACRL member of the week for October 27, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Seek. Listen. Share.

2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I have been slowly going through Richard Pryor’s entire catalog of stand-up comedy. Eamon Tewell’s observations in “What Stand-Up Comedians Teach Us about Library Instruction” have been really interesting in this context. Comedy can provide a creative breakthrough that connects us with a student or a class and, oftentimes, it has the power to put a mirror up to complex social problems with only a turn of a phrase.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Engaged library community

4. What do you value about ACRL? That it provides a collaborative framework for librarians to exchange and develop new ideas.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I want to encourage and promote spatial thinking and methods across academic disciplines regardless of skill level or background. How can a map change your understanding of a problem? How can the process of making a map or visualizing a problem spatially help researchers discover new questions or perspectives? Through these interactions with students and faculty I not only want to connect them to the resources that they need, but also create that moment of – “wow, I just learned something and now I want to go out and teach it to someone else.”

6. In your own words: Serendipity has been a buzzword within libraries for years. My journey almost reads like Walpole’s words to Mann, “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.” My first boss and mentor back at New York University, Patricia Warrington, was one of my “sages.” At the time I was content to just work in course reserves, but her encouragement then (and over the years) opened up my eyes to other possibilities within academic librarianship and helped to put me on the path that I am on today.

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.