75th Anniversary Scholarship Recipient: Erin Leach

As part of the celebration of ACRL’s 75th Anniversary, we’ve asked the ACRL 75th Anniversary scholarship recipients to describe the impact of attending the ACRL 2015 Conference on their professional life and/or their library.

Leach, ErinErin Leach is the Head of Serials Cataloging at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.

“ACRL 2015 was inspiring and (dare I say it?) transformative for me. As someone in technical services in an academic library, I have memberships in both ACRL and ALCTS. I spend a lot of time developing the ‘technical services’ side of myself, but I haven’t worked as hard at cultivated the academic librarian side. I applied for the mid-career scholarship because my meager professional development funds are tied up in attending the ALA Midwinter and Annual Conferences. I am Chair of the Continuing Resources Section of ALCTS and that leadership role means that I am obligated to attend the conferences in person. Without the scholarship, I would not have been able to attend ACRL.

Building relationships with my reference and instruction-oriented colleagues is something I feel passionate about. To that end, I attended sessions that raised issues of importance to my public services colleagues. I attended programs on diversity in academic librarianship, developing mentoring programs, and assessment. I learned so much about academic librarianship as a whole. It was rewarding to be able to more fully understand the importance of academic libraries to the research community.

Most importantly, the size of this conference meant that I had the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the country. I talked with people about the challenges we face as academic librarians and the amazing things we’re doing at our respective institutions. I especially enjoyed getting to speak with reference and instruction librarians about the challenges they face with regards to searching and the catalog. It was rewarding to be able to offer potential solutions to these challenges. It feels nice to start a conversation about collaboration and working together to solve problems that affect reference and technical services librarians.

I returned to my library with a renewed enthusiasm and sense of purpose. I have been sharing what I’ve learned with my colleagues and I’m eagerly anticipating the ACRL 2017 conference!”