75th Anniversary Scholarship Donor: Larry Hardesty

As part of the celebration of ACRL’s 75th Anniversary, we’ve launched a fundraising campaign to fund 75 scholarships for ACRL 2015. Over the course of the campaign, we’ll profile the ACRL 75th Anniversary scholarship donors and learn why they chose to support to the campaign. Hardesty

Larry Hardesty served as ACRL president from 1999-2000 and chaired the 2003 ACRL Conference Committee. Under his leadership, ACRL established the Excellence in Academic Libraries awards. In 2001, he received the association’s highest honor and was named the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Persistent, reliable, productive.

2. Why do you support the 75th ACRL Anniversary scholarship campaign? ACRL, both the membership and the staff, has been very supportive of me in my career in many ways. This is my way of “passing along” all this support I have received over the past thirty plus years. I think it particularly important to support newcomers to the profession and to help them establish a pattern of participation in ACRL.

3. What might someone be surprised to know about you? Outside of a few people, I think most people would be surprised to know that just about every leadership role I had in ACRL, ranging from my first committee chair in the College Libraries Section to serving as President of ACRL and chairing an ACRL Conference, I took on very reluctantly. This also includes, although not technically part of ACRL, my twenty plus years of leadership of the College Library Directors’ Program. Looking back, I am glad that people had confidence in me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I hope I lived up to their expectations.

4. Since you’ve become a member of ACRL, tell us about someone who influenced you in some way? There are so many people who influenced me in countless important ways.  I wished I could name them all, but since I cannot in the space allowed here, I hope they know who they are.  The singular person who influenced me most was Evan Farber.  Evan gave me numerous opportunities, and he provided a model which I strived to emulate but never came close to achieving.

5. What do you hope ACRL will achieve in the next 75 years? This is difficult to answer because I think no one probably could have predicted all the changes in academic libraries over the past 75 years. Nevertheless, I hope it continues to enhance its role as the professional organization for academic librarians. This includes establishing and promulgating standards, providing venues for professional development, and encouraging collaboration and cooperation with other professional organizations. ACRL must continue to work to ensure that individual members know that they are not alone and are part of a larger noble cause. And, most importantly, I hope ACRL successfully achieves the goal of helping future generations with all the opportunities and challenges changes will bring for them over the next 75 years.

6. In your opinion, what is the most important work that ACRL does? ACRL provides a professional voice for academic librarians through which we can talk both to each other within the profession and to those outside the profession.