75th Anniversary Scholarship Donor: John A. Lehner

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.Lehner

John A. Lehner is associate dean for personnel, planning, and library systems at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. He served on the ACRL Board from 2008-2012 and is currently a member of the ACRL Budget and Finance Committee (2012-2016). He has been a Friend of ACRL since 2006.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Collegial critical thinker.

2. Why do you support the 75th ACRL Anniversary scholarship campaign? I support the 75th ACRL Anniversary scholarship campaign because I want to ensure the ongoing and future vitality of ACRL. I hope the scholarship fund will give new librarians the opportunity to engage with ACRL and experience the support and collegiality that the association offers. ACRL has given me tremendous opportunities for professional growth, as well as a terrific group of friends and colleagues. ACRL has a committed membership and a superb staff. I hope it will continue to be the leading organization for academic librarians for a very long time.

3. What might someone be surprised to know about you? I sort of overdid it in higher education. I hold 5 masters degrees and a J.D.

4. Since you’ve become a member of ACRL, tell us about someone who influenced you in some way. My boss, Dana C. Rooks, has been an important influence on me.  Dana, who incidentally served on the ACRL Board of Directors in years past, recruited me to the University of Houston Libraries 15 years ago. I initially declined the job offer from UH, but Dana spent an hour and half on the phone with me one evening, persuading me to come to UH and work for her. I gave in to her arguments and have since conceded to her that she was right, UH is where I was meant to be. Dana’s unflagging commitment to the UH Libraries and her passion for librarianship energize and inspire me every single day at work.

5. What do you hope ACRL will achieve in the next 75 years? I hope ACRL will continue to lead the way for academic librarians in the fast transforming environment of higher education. I believe ACRL’s articulated core values, including support of teaching and learning, intellectual freedom, diversity, and service to members are sustaining values that will keep the association at the forefront of our profession for years.

6. In your opinion, what is the most important work that ACRL does? I think ACRL’s most important work is supporting and developing academic librarians. ACRL has a key role not just in helping us be effective librarians, but in helping us to be contributing and influential participants in the larger higher education enterprise.