ACRL Member of the Week: Bobby Reed

Bobby Reed

In honor of back-to-school season, we are dedicating September to featuring students and early career librarians as the Member of the Week! Interested in becoming a student member of ACRL for only $5 a year? Learn more here.

Bobby Reed is an emerging technologies librarian at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Bobby has been a member of ACRL for 2 years and is your ACRL member of the week for September 2, 2019.

Bobby Reed

Describe yourself in three words: Book-surrounded tinkerer.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? Currently catching up on the Freakonomics podcast on my commutes. Dubner’s insight always encourages me to think more creatively about my observation and analysis of the realities swirling around me. I’m also indulging in a re-read of one of my all time favorites, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. That narrative is always inspiring for an engineer without an engineering education like me. I would be remiss if I didn’t also plug last month’s highlights in my reading world: Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark is a MUST READ (I listened and would recommend the audio book) for all librarians that plan on sticking around the profession for the next ten years or more. Life 3.0 imagines the myriad of worlds that general AI may bring us and gives us soft guidance for preparing ourselves and our institutions. Infinity: Beyond The Beyond The Beyond by Lillian R. Lieber is a verse novel, I guess. In Infinity, Lieber explores — mostly through poetry and illustrations — the finicky relationship between the English and mathematic languages and the humans that look silly translating between.

Describe ACRL in three words: Innovative, educational, resource.

What prompted you as a student to join ACRL? I joined ACRL after picking a copy of the periodical up off of someone’s desk. After skimming and flipping around for a few minutes, I had already found a publication opportunity that fit my current research along with an article that was diving into a topic I was interested in but had not yet had any exposure to.

What are your career goals? How might ACRL help you achieve those goals? My career goal is singular: To increase access to technology. This has evolved over the years based on my reach. Once upon a time, my goal was simply to increase MY access to tech. Like many professionals, however, as my resources grew, my ambition to aid little humans like myself increased. ACRL — through its publications and conferences — provide a platform for gaining and disseminating the knowledge I need to pursue my goal. ACRL provides of network of individuals to share these goals in a relentless pursuit of a better tomorrow.

In your own words: Most importantly, librarianship is about people, information, and managing the relationship between the two. No book or new technology can replace staff and faculty wisdom. An impressive 3D print will never replace a well-handled reference conversation. Whether academic or public, all librarians have a duty to monitor the access paths to information and resources in our communities. At our best, we are not gatekeepers of the books and technologies. At our best, we are scholarly, absurdly-informed carnies calling out to the hordes of patrons and potential patrons saying, “Step right up! Get yer democratized access to information and production resources!”

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.