Carissa Tomlinson is the director of student experience, learning, and outreach at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Carissa has been a member of ACRL for 9 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for October 18, 2021.
Describe yourself in three words: Curious, advocate, collaborative.
What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m a podcast fan. My favorites are Hidden Brain, The Daily from NYT, and Consider This. I find myself seeking to understand the world around me and why people do what they do and these podcasts support this curiosity.
Describe ACRL in three words: Connection, learning, opportunities.
What do you value about ACRL? Over my career I have held many different roles and I always looked to ACRL to help me understand best practices, gain ideas, and grow my expertise. I have attended every ACRL conference since 2009 and have found these experiences wonderful ways to meet others in similar roles as well as learn and contribute through excellent programs. I also have taken advantage of learning and contributing through a number of ACRL groups such as the Instruction Section and the Science and Technology Section. Because I found these groups so useful, when I had new responsibilities that I didn’t see a distinct group for, I started two groups in ACRL, the Health Sciences Interest Group, and the First Year Experience Discussion Group.
What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As the Director of Student Experience, Learning, & Outreach I focus on student success through library outreach, teaching, and the user experience. As a Director, my job is to make connections across campus and draw on the expertise of my amazing staff in order to lead and oversee the library strategy for learning and outreach to students. I work to advocate for services and resources that bolster student success while also supporting my staff in their important roles. Plus, I get to do the fun things like spin the prize wheel at orientation and march in the Homecoming parade!
In your own words: The best thing about being an academic librarian is that you can try on so many different hats. I’ve had jobs where I was an expert for learning technologies, another where I was the expert in health science resources, another where I got to work with campus partners on student success. There are so many different kinds of academic/research librarian roles and responsibilities, it’s possible to try lots of different kinds of jobs without ever leaving the profession.
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