ACRL Member of the Week: Diane H. Dias De Fazio

Diane H. Dias De Fazio is Special Collections Associate in Grasselli Library, John Carroll University at University Heights, OH. Diane has been a member of ACRL for 10 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for April 29, 2024.

Describe yourself in three words: Patient, grateful, organized.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? For the first time in truly a long while, I’ve got a lot on my desk! When I’m not reading submissions and revised drafts for RBM, I’m reading several books in the Object Lessons series: Shopping Mall, Bookshelf, Hotel, Souvenir, Phone Booth, and Glass. I’m also working on a bit of a research project, so I’m rereading some technical texts on escalators (but that’s another story for another time). My favorite podcast is Today, Explained, but I recently listened to Bright Lit Place (from Jenny Staletovich and WLRN) and Ghost Herd (from KUOW’s Anna King), both of which I loved. I’m also growing fond of Kelly Corrigan Wonders. I know this is not the question, but, usually there’s one of the following on in the background: Michigan Public, OPB, KUOW, WLRN, or Q104.3 (I’m still a New Yorker at heart).

Describe ACRL in three words: Essential, inspiring, community.

What prompted you as a student to join ACRL? I was in a rare books class, and the instructor asked if any of us were “going to [the] RBMS [conference].” Nobody raised their hand, so I thought, “Well, then, I’m going!” I joined ACRL with a similar impetus: because, since I was raised with old-school working-class values and with the belief that professional organizations would help me grow, find community, and further my career, I knew I needed to get involved in my profession’s organization. Even though I was still a student, I’d already come to the realization that special collections were where I was most qualified and at home, so joining ACRL and RBMS seemed like a natural (if initially intimidating) fit. The fact that I have consistently been fortunate enough to serve on RBMS committees has kept me coming back to renew my membership, year after year.

What are your career goals? How might ACRL help you achieve those goals? Wow, this is fun. I’ve never been asked a question like that in front of such a large audience!

If you’d asked 21-year-old Diane, I would have muttered something about showcasing the stories of everyday humans through global history. —But that was, shall we say, in the Before Times, and, I think, a lot of us realized, during the pandemic (four years and counting) that we can make plans all we want, but . . . things change. It’s kind of funny, though; I realized recently that I always enjoyed being in school, so finding myself in academic and research libraries is, ultimately, somewhat fitting. I find the whole concept of higher education noble and inspiring, and I am energized by the excitement and curiosity of every single student. I hope to remain at my current institution for a long while. At this point, my career goals are pretty low-key: stability, rewarding and interesting work, and an adjustable desk that has access to natural light. ACRL shares my values in terms of diversity, and for professional excellence. Broadly, as Editor for RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, I hope to be able to provide a platform for change. Beyond that, I hope to continue working to inspire others.

ACRL gave me an entree to networks of incredible people around the world, and opportunities to showcase my interpersonal, analytical, and collaborative skills. Other than keeping that up, ACRL can advocate for the cessation of term and contract positions—and establishment of better early-career options—across the field and call for living wage standards in academic and research libraries.

In your own words: This prompt is a member’s opportunity to make “an open-ended statement” or reflect on “life as an academic/research librarian,” either one of which can be a loaded task. It’s as flattering and exciting as you can imagine, to get the email, telling you that ACRL wants to feature you as MOTW. For years, I read these interviews and cheered for RBMS and other colleagues; I know I could’ve always self-nominated, so this recognition is deeply meaningful. Coming at what I hope is still the beginning of my career, I can only steal someone else’s words and “assure you that I will strive to be worthy of all it signifies.” My words to everyone out there are: yes, there are zine- and artist’s-books-loving librarians out there, librarians who didn’t master Latin or Old Greek, librarians who weren’t English majors, and librarians who come from working-class families, and we work in special collections! I’ve got your back. We have each other, and we are enough.

Editor’s Note: Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!