ACRL Member of the Week: Geoff Johnson

Geoff Johnson is a graduate teaching and learning librarian at Auraria Library in Denver, CO. Geoff has been a member of ACRL for 7 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for February 16, 2021.

Describe yourself in three words: Probably overthinking it.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Too much news and doom scrolling. The common read on campus is Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. The stories are extremely good and they take place in Denver and other parts of Colorado where I’ve spent time. I want to get into a bread-baking rhythm for the winter, so I’m working my way through Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson. As far as listening, I’m desperately awaiting the fifth installment on the Asia-Pacific War from Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast.

Describe ACRL in three words: Connections, learning, recognition.

What do you value about ACRL? In my first job as an instruction librarian, I was the only instruction librarian in a really small library at a geographically-isolated school. Through ACRL, I was able to stay connected and communicate with other instruction librarians. It really helped me find my way.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I’m an instruction librarian in a relatively large department, and throughout the pandemic, we’ve all been working from home. It’s been interesting to take a long look at what one-shot instruction looks like in a totally different context. I think we do a great job of problematizing or complicating concepts and issues people are often tempted to oversimplify (Show students where to find the “good stuff.” How do you avoid this new fake news thing?), while at the same time offering a path forward and individual help if folks want that.

In your own words: Listen to students! Make space for them to tell you what they need. Make space for them to help each other. Be suspicious of anyone who tells you what students or what “the campus” wants but didn’t ask. As an instruction librarian, the best sessions I ever lead are the ones when I don’t have time to get to any of the things I’ve planned because we never make it out of Q&A.

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.