ACRL Member of the Week: Jane Nichols

Jane Nichols is the head of the teaching and engagement department at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Jane has been a member of ACRL for 20 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for May 24, 2021.

Describe yourself in three words: Optimistic, curious, fun-loving.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently reading Tillie Walden’s graphic novel, On A Sunbeam, which I learned about from serving on the YALSA Outstanding Books for the College Bound committee. Since we started working from home I’ve been listening to podcasts like Curiosity Daily, Hear to Slay, and On Being with Krista Tippett. At work we are reading and discussing in small groups How To Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi which has been an enriching way to grow together at work while deepening our understandings of becoming antiracist.

Describe ACRL in three words: Community, learning, supportive.

What do you value about ACRL? I value connecting with and learning from colleagues from all over as well as the rich variety of professional development and engagement opportunities that ACRL offers. Through service activities with the Women and Gender Studies Section, the University Libraries Section, and the Student Learning & Information Literacy Committee, I have made career-long connections and grown professionally. I also appreciate ACRL’s willingness to learn and grow as an organization; reflecting changes we want to see in the profession overall.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I currently serve as the Head of the Teaching & Engagement Department at Oregon State University Libraries & Press where I have worked in various roles since 2003. My colleagues and I provide instruction and outreach and other liaison services to the OSU community. During the pandemic, we have been working remotely to support student and faculty information needs, helping them get materials, and use the library and its services safely. I also liaise with our Undergrad Research and Writing Studio and contribute to its training program. Working at a predominately white campus, I value our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion and am on a path, with my colleagues, towards becoming anti-racist in our teaching and across our work.

In your own words: While my daily work, like so many others, has changed over the years, what has remained steadfast is a commitment to values such as creating a culture of care among colleagues and for users. This extends to doing the work needed to live up to the values of equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and anti-racism. I’m inspired daily by colleagues working in this space and embrace the changes that will come as we as a profession endeavor to live out these values.


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 mpetrowski@ala.org for more information.