ACRL Member of the Week: Jeff Knapp

A photo of Jeff Knapp, a white man wearing black frame glasses and a white button-down shirt, talking at a microphone

Jeff Knapp is the Larry & Ellen Foster Librarian for Communications at Penn State University. Jeff has been a member of ACRL for 21 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for May 16, 2022.

A photo of Jeff Knapp, a white man wearing black frame glasses and a white button-down shirt, talking at a microphone

Describe yourself in three words: Interested, helpful, clownish.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’ve been a dedicated reader of The New Yorker for more than 20 years, as well as a daily reader of the New York Times and Washington Post, so that doesn’t leave time for much else. I read these to satisfy my curiosity about the world, and as Penn State’s liaison librarian for journalism, media studies, and other mass communications disciplines, it informs my librarianship.

Describe ACRL in three words: Networks, friendships, ideas.

What do you value about ACRL? Although all librarians have common experiences and concerns, academic librarians have some unique ones, so it’s important for us to have a connection to others. I have met and worked with some amazing librarians through ACRL over the years–with a special shout out to the Communication Studies Committee of EBSS!

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? What I try to contribute is a sense of connection. Especially at large research universities, it’s easy for students and faculty to retreat into their own familiar bubbles. I try to be a presence who is familiar enough that people will feel comfortable reaching out for help finding information resources, people, services, …whatever. In an age where it’s easy for people to assume that information just sprouts from the internet, it’s important to have people who understand how the sausage is made, so to speak.

In your own words: As a refugee from the corporate world, I took a leap of faith enrolling in library school over 20 years ago, never having worked in a library. Although I have had my share of gripes about our profession, there’s still no other job I’d rather have. Whenever I’m asked why I chose librarianship, my answer is “I like helping people and I’m interested in everything.” Our profession is an important and honorable one, and I’m proud to be a part of it.


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