Editor’s note: April is Community College Month, and all month we are featuring community college librarians as the ACRL Member of the Week to celebrate!
Jennifer Arnold is the director of library services at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC. Jennifer has been a member of ACRL for 11 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for April 18, 2022.
Describe yourself in three words: Optimistic, resourceful, generous.
What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I recently finished Klara and the Sun by one of my all-time favorite authors, Kazuo Ishiguro. I’m also re-reading several of my childhood favorites with my kids, including Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth and E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Non-fiction wise, I found Anand Giridharadas’s Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World and Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger eye-opening recent reads.
Describe ACRL in three words: Rewarding, community-building, educational.
What do you value about ACRL? I really value the opportunities I have had with ACRL to serve the larger community of librarianship and to build relationships with librarians at institutions both like and unlike my own. I am currently the chair of the Project Outcome for Academic Libraries Editorial Board, and started my work with Project Outcome on the original task force that worked to launch the academic version of the assessment toolkit. It’s been truly rewarding to see the toolkit and surveys come to life and be used as actionable data in a wide variety of academic libraries, and fun to have the chance to talk with a lot of different librarians about how to incorporate Project Outcome into their assessment activities.
What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As the Director of Library Services at Central Piedmont Community College, I work to make sure that our library staff has what they need to be successful in their roles (budgets, staffing, training, etc). I help position the library to be a central support in the college’s student success efforts and to ensure that the library is a welcoming place for all our students. Really, my days can involve anything from assessment reporting to communication to project management to addressing faculty and student concerns, and everything in between! One current project that I’m proud of is leading an initiative to improve the visibility and usage of our lactation spaces and family-friendly study rooms to better support our student parents, as well as our faculty and staff.
In your own words: I have been a community college librarian for 18 years, and three years ago I went back to grad school to earn a Masters in Public Administration. In focusing on the concepts of public trust, social justice, and participatory governance in my MPA thesis, I reaffirmed my commitment to the contributions community colleges and their libraries make to help build and strengthen the communities they serve. Community college librarianship is definitely where I found my career home, and I hope that more people learn about the importance and value of community colleges.
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!