ACRL Member of the Week: Kari D. Weaver

Kari D. Weaver is a learning, teaching, and instructional design librarian at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. Kari has been a member of ACRL for 16 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for October 3, 2022.

Describe yourself in three words: Curious, thoughtful, resourceful.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I always joke that I haven’t touched a book for my professional work in many years (outside of the ALA Publication Manual, 7th Edition), so my reading is purely for pleasure. I’m almost finished with It’s the End of the World and I’m in my Bathing Suit by justin a. reynolds, the perfect humorous book for you if you also dread laundry as a chore, and just started Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston, the second title in the Amari series. I also love books on off-beat topics. On demand, I can happily give you the entire history of bananas and how they come to be on your kitchen counter, or the development of shipping containers, or modern toilets. Related to this interest, I’ve finally started Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape our Man-Made Word by Mark Miodownik, which has long been recommended to me as a title I would love.

Describe ACRL in three words: Growth, support, connection.

What do you value about ACRL? I have been an ACRL member for many years and was recently honored to be elected as the ACRL WGSS Vice Chair/Chair Elect. ACRL has been with me as I have built my career – providing opportunity for connections with other librarians as well as venues for sharing my scholarship, shared learning through formal mentoring programs, and guidance on effective strategies and approaches to new areas of my portfolio as I’ve grown. Though I’ve been involved in various ACRL sections over the years, I’ve really found a home in WGSS, which has always been supportive, engaging, and fun (like our online pandemic membership social of Drag Queen Bingo)! While all of ACRL has also been working on issues of DEI over the past few years, WGSS has long had an articulated research agenda in this area and hosts a dedicated poster session at ALA Annual that is a great opportunity for librarians to share works in progress or practical approaches to integrating DEI into their work in addition to more intensive research studies. As a personal example, I was lucky enough to present a poster with a colleague a few years ago on how we used dramatic skits as a pedagogical tool to address issues of gender and systemic racism in a one-shot session. WGSS has provided me with the chance to develop my leadership skills, research and dissemination opportunities, and a really supportive and accessible way to engage in professional service. For anyone starting out who finds ACRL to be a little intimidating, as I know I did early in my career, finding a section where you feel welcomed and included is essential.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I provide leadership and direction for all the educational work of our library across learning modalities. This ranges from mentoring librarians in teaching and learning to providing content and design review for online learning objects to instructional assessment to participating in campus-wide initiatives like strategic planning or the development of our forthcoming Digital Learning Strategy. As librarians, I believe teaching is the best outreach and marketing tool we have to foster engagement, highlight our expertise with information in all forms, and prepare members of our communities for current and future global challenges.

In your own words: Whenever people ask me what libraries are in this modern age, I say they’re stuff (collections) and space + people and expertise. When most of society thinks of the library, they only consider the first two. My personal mission is helping others understand how valuable our people and our specific expertise are in a world where information is at the core of every social, career, and cultural moment individuals experience throughout their lives. I keep finding the energy to do this work, even when it is hard, because my life has been so positively impacted by my decision to become an academic librarian. I’ve had opportunities to travel and present my scholarship, have made deep, enduring adult friends, and even the chance to immigrate to Canada and become a dual US/Canadian citizen all as direct impacts of becoming an academic librarian. If that isn’t an advertisement for librarianship as a career path, I don’t know what is!

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!