ACRL Member of the Week: Mallary Rawls

Mallary Rawls is a humanities librarian at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Mallary has been a member of ACRL for 2 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for March 21, 2022.

Describe yourself in three words: Assertive, committed, versatile.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently reading The Trouble with Passion: How Searching for Fulfillment at Work Fosters Inequality by Erin A. Cech and Sula by Toni Morrison. Morrison is so important to my life and my research and I’m thankful for her words and work everyday.

Describe ACRL in three words: Broad, connections, research.

What do you value about ACRL? One of my big takeaways from being an ACRL member is the broader connection and ability to connect with my colleagues in this profession. I’m learning more about joining ACRL groups, the opportunities that are available to join organizations, and to learn more about my areas of subject and academic librarianship. Learning about how other librarians, especially Humanities and Digital Humanities Librarians do and manage their work is something I’m very interested in and ACRL gives met the opportunity to see that work closely. Another thing I value and one of the reasons I’m involved with ACRL in the first place is my connection through the Residency Interest Group (RIG). Seeing other former and current diversity residents make their mark on this profession and seeing the profession (albeit slowly) change has been a joy so far in my career as an academic librarian.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I connect undergraduate and graduate students with resources and services that our library offers them. I work very closely with my academic departments and faculty to make sure they know what’s going on in the library and how our work affects their work. I work on policy within the library that makes it easier for us to work with students, faculty, and staff on campus. I share information with faculty and graduate students to share with undergraduate students about what we’re doing in the library that will hopefully make their work and research easier and more accessible. I also work very closely with the Digital Humanities Librarian and our Instruction and Reference Librarian to make sure we’re reaching out to as many students as possible so that they understand what we’re doing to make research more accessible. I’m a big advocate for Black, Indigenous, Asian, and POC students on campus, especially when it comes to collection development and making sure our collections reflect our campus. I also push for uncomfortable, yet honest conversations in our library about race, gender, privilege, and identity and how that affects our relationship and work with one another and with students, faculty, and staff.

In your own words: I started my library career as an archive assistant, moved to working as a children’s librarian at a public library, then transitioned to working as a diversity resident librarian. Now I’m in the position that I’m in (Humanities Librarian) and I take with me all of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Echoing the words of my colleague and another ACRL Member of the Week, Jessica Dai, when she talks about being a “bad librarian” in the way that Fobazi Ettarh talks and writes about. I’m many things outside of being a librarian and I want my life to center those other identities such as a mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter, etc. I want my work to be the work I do while I’m working and when I’m done I pursue the other things that make life worthwhile and that includes rest. I recognize that I’m fortunate because I’ve got a great supervisor who trusts me, I’m able to work from home, and I’m able to have the flexibility I need in my schedule to still have the space and capacity to parent my children. I want to work to make sure others, especially folks who identify as BIPOC to also have that flexibility, including rest in their lives. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made along the way in librarianship and I value the lessons I learn from them as both colleagues and friends.

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!