ACRL Member of the Week: Nancy Gibson

Nancy Gibson

Nancy Gibson is a social sciences librarian at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. Nancy has been a member of ACRL for 17 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for February 22, 2021.

Describe yourself in three words: Adventurous, pragmatic, collaborative.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m currently reading Slow Teaching: On Finding Calm, Clarity and Impact in the Classroom by Jamie Thom for an upcoming discussion. I’ve also been reading Daring to Lead by Brene Brown and Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston. I think it’s fascinating how well fiction and non-fiction can complement each other, especially as seemingly unconnected as they might be.

Describe ACRL in three words: Expanding knowledge networks.

What do you value about ACRL? I value the opportunities to stretch, contribute, and grow. A year and a half ago, I answered an urgent call from an interest group that would be disbanded if no one stepped forward. While I am no expert in the group’s field, I didn’t need to be. I had been a committee chair and leader in a couple of sections, and I could bring those skills, knowledge, and dedication to the group. I was able to provide a much-needed link while learning so much from past and future conveners who had the expertise and background.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? Although our university has purposefully grown, we try to preserve the ethos of a smaller, friendly university where the buck stops here. If a student or someone has a question that we can’t answer, we’ll connect them to the unit that can, either virtually or physically. We always let them know they can come back to us if they get disconnected or need more assistance. Because we have many working adult and non-traditional students, sometimes this means hopping on Zoom on a Sunday evening to get the person jump-started on finding research for their assignment

In your own words: As a librarian for more than fifteen years, I have served as a liaison to ten departments and provided instruction in twenty-three subject areas on-ground and online. We’ve done a fair amount of cross-training over the years, often by necessity due to large classes in some subject areas, and as a result, we’re fairly versatile. We’ve also grown and seen some of the commonalities of research in the different disciplines. I’ve also had a chance to mentor a few of our newer librarians since I’ve provided instruction in their subject areas. Simultaneously, the questions they ask help me keep fresh eyes and perspectives on library and university operations. As I advance in my own professional development, I’m always keeping an eye out for new opportunities to grow and contribute.

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 for more information.