ACRL Member of the Week: Olga Koz

Olga Koz is College of Education Librarian at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA. Olga has been a member of ACRL for 5 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for July 8, 2024.

Describe yourself in three words: Researcher, innovator, teacher.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? As a graduate faculty member teaching during the summer, I mostly read students’ dissertation proposals and literature reviews. I am looking forward to my vacation to read Jenny Erpenbeck’s Kairos.

Describe ACRL in three words: Communication, connections, collaboration.

What do you value about ACRL? In the early stages of my career, the ACRL supported my professional development. Currently, I value the opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise with other academic librarians. I serve as a member of the Research and Scholarly Environment Committee and the newly created ACRL AI Competencies for Library Workers Task Force.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As I prepared for my promotion, I contacted faculty, students, researchers, and colleagues to gauge my impact and added value. One response from the faculty underscores the effect of my work, “I didn’t know that librarians can do that.” At my current university, from the beginning, I offered an embedded and on-site librarian service model that led to collaboration with the college faculty and administration in collection development, co-teaching, and building the college research infrastructure. This model allows the college to graduate more doctoral students and increase the productivity of their research teams, which played an essential role in gaining R2 status for the whole university.

One of my main contributions is teaching thesis and dissertation writers how to conduct a literature review. As you know, only a few universities offer such courses, and it took some time to move from the literature review “bootcamps” or a series of webinars to a credit course. Nothing can compare to the immediate gratification of “your” student defending the dissertation and acknowledging your role.

The most impactful inputs are the results of teamwork. Our team of graduate librarians not only built new services for graduate students but organized the first national conference, “ Transforming Libraries for Graduate Students.” I joined the college faculty in creating a community of practice for researchers, “Research Consortium,” and was fortunate to assist with many research endeavors. One such initiative was the creation of the Interactive Research Methods Lab, where I continue to serve as IRML librarian and methodologist. This is a novel library service model where an academic librarian is embedded into the research process and integrates library resources into each research step. Drs. Jorrin-Abellan and I were awarded first place and received the Sage Innovators Award for this innovation. The work in the lab allowed me to offer a new service, evidence synthesis support for research teams, and design tutorials and guides on using AI for literature discovery and review.

In your own words: All my professional life, I reinvented and reframed my role as a librarian, a researcher, and a teacher. I recommend finding a library that allows you to be creative and innovative and think beyond your job title or description. As a person who studies the adoption of emergent technologies in academia, I would encourage you to take risks, innovate, and learn in this AI era.

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