ACRL Member of the Week: Rachael Elrod


Rachael Elrod is the director of the education library at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Rachael has been a member of ACRL for 11 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for November 8, 2021.

Describe yourself in three words: Calm, caring, hopeful.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I made a New Year’s Resolution to read 500 books this year. Mostly, but not all, picture books. I am constantly reading a different picture book almost every day. But currently, I am also reading GEORGE (or Melissa’s Story) by Alex Gino and brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

Describe ACRL in three words: Connected, motivating, friendly.

What do you value about ACRL? I truly value the professional connections that I have made! There are so many intelligent, kind, and giving people in this organization. I love knowing that I am supported by a network of other academic librarians, especially education librarians, throughout the country.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As the Director of the Education Library, I take pride in providing both traditional services such as instruction and world-class collection but also in providing emerging educational technologies such as 3D printing, 3D scanners, zSpace mixed reality computers, 360 cameras, and more in our EduGator Makery. As a liaison, I provide support for the teaching, learning, and service of the Education faculty and students at the University of Florida. I’m also passionate about diversity and representation in children’s and young adult literature and strive to maintain a collection in our library that represent the full spectrum of human experience.

In your own words: I love that as an academic librarian, I can assist patrons, teach classes, lead workshops, supervise a library, and delve into areas I am passionate about in my research. I am currently the PI on a recently awarded, 3-year IMLS grant called “Middle Grade and Young Adult Books with Black, Indigenous People, and People of Color: Where are They?” This grant will expand the Diverse BookFinder, created by librarians and researchers at Bates College, to include middle grade and young adult books featuring BIPOC characters. The Diverse BookFinder is an online, searchable catalog of picture books that allows users to search for books featuring BIPOC characters by HOW those characters are represented within the stories. It also includes a Collection Analysis Tool (CAT) that allows librarians to create an account and upload a list of ISBNs to generate a report of the diversity in their collections. We used this tool as a way of building an inclusive collection.


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!