ACRL Member of the Week: Rachel Makarowski

Rachel Makarowski is Special Collections Librarian in Miami University at Oxford, OH. Rachel has been a member of ACRL for 8 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for April 22, 2024.

Describe yourself in three words: Approachable, enthusiastic, collaborative.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Describe ACRL in three words: Interdisciplinary, community, practical.

What do you value about ACRL? The Rare Book and Manuscript Section of ACRL! RBMS is such a welcoming community and I always walk away from their annual conference inspired by all the attendees and presenters. It is so easy to find ways to get involved and to find mentors; I would not be where I am today without the amazing members of RBMS and ACRL. The community there is a large part of why I am so excited to be co-chairing the RBMS 2024 Annual Conference: Momentum. Also the staff support given by ACRL is such a lifesaver! Whether you are planning RBMS Annual or looking to host an ACRL webinar, the staff are there to help you every step of the way.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I do a little bit of anything and everything related to special collections and rare books! From instruction and outreach to cataloging to advancement work, there is always something to do and ways to connect the Miami community to our collections. The past couple of years I have also co-taught an undergraduate class titled “The Global Book Lab” where students learn the global history of the book through special collections items and hands-on experimentation. I work closely with the librarians both in my own department and throughout the university libraries to figure out new ways of improving the student experience and how to conceptualize and assess the work we do so that we can better advocate for ourselves to university administration. I also bring an unbridled (and potentially unhinged) enthusiasm for my work; rare books are so much fun, and my goal is to connect everyone on campus with a rare book that makes them think that too!

In your own words: Two things that I have learned in my time as a librarian are: find your community and always advocate for yourselves and each other. Higher academia is changing, as is the political landscape in which we inhabit. As a librarian, it has been a relief to work with my colleagues here at Miami and across the nation through organizations like ACRL and RBMS to figure out how to address all of these changes. Working with each other and forming these communities are how we will find the answers that work for all of our different situations and institutions. It’s so much less overwhelming when you can rely on each other! Also, advocate and know your individual and collective worth. Whether it is by speaking up in meetings, getting involved in professional organizations, or even by organizing/volunteering in a labor union on your campus, be brave and authentic in speaking up and standing for what you believe in. We will always be stronger standing in solidarity!


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!