ACRL Member of the Week: Renae Watson

A photo of Renae Watson, a woman with reddish-brown hair and glasses. She is standing against a brick wall and wearing a blue shirt and black cardigan.

Renae Watson is an online learning & student success librarian at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Renae has been a member of ACRL for 6 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for May 23, 2022.

A photo of Renae Watson, a woman with reddish-brown hair and glasses. She is standing against a brick wall and wearing a blue shirt and black cardigan.

Describe yourself in three words: Learner, problem solver, justice-focused.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Professionally, I’m currently reading Good Services: How to Design Services That Work by Lou Downe. For leisure, I’m switching between Clanlands by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, The Bridgerton Collection by Julia Quinn, and (re-read) A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Describe ACRL in three words: Service, leadership, connection.

What do you value about ACRL? I attended an ACRL conference a few months after beginning my first full-time library position and the passion for librarianship that I witnessed (and shared) there was overwhelming. I had never been so excited to be a librarian or truly felt like I had found my people until that point. Similarly, I value the connections I’ve made serving on an ACRL committee over the past four years and the knowledge I’ve gained from ACRL listservs, webinars, and more. When I’m unsure where to go professionally, ACRL usually provides a starting point.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? My role has changed a few times since I began, from providing tours and supporting collections to serving as a liaison librarian to designing online learning experiences. I have contributed in smaller, but still important, ways, such as ensuring our new online learning objects are accessible or teaching Zotero to School of Social Work students, but I’ve also been able to contribute in larger ways, such as leading the Libraries’ Equity and Social Justice Advisory Group or collaboratively conducting research on first-generation students’ experiences within academic libraries. No matter my role, I’ve remained user centered and focused on diversity, inclusion, and social justice. In addition to providing resources and expertise in information literacy, I think all academic librarians bring a unique and valuable perspective to their institutions through their broader experience with students, faculty, and staff across campus and their dedication to equitable access to information.

In your own words: I took a circuitous route to librarianship, so I appreciate how my role varies day to day and draws from different disciplines or areas of expertise. I use everything in my background, from composition/rhetoric to learning design to using various technologies, as well as what I’ve picked up from working with departments like social work and agriculture. If you’re a voracious learner, have an affinity with Sherlock Holmes, and/or had trouble choosing a major in college, academic librarianship may be the right path for you.

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!