ACRL Member of the Week: Russell Michalak

Russell Michalak

Russell Michalak is the Director of the Hirons Library, Archives, and Learning Center at Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Delaware. Russell has been a member of ACRL for 11 years and is your ACRL member of the week for May 20, 2019.

Describe yourself in three words:Collaborative, strategic, empathetic.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? Currently, I am reading Connaway and Radford’s Research Methods in Library and Information Sciencein print format. I purchased the ebook from GOBI for my staff to read as professional development.

Describe ACRL in three words: Community, research, resource.

What do you value about ACRL? I value ACRL as an organization for its community, speaking and publishing opportunities. Throughout my career I have been able to connect with librarians involved in ACRL regionally and nationally who have been instrumental in my growth as an academic librarian. As an early career rare books librarian at the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California, when I first attended RBMS conference Bob Byrd (Duke University) and Judy Harvey-Sahak (Scripps College) made me feel welcome as a new member. My co-presenter, Monica Rysavy, and I enjoyed our first ACRL presentation “Learning what they want: Chinese students’ perceptions of electronic library services” in Cleveland. In September 2018, Monica Rysavy, some faculty members from our college, Bernice Smith, and I published “Faculty Perceptions of Plagiarism: Insight for Librarians’ Information Literacy Programs” in C&RL News.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As an academic librarian at Goldey-Beacom College, I share my experiences of best practices regarding research design, institutional assessment, and Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) through instruction and small group training sessions with the students, faculty, and staff. In regard to research design, I work closely with the director of institutional research, Monica Rysavy, to teach faculty, staff, and students research design methods. When I first arrived on campus the library’s institutional assessment questions were not useful in informing decision making. Therefore, I worked with the college’s institutional research department to create better questions with measurable outcomes. Recently, Monica Rysavy and I co-facilitated the college’s first SoTL by Design (which was created by Katie Linder, the research director at Oregon State University’s e-campus) professional development cohort.

In your own words: My current position as Director of the Library, Archives, and Learning Center at my current institution and extensive experiences in academic research libraries has provided me with the opportunity and background to speak and publish regularly on topics related to library learning analytics, institutional research, and research design with my research partner, Monica Rysavy. We recently became co-editors of the posIT column for the Journal of Library Administration. I believe that my career has been strongly influenced by several key mentors: Sarah Michalak (my mom; retired Associate Vice-Provost at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Trevor A. Dawes (Vice provost for libraries and museums and May Morris University Librarian at the University of Delaware); Kenning Arlitsch (Dean of the Library at Montana State University); and Greg Thompson (University Archivist, University Historian, Associate Dean Special Collections, Adjunct Assistant Professor-History, & Librarian, Marriott Library at the University of Utah).

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.