ACRL Member of the Week: Symphony Bruce

Symphony Bruce is a critical pedagogy librarian at New York University. Symphony has been a member of ACRL for 4 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for February 21, 2022.

Describe yourself in three words: Silly, anxious, encouraging.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? The NYU Reads text this year is Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, so I’ve been slowly reading that. To be honest, my read next list is really long and I’m looking forward to some vacation time to do some reading! I’ll probably read Thick by Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom and Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor this winter.

Describe ACRL in three words: Collaboration, partnership, community.

What do you value about ACRL? I have met so many amazing people through my ACRL committee work and both national and regional events. Some of my best working relationships and friendships have come out of my ACRL participation and I’m so grateful for it! ACRL also creates space for knowledge sharing outside of the national/regional conference cycle and I really appreciate learning from my peers through all of the wonderful webinars.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As a librarian in an undergraduate instruction department, I love that my attention gets to be 100% on students. Relationship building is at the heart of my pedagogy and I’m particularly excited by opportunities to work one-on-one with students or to work with instructors to make assignments more meaningful for students. Although I’m still relatively new at my current institution, I’ve found a lot of enjoyment in institution-level curriculum work at previous workplaces and hope to be able do more of that soon. So many of our conversations around information literacy, search skills, information ecosystems, algorithmic bias, etc happen in a vacuum within the library, so having these same conversations with teaching faculty and curriculum committees really does shift things.

In your own words: I’m having a hard time writing this because I want to figure out a way to acknowledge that for so many of us, our work is not getting any easier. From racist challenges to books and intellectual freedom, to the continued undervaluing of our labor, to the tug-of-war over power, we have a long road ahead of us. I hope we can use the privilege we carry in the interest of harm reduction, justice, and care.


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