ACRL Member of the Week: Tahirah Akbar-Williams

ACRL Member of the Week: Tahirah Akbar-Williams

Tahirah Akbar-Williams is a librarian for African American studies and the College of Education at University of Maryland, College Park. Tahirah has been a member of ACRL for 9 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for March 8, 2021.

Describe yourself in three words: Visionary, inclusive, progressive.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am reading How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi and Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.

Describe ACRL in three words: Foundational, resourceful, evolving.

What do you value about ACRL? I value the connections and relationships that I have formed in ACRL. I appreciate that at any given time, I can take what I’ve learned from ACRL and use it to curate and execute ideas/programs that allow us to support the success of the students, faculty, and staff. This to me is the honor of a lifetime.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I am passionate about supporting my campus community. As an informational professional, we are fundamental to the success and the intellectual life of the campus. We not only teach our community how to locate materials but also how to engage with information as critical thinkers. I take pleasure in providing excellent library instruction through open and inclusive teaching practices. Also, I have been given the opportunity to create spaces that embrace our unique diversity and foster environments of creativity and academic advancement. I have utilized ingenuity to build the Diversity Immersion Institute (DII) to further promote diversity, inclusion, and anti-racist practices.

In your own words: Working as an information professional is awesome! The LIS field is dynamic and when allowed it has the potential to be more diverse, innovative, progressive, entrepreneurial, inclusive, equitable, and inspiring. I hope my career spans long enough for me to witness our field and its leadership evolve from potential into reality. Academic libraries are the heart of any campus and have a huge influence on the day-to-day lives of students, faculty, and staff as well as their surrounding local community. Librarians are its superheroes! To quote Peter Parker from Stan Lee’s Spiderman Series: “With great power comes great responsibility.” (Originated 1793 French Revolution)

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.