ACRL Member of the Week: Victoria Caplan

Victoria Caplan is the head of information instruction services at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology. Victoria has been a member of ACRL for 10 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for September 6, 2022.

Describe yourself in three words: Professionally? Librarian and teacher.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? This morning, just finished re-reading Marge Piercy’s City of Darkness, City of Light. It’s a historical novel about the French Revolution. Other books (I often have several going at the same time) I’m also reading right now: Albert Murray’s Stomping the Blues and Karen Eva Carr’s Shifting Currents: A World History of Swimming, and I will probably choose another novel to start re-reading this afternoon or evening- maybe on of Gillian Bradshaw’s historical novels.

Describe ACRL in three words: Important professional resource.

What do you value about ACRL? It’s a great community of practice for academic librarians. I started attending ACRL conferences in the late 1990s & learned and grew for the pre-session workshops and the workshops and talks at the conferences. I also enjoyed reading ACRL publications like CRL and Choice (invaluable when I’m selecting monographs), and participating in the listservs. Of course, the organization cannot function without its members and workers, and from what I’ve encountered, overall we’re a great bunch.  As a librarian who lives and works outside of North America, with a 12 -15 hour time difference between where I am and time zones in the USA I’ve used the listservs and the publications more than engaging in person-to-person activities (except when attending conferences), so that is why I value that side of things so much.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? Embed information literacy in the curriculum (course-by-course working with faculty, and programmatically (for example as a part of a campus-wide professional development program for our PhD and MPhil students). I also engage strongly in a community of practice with teachers in other academic support units (like the Office of the Dean of Engineering), and with faculty members in a wide range of disciplines. At this stage of my career, I’m also working hard at passing on my knowledge and experiences to my younger colleagues, hoping to help them develop well as librarians, while learning from them too

In your own words: I made a great choice for myself, in becoming an academic librarian. I really enjoy my work and am fortunate to have had a great team to work with effective and humane leadership and generous and cooperative colleagues in other units in the Library. I love working in an academic library because I enjoy facilitating teaching, learning, and research. I love working with people of all ages and backgrounds to help them learn to ask good questions, find relevant sources to generate new knowledge, and to communicate it in an ethical and legal way. However, as far as I can see, in North America, the profession (public and academic library work) is still often poorly compensated. Wages and benefits have not kept up with the cost of living. I think that ALA Joblist should refuse to post any job listings without an expected salary range in the job description. I believe that it is now legally required in Colorado & is something both ALA and ACRL could act on. Closing words on life and work (in all meanings of these words: Be Kind and Organize

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