What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? I just finished a book, Come West and See by Maxim Loskutoff. I picked it up at ALA midwinter as an ARC because it is set where I live in the rural Northwest. I think it empathetically tells some hard truths about America and helped me understand a perspective different to mine. It was not an emotionally easy read, but like all great fiction, reveals something fundamental about people and our current moment in history. It felt like an important book when I read it and I hope a lot of others read it too!
Describe ACRL in three words: Forward-thinking, informative, community.
What do you value about ACRL? I love having a community of other librarians who are passionate about similar things and who I can learn from them. From College & Research Library news, to listservs, to professional development opportunities everyone collaborates and communicates their experiences respectfully and has amazing ideas that make our libraries and our world better for everyone. As someone in a relatively remote location, I find having a broad community of librarians outside of my university willing to share their experiences and point me to resources super valuable.
What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? Like many other types of librarians, I help point students to resources and provide instruction. As an archivist though I familiarize them with primary sources available in our special collections and introduce them to interpreting primary sources during instruction sessions. I always share documents that reflect a diverse and inclusive history to get them to consider many historical perspectives. Instruction both formally and informally fulfills the university mission to support student learning and long-term success while also supporting faculty teaching at the university. I help students, faculty, and researchers find one-of-a-kind resources preserved in our library for projects that further the scholarship at the University. Since I am an archivist, I also document and preserve university history that is important and meaningful for students, alums, and administration. Documenting university history supports institutional and cultural memory. It also connects the people currently at the university with the people who were at university in the past. I have seen many students develop historical empathy after learning about the history of their departments, fraternities and sororities, and student organizations.
In your own words: I was attracted to being a librarian because I have a wide variety of interests; I couldn’t imagine only focusing on one thing. As a librarian and archivist, I’m always challenged to learn something new: whether it be about research question from a patron or keeping up with new library/archives trends. For me, being a librarian is also being a life-long learner. I love that it is service-oriented and collaborative profession and that I feel good teaching important skills to college students that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. As an archivist preserving important one-of-a-kind resources, I know that people will be able to use them to learn about the past long after my own lifetime. Every day is different, which keeps me sharp and passionate. So much about being an academic librarian is very personally and professionally rewarding.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.