John D. Brdecka is the head of print collection management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. John has been a member of ACRL for 1 year and is your ACRL member of the week for January 6, 2020.
Describe yourself in three words: Strategic, systems-thinker, executor.
What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? I listen to a lot of sports talk radio. Lately, it has been rather depressing as Chicago sports isn’t something to be too excited about lately.
Describe ACRL in three words: Networking, continuous learning, leadership.
What do you value about ACRL? I value the community it creates. There are many challenges academic librarians face on a regularly basis and having ACRL and its community available to help transform the challenges into opportunities is a valuable resource.
What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? My role at Northwestern University Libraries is to maximize service by managing our use of space. And that means much more than where we put our books. Space is a complicated issue because a library is always changing. The contents of its shelves are never static, and its spaces are put to new and different purposes all the time. When we’re doing our jobs right, we are learning all we can about faculty and student needs and then adjusting our services—and our spaces—accordingly. Over many years, with the help of our off-site high-density shelving facility we have transformed static areas of the library into dynamic spaces that accommodate collaborative study, research consulting, and other services supporting the way 21st century scholars work. Much of modern academic life centers on interdisciplinary research, and we’ve responded to facilitate that in our buildings. We have an extensive array of spaces—both on and off campus—and it’s my honor to help make sure each square foot is providing Northwestern with the maximum value.
In your own words: I tell people that I backed my way into being an academic librarian because I had an unconventional start in academia: my first job out of college was as the security coordinator for the libraries at Northwestern University. I had no intention on staying, let alone going back to school and becoming a librarian but here I am, an ACRL member of the week as an academic librarian. The road I traveled to this point wouldn’t have been possible without the network of amazing people around me and having ACRL as a resource to help assist with the challenges that I and many of you face on a regular basis is something we all should utilize.
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.