ACRL Member of the Week: Lyndon J. Batiste

Lyndon J. Batiste is a library service desk coordinator at Emory University Robert W. Woodruff Library in Atlanta, Georgia. Lyndon, an ALA Spectrum Scholar, has been a member of ACRL for 1 year and is your ACRL Member of the Week for September 28, 2020.

Describe yourself in three words: Musical, political, spiritual.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am currently making my way through three (3) books: The 5AM Club by Robin Sharma, The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, and The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose by Oprah Winfrey.

Describe ACRL in three words: Empowering, informative, inspiring.

What do you value about ACRL? In addition to all of the wonderful learning and professional development opportunities, I most value the role in advocacy that ACRL has assumed. ACRL has helped me to realize that librarianship can be more than a profession concerned with research, library administration, and the curation of information. ACRL has helped me see that librarians can have a role and voice in shaping the communities that we serve. Initiatives such ACRL’s core commitment to diversity and inclusion place libraries and librarians on the frontline of progress and change. This speaks volumes to me and informs me that a career in the Information Sciences includes actively participating in where society is going, and becoming more than a passive observer of change. ACRL helps me to realize that my contributions to the communities that I serve are relevant and necessary.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As a member of our Access Services team, I manage the primary circulation department of our University Library. I hire and train a student team of 40-45 undergraduate, graduate, Ph.D. students, and together with our staff, we ensure that our Access Services team is able to meet the research demands of our academic community.  I am also a part of our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion committee. This team of librarians has taken a leadership role in creating awareness around social justice and rolling back systemic biases in our library and the broader academic community. 

In your own words: As a result of recent social unrest, and systemic injustices that have been under greater scrutiny, I view my life as an academic librarian completely different. The unfortunate events associated with the lives of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, to name a few, re-ignited a fire and concern within me, and so many others who previously may have seen a disconnect between their everyday librarianship and the social ills that surrounded them. I believe that librarians have the opportunity to participate on University campuses, and around the world, in the intentional shaping of our society. Working within the context of the academy has allowed librarians to refocus much of their efforts towards social progress while going beyond curating information and becoming information activists. Librarians are on the frontlines of information sharing, vocal in challenging ideas and pushing collective consciousness towards those realities that move humanity forward. As Andre 3000 (1/2 of the famous hip-hop duo ‘Outkast’) famously proclaimed at the Hip-Hop Source Awards in 1995 that “The South got something to say,” I believe that librarians, too, can adopt this language and proclaim, “Librarians got something to say.” And as an information specialist, I believe that we should say it loud and continue to participate in the progress and social change that affect us and the communities that we serve. Reference: “The South got something to say” Alex Ashford, UPROXX Magazine 8/06/2018.



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 mpetrowski@ala.org for more information.