ACRL Member of the Week: Sara Holder

Sara Holder is the director of reference and research services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sara has been a member of ACRL for 22 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for November 30, 2020.

Sara recently brought together subject experts in wellness programing as an editor of the ACRL publication, Student Wellness and Academic Libraries: Case Studies and Activities for Promoting Health and Success, which includes case studies, commentary, and research on student wellness initiatives in academic libraries.

Describe yourself in three words: Supportive, dedicated, curious.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I’m reading Intentional Tech by Derek Bruff and listening to the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast.

Describe ACRL in three words: Expertise, community, learning.

What do you value about ACRL? ACRL provides a wealth of opportunities for academic librarians: opportunities for professional development, opportunities for tapping into the knowledge of experts in the field, opportunities for service, opportunities for leadership, opportunities for mentoring and mentorship… the list goes on and on.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? My librarian colleagues and I contribute in many ways to our campus, first and foremost by supporting the teaching, learning and research activities of our students, faculty, and staff. We all work hard to ensure that everyone is aware of the wealth of resources and expertise that they have access to through the university library. Librarians at UIUC are also faculty so we contribute to the campus through our own research output, through our participation in shared governance and in leadership of campus initiatives, as course instructors, and in myriad other ways.

In your own words: I am not someone who always wanted to be a librarian – I kind of stumbled into it after trying out several other careers. I didn’t even really know what academic librarians did until I was in an MLIS program, but once I did, I remember thinking “how did I not know about this totally awesome job?” Academic librarianship is a great career choice for anyone who has a strong sense of intellectual curiosity and finds satisfaction in helping others. I am very interested in finding ways to promote it as a career path and work to make it a more welcoming one for anyone with an interest as well as those for whom it’s not even on their radar.

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.