Meet the Candidates: Emily Daly


Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2021 ALA/ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2021 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 1-5. Complete details on candidates for ACRL offices are available on the election website. Make sure to vote for the candidates of your choice starting March 8.

Meet the Candidates: Emily Daly

Emily Daly is the head of assessment & user experience at Duke University in Durham, NC and a 2021 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Vice-President/President-Elect.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Empathetic, efficient, collaborative.

2. Describe ACRL in three words: Agent for change.

3. What do you value about ACRL? I value so many things about ACRL – its capacity for organizing and advocacy, the hard-working and talented staff, the high quality programming and professional development (including an amazing conference that continues to outdo itself every time!) – but I think the thing I appreciate most is the professional community.  I value the opportunities to learn from others; to problem solve with colleagues facing the same challenges; to celebrate and build on each other’s successes; to engage in healthy (sometimes heated) discussion about ways we can be better in the work we feel called to do.

4. What would you as candidate for the ACRL Board like to see ACRL accomplish in the area of EDI? I am encouraged by the work that ACRL members and leaders have done in the area of EDI, including developing the Core Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, forming numerous EDI committees and task forces, and recently deciding to fund ACRL/ALA memberships for BIPOC library workers.  While this is a laudable start, it is just a start, because the problem we’re addressing is mammoth.  I would like to see ACRL continue to infuse its commitment to EDI throughout the association.  Specifically, I would love to see the numerous groups working to advance the Core Commitment combine efforts to develop a shared vision and a strategy for making this vision a reality.  ACRL staff and leaders have begun to track metrics so that we can determine whether we are making progress in areas like diversity of membership and retention of BIPOC members, and I hope ACRL will do more in this area – what other data should we be collecting and analyzing, and what metrics will indicate that we have made significant gains in the area of EDI?  Finally, based on conversations I’m having with colleagues across the country, I think there is a tremendous need for more robust training and support for anti-racism in particular.  I would love to see ACRL leverage its well-earned reputation for professional development to provide cutting-edge, evidence-based seminars and training opportunities for library workers who want to effect meaningful, lasting change in their libraries, on their campuses, and in the profession.

5. In your own words: Like many librarians, I love the variety in my work, and I feel fortunate that I am able to do so many different things in a given week.  One of my favorite aspects of my job is listening to researchers’ stories through one-on-one interactions, discussion groups, even surveys.  I am grateful to work with colleagues who are moved by users’ stories and committed to making changes based on what we learn from students, faculty, and staff who rely on the library for study space, research materials, personal enrichment, even their livelihood.  I am also honored and humbled to be in a profession with smart, dedicated, innovative, socially conscious colleagues who are always learning and striving to be better, not just for themselves, but in pursuit of a more informed and more just society.

6. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? I recently finished The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  I’ve continued to think about the heart-wrenching narrative as I talk with colleagues and friends about the injustices that persist due to the problematic history of this country.  I’m currently reading Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria and Other Conversations about Race, by Beverly Daniel Tatum, which I’m finding helpful as I think about ways to extend anti-racist practices in my work and life.  And because I am a mother (two boys, ages 8 and 12), I’m typically listening to or reading something about parenting or child/adolescent development.  Right now, it’s Sex, Teens, and Everything In Between, by Shafia Zaloom.