Circle of Friends: John Danneker

John Danneker

The ACRL Circle of Friends acknowledges the sustained generosity of those who have been Friends of ACRL for five or more years. The Friends of ACRL was created to provide a means for the association to take bold steps above and beyond its traditional member programs and services. Rapidly changing demographic, economic, and technological trends are presenting academic libraries and librarians with new challenges and competition that demand immediate solutions. The Friends of ACRL have responded to these new challenges and provided additional support that will enhance and ensure the relevance of our profession. To join or learn more about the Friends of ACRL, please visit the ACRL website.

John DannekerJohn Danneker is the director of the Odegaard Undergraduate Library at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. John has been an ACRL member since 2008 and joined the ACRL Circle of Friends in 2012.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Amiable, thoughtful leader.

2. Why do you support the Friends of ACRL? I started my giving to honor someone special who we lost far too soon. Jose Manuel Palacios, who was trained as a librarian and loved art history, felt it was critical that cultural institutions like museums and libraries be available to all regardless of economic background, so I give to support that spirit in his memory. I also know well the challenges of piecing together funding for school and professional travel, and I’m glad to be able to lend additional support for the scholarship funds for conferences.

3. What might someone be surprised to know about you? I’m not 100% certain, but I might be a supertaster. I definitely can quickly identify subtleties in flavor in food and drink that many others can’t. This can be an amazing asset at times—like when eating a great Pacific oyster in my new-ish home of Seattle—but can also be an interesting challenge, like when I’m trying to recreate flavors of a dish as a home cook.

4. Since you’ve become a member of ACRL, tell us about someone who influenced you in some way? Hard to name just one person individually. What I will say is that I’m very lucky to have had connections with two very good but different library science programs, at Catholic University of America and the University of Washington iSchool, and being able to bring some students from each together at recent ACRL conferences has been very rewarding—it’s interesting to see how topical, timely conversations bubble up and influence your thinking, regardless of one’s region of the country.

5. What do you hope ACRL will achieve in the near future (or the long term)? In the near and long term, I hope that ACRL will continue to champion various literacies and capabilities that we see as critical to the future of the world (information, media, data, among others). I work in a setting daily where undergraduates and their instructors/mentors are asked increasingly to see across boundaries of traditional academic subjects and collaborate to solve interdisciplinary challenges, and I appreciate that the need to understand nuances and biases of various information sources and arguments is increasingly important locally and globally. It’s about building and fostering a learning mindset, as a complement to a researching skillset.

6. In your opinion, what is the most important work that ACRL does? I feel ACRL is one important forum for librarians from academic institutions to engage around common ideas, both online and in person, and I always learn so much in this type of setting. Good colleagues and I facilitated fantastic, energetic groups in roundtable discussion at both the 2015 Portland and 2017 Baltimore conferences, and having a diversity of participants’ voices from various types of institutions, including of a mix of sizes, scopes, and regions, made it a rich exchange of ideas. Thanks to its scope, ACRL can provide useful, common platforms for these exchanges.