Meet the Candidates: Carrie Forbes

Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2024 ALA/ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2024 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 1-8. 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 11.

Carrie Forbes, Ph.D. is a university librarian and director of the School of Undergraduate Studies and the University Library at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, OR and a 2024 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Collaborative, organized, dedicated.

2. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, learning, opportunity.

3. What do you value about ACRL? I’ve been a member of ACRL since I first became a librarian in 2000 (feels like a lifetime ago!). I’ve found it immensely valuable for networking with colleagues across the country, learning about trends in academic libraries, and contributing in meaningful ways to professional standards and best practices. Librarians are always eager to share and learn and it’s a pleasure to participate in these professional conversations.

4. What would you as candidate for the ACRL Board like to see ACRL accomplish in the area of EDI? ACRL is working to improve EDI within the profession on many fronts. These efforts support both a desire to address challenges within the association as well as to provide opportunities for members to take steps to improve EDI within their own libraries and institutions. I would like to see ACRL connect with other divisions within ALA to expand upon the work each is doing in this area. We also need to evaluate our current initiatives around EDI to really take a hard look at if our current policies and practices are working toward creating a more inclusive culture or not. Although ACRL is making progress on EDI initiatives, bureaucratic procedures and practices create unnecessary roadblocks for creating change, particularly for librarians of color, and we need to recognize and call out historical oppression within our organizational structures in order to make lasting changes.

5. In your own words (an open-ended statement or reflection about life as an academic/research librarian): Academic libraries are undergoing dramatic changes, along with higher education as a whole. Although many of us were drawn to the profession due to our love of learning and working with students, the pandemic, budget cuts, and increased workloads are taking their toll and many of my colleagues have sadly left the profession. This burnout is also impacting our ability to recruit for professional opportunities in ACRL. Volunteer labor on a committee can be a lot to ask of professionals who already have so much on their plates. As a leader, I always try to remember that my job is not only to serve the students, faculty, and staff of the university, but also the librarians and staff who provide library services. As a leader both at my institution and within ACRL, I desire to create open and honest conversations on how we can best support our patrons and ourselves. What can we do differently? What can we let go of? What initiatives should we prioritize? How can we more effectively advocate for more staff and funding?

6. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? I’m currently reading, Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott. It’s a book about developing your leadership skills to care deeply for others while also having tough conversations, giving feedback, and not being afraid of conflict. I just started it, so we will see if it lives up to the hype or not.