Meet the Candidates: Jennifer Nutefall

Jennifer Nutefall

Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2020 ALA/ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2020 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from February 28 – March 6. 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 9.

Jennifer Nutefall is the university librarian at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California, and a 2020 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.

Jennifer Nutefall

1. Describe yourself in three words: Thoughtful, collaborative, strategic.

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

3. What do you value about ACRL? For me, ACRL is the place for academic librarians. ACRL has started and nurtured programs that have had a significant impact on our profession, including the Immersion Program and the Value of Academic Libraries initiative. I value ACRL’s work to foster dialogue not only in our profession, but across national organizations of higher education. The result of these conversations and initiatives benefit the profession as a whole and especially institutions and individuals that may not have the funding or support to travel for professional development. ACRL’s more recent focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice is making us as a profession critically evaluate ourselves and has the potential to transform the profession through critical reflection and strategic action to become more welcoming, just, and diverse.

4. What would you as candidate for the ACRL Board like to see ACRL accomplish in the area of EDI? There are several activities connected to EDI that I think the ACRL board should focus on. One area is guidelines or best practice for recruitment. This could be achieved through a task force and documentation on ACRL’s website. A second area would be focusing on retention of librarians of color, building on the work of Jaena Alabi, Nicole Cooke, Charlotte Roh, Tonia Sutherland, Isabel Espinal, Fobazzi Etterah and many others. I envision movement on this in a variety of ways which could involve collaboration between ACRL and We Here, more focused presentations at ACRL and ALA, and online workshops and trainings. A third area is bystander intervention training, which would allow for specific actions individuals can take, both in their professional and personal lives, to stand up and advocate for marginalized individuals. This could be in collaboration with other national organizations and use the already established roadshow model. Finally, I would like ACRL to extend the conversation and work to continually address white privilege. There needs to be a holistic understanding of the systematic structures of oppression, how it impacts marginalized communities and their daily life, and what we can do – personally and as librarians – to change that.

We have undertaken a number of initiatives at Santa Clara University Library. This includes the creation and implementation of the Library Undergraduate Diversity Fellowship in 2018, which provides two students a year long experience to learn the work that happens in an academic library and the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects related to diversity and inclusion issues. Other efforts include bringing Robin DiAngelo to campus and in collaboration with campus partners organizing discussion groups of her book, reviewing our position descriptions and hiring practices, and organizing bystander intervention training through the Office of Multicultural Learning. 

5. In your own words: I love being an academic librarian. Over the last 22 years, I have been continually growing, expanding my skill set, and adapting. When I started at Santa Clara University, I began by meeting with all staff members individually. In those conversations I learned about each individual and the library as a whole and had the chance to share my core values as a leader- honesty, trust, and open mindedness. I will always be honest and direct, trust in the work of my staff, value their trust that I am doing what is right for the library, and remain open minded about changes and ideas. As a leader, I love seeing my staff grow. I want everyone to be supported in reaching their full potential and achieving their professional and personal goals. Through leadership and relationship building I have been able to collaboratively set a vision for where our library is going and what we hope to achieve, and then provide support for what it will take to get us there. I will bring this same set of values and orientations to the ACRL board.

6. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? Over winter break I finished Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner. I’m currently reading Generous Thinking by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, who talked at the annual Lever Press meeting in August 2019. I am a huge fan of podcasts and frequently trade recommendations with colleagues and friends. I enjoy listening to them while getting ready and commuting to work. I always start my day with NPR’s Up First podcast and then listen to a mix of news and pop culture including Code Switch, The Indicator, Hidden Brain, On the Media, Pop Culture Happy Hour, and Bay Curious.