Meet the Candidates: Julie Garrison

Julie Garrison

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.

Julie Garrison is the dean of libraries at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan and a 2020 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Vice-President/President-Elect.

Julie Garrison

1. Describe yourself in three words: Forward-thinking, collaborative, curious.

2. Describe ACRL in three words: Educational, enriching, communal.

3. What do you value about ACRL? I value the ways ACRL helps me connect with professional colleagues across the country and internationally. I appreciate that ACRL provides me with a variety of ways to learn and grow as a professional, through publications, programming, and association work. I appreciate ACRL’s leadership in engaging members to find solutions to broad academic issues and challenges.

4. What would you as candidate for the ACRL Board like to see ACRL accomplish in the area of EDI? Through the work of the Diversity Alliance and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, 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 provide opportunities for members to take steps to improve EDI within their own libraries and institutions. I would like to see ACRL build a broader coalition with other divisions within ALA to expand upon the work each is doing in this area. I would like to evaluate which initiatives currently underway are making a measurable impact and focus our energies on the strategies that are most likely to positively influence our ability to recruit and retain diverse talent and provide a welcoming professional environment within the association to members from diverse backgrounds. I would also like to implement a strategy of appointing new ACRL members, who represent underserved communities, to all committees and task forces and increase early engagement with the association. 

5. In your own words: I had the privilege of creating a similar profile in 2012, when I stood for election to the ACRL Board of Directors as a Director-at-large. I find that my thoughts today haven’t changed much from those I shared in 2012.  I am privileged to be in a profession where I get to combine my curiosity and desire to continually learn through the work I do on a daily basis. The ability to collaborate with my professional and university colleagues to develop creative projects, problem-solve, and research makes for stimulating and thought-provoking work. I love being in a dynamic work environment where others welcome and improve upon new ideas and where my colleagues appreciate and reward taking informed risks.

6. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? I just finished Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell and have just started Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele. Both have me thinking about assumptions and misperceptions in how we understand the people around us. On my commute, I am listening to the novel The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton.