Meet the Candidates: Kevin Butterfield

Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2023 ALA/ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2023 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 3-10. 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 13.

Kevin Butterfield is the university librarian at the University of Richmond in Virginia, and a 2023 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Progressive, unique, growing.

2. Describe ACRL in three words: Creative, influential, community.

3. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL is a critical form of support and guidance for us as individuals and our profession. Working alone in a vacuum robs our efforts of meaning and inhibits our growth. In ACRL, we come together as a professional learning community profoundly aware that together we can work through our shared objectives towards a better outcome. Being part of a shared space such as ACRL, in its physical or virtual forms, allows us to be inspired, solve problems, and share in our collective achievements.

4. What would you as candidate for the ACRL Board like to see ACRL accomplish in the area of EDI?ACRL and all our members must commit to creating a strong sense of connection and belonging. EDI is an integral part of ACRL’s success. 

However, while doing the work, ACRL must maintain a deep and transparent connection with all those impacted by our efforts. ACRL must remain self-reflective and open to questioning. How can we build trust? Are there barriers to our EDI implementation? How are our actions, and our members, being supported?

ACRL must prioritize trust in our space by building a culture of safety and honesty, where members feel comfortable asking leaders difficult questions, sharing critiques that may be difficult to hear, and confidently expressing their thoughts and ideas for the future.

This work is not a sprint or a marathon but a relay. As ACRL leaders, we take the baton and commit to doing the work necessary to better our community. Then, when our time on the board is over, we hand the baton forward through each generation of ACRL leaders, all of whom must maintain the same commitment until our goal is reached.

5. In your own words: Leadership in professional associations such as ACRL is less a matter of position than relationships. One-on-one, personal encounters are vital in building those relationships. We must listen to others, understand different viewpoints, consider other perspectives. and be candid when dealing with members and other leaders. We must spend time with members, understand what is happening with them, and set expectations by helping them understand how ACRL can help. This straightforward approach is vital. Neglecting dialogue is a damaging mistake. Engaging in conversation will help all members grow and improve ACRL leadership.

6. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile devices)? I am reading Issei Baseball: The Story of the First Japanese American Ballplayers by Robert K. Fitts and Bad Actors by Mick Herron.