Meet the Candidates: Tarida Anantachai

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.

Tarida Anantachai is the director, inclusion & talent management at North Carolina State University Libraries in Raleigh and a 2023 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Empathetic, engaged, optimistic.

2. Describe ACRL in three words: Connective, learning, opportunities.

3. What do you value about ACRL? One of the things I’ve long valued about ACRL are the people within it. This includes our many library colleagues across the profession, many with whom I feel so grateful to have met and developed enduring relationships through various committees and other communities. It also includes the ACRL staff members, who work behind the scenes to provide the important administrative and infrastructural support needed to foster these opportunities. Over the years, I have certainly grown, and continue to grow through the connections and professional resources that ACRL has helped to facilitate—from its conferences and other professional development offerings, to its various publications, and again, to the discussions and communities it helps to foster through such spaces.

4. What would you as candidate for the ACRL Board like to see ACRL accomplish in the area of EDI?Now that, in addition to the Core Commitment to EDI, ACRL has now incorporated EDI as a strategic goal area within its Plan for Excellence, I feel we’re at an important inflection point. It is my hope that this move, which also further elevates ACRL’s long-standing EDI Committee, will advance opportunities to more sustainably embed EDI efforts—not only into what ACRL provides for its members and the academic library profession at large, but also within the structures that exist within ACRL itself. This includes examining how its own norms and practices may have created barriers for inclusion—norms and practices which may also influence and impact those that also exist within our own libraries. Given this momentum, I would be excited to work with ACRL and the Board in diving further into this reflective and reparative work, including: addressing identified barriers in a way that also does not create harmful, tokenizing, nor extractive labor; providing additional tools for libraries to critically engage in similar work more locally; and ultimately better positioning itself as an organization that libraries and library workers can consider a partner, advocate, or even fellow interrogator in this work.

5. In your own words: I admit that I struggled a bit to write this at first, as a lot of us have been challenged by so much over the past few years, and with many even reexamining what it means for us individually to work in academic libraries and academia more broadly. Having had the great opportunity to work in patron-facing, public service roles, as well as in a more internal capacity supporting the work and well-being of my amazing colleagues, the service-oriented nature of library work has been on my mind for some time. We can see it present both in how we continually strive to support our patrons, but also in how many of us—particularly those from historically marginalized groups—have taken on increasing and sometimes invisible service roles within our campuses and communities. This service mentality has compounded over the past few years in particular, with many library workers feeling fatigued, overwhelmed, and even reevaluating the labor we take on. It is also why I think it is so important for us to center care in all that we do—and not just in terms of extending grace and establishing personal self-care activities, but especially in terms of the guardrails and structural supports that our organizations need to put into place to help retain and sustain us in this work.

6. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile devices)? As of this writing, I’m bouncing between reading Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey and Community as Rebellion: A Syllabus for Surviving Academia as a Woman of Color by Lorgia García Peña. I’ve also been listening to the audiobook for The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka.