Meet the Candidates: Yasmeen Shorish

Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2021 ALA/ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2021 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 1-5. 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 8.

Yasmeen Shorish

Yasmeen Shorish is an associate professor & head of scholarly communications at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA and a 2021 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Driven, curious, compassionate.

2. Describe ACRL in three words: Sincere, learning, evolving.

3. What do you value about ACRL? I have grown a lot through both the committee work that I have done with ACRL and the sharing of knowledge that occurs through various communities within ACRL. The supportive communities and the potential to contribute to the field in ways that actually affect people’s lives for the better is incredibly valuable. There is so much more growth that ACRL has ahead of it and it’s exciting to think about the positive impact that that growth can have for more and more people.

4. What would you as candidate for the ACRL Board like to see ACRL accomplish in the area of EDI? In short: a lot. I recognize – and have often personally felt – the areas where ACRL falls short in making meaningful EDI gains. ACRL is both affected by the dynamics of the larger profession and has the power to promote change in the larger profession. I think what has been articulated by the Core Commitment to EDI provides the foundation that we need to build the work off of. I’d like to see the Board use the search for a new Executive Director as an opportunity to really reflect on the structures and assumptions of the Association and interrogate where dismantling and reimagining can occur, in order to move towards a more just and equitable environment.

5. In your own words: I think a lot of us are really struggling right now. With fatigue, stress, uncertainty, loss, and more. I don’t think my career is going to save humanity, but it is important to me to help make a difference in the world. I can do that in lots of ways, of course, but I am thankful that I see opportunities to do so as an academic librarian, even during these unknown times. Having a career built on being a learner and educator – in community with other learners and educators – is a joy for me. That doesn’t mean that every day is joyful! But I find the work meaningful and important. It is challenging and changing and gives me an outlet to do work that critiques our systems/ways of knowing. This is a second career for me, so I don’t take it for granted: not every career provides these opportunities as apparently as this one does for me.

6. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? Homeland Elegies, Ayad Akhtar; My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk; and whatever Rick Riordan book my daughter just finished so we can talk about it.