Member of the Week: Colleen S. Harris

Colleen HarrisColleen S. Harris is Head of Access Services at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Lupton Library in Chattanooga, TN. Colleen has been an ACRL member since 2010 and is your ACRL member of the week.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Getting things done.

2. What are you reading right now? This week I’m reading Words Overflown by Stars: Creative Writing Instruction and Insight from the Vermont College MFA Program and Cheat the Grave (book 5 in Vicki Petterssen’s Signs of the Zodiac series). On deck are Komunyakaa and Lopate.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Relevant, energetic, friendly.

4. Why did you join ACRL? Because the work done within the organization is directly relevant to my work at an energetic university library. I like to make sure that the professional organizations I join are more than just resume lines, but vehicles for really getting things done and discovering new ways to work. ACRL and its programming work in that way for me.

5. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? I value our ability to contribute to the entire academic enterprise, from assisting faculty with their research and teaching needs to helping students learn to be more critical thinkers, no matter what their specialty or learning background. Being a nexus on campus for staff, faculty and students gives us a greater opportunity than any other campus office or department to really contribute to the university as a whole.

6. In your own words: My favorite part of my job is serving our students. This career has been a boon to me, because it allows me to feel like I directly contribute to our students’ success and graduation, I can help make work flows more efficient while also providing great service, and I am able to contribute to the field through my own research and writing. It’s the best of all worlds on campus! It’s rare to find a career that will allow you to create & develop multiple facets of expertise, and academic librarianship fulfills me that way. Selfishly, it also serves my deep-seated desire to live by the academic calendar for the rest of my life *grin*.

Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Mary Jane Petrowski at for more information.