Member of the Week: Heather McCullough

Heather McCulloughHeather McCullough is Head of Digital Scholarship at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. Heather has been an ACRL member since 2010 and is your ACRL member of the week for January 6, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, Engaged, Focused.

2. What are you listening to on your mobile device? I just finished the audiobook for Phil Jackson’s Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.  With a background in French literature, I love all genres of literature and poetry.  However, over the last several years I have become interested in sports coaching and training books, even if I don’t follow the sport closely!  I’ve read books by many of the well-known professionals in tennis, swimming, basketball, football, and ultra-marathon runners.  I have just started reading The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship, edited by David J. Bodenhamer, John Corrigan, and Trevor M. Harris.  I am quite interested in how humanities research is being influenced by tools that previously were not associated with humanistic inquiry.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Important, Connected, Responsive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? As someone who has come to libraries later in her professional career, the ACRL has been an essential resource to learn and to stay informed about the important issues facing research libraries.  Its publications and learning programs have been helpful in my success and I turn to them regularly when I am preparing presentations and planning programs.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to the profession? In my role as Head of Digital Scholarship at the J. Murrey Atkins Library, I lead programs that support researchers in the use of digital and networked research tools to create, disseminate, and store new knowledge.  We provide authors’ rights and copyright information, host open access journals, provide data management support, and also run a usability lab.  I also partner with faculty on digital humanities and digital scholarship grant projects, and frequently connect faculty researchers.  I recently had a faculty member say that I was the “ultimate connector” because I put her in touch with a researcher in another college on campus whose research had close affinities with her own.

I have helped organize digital humanities un-conferences and am currently organizing GIS and Spatial Humanities events along with colleagues from other colleges on campus .  My unit also regularly involves students in our work.  We currently have a team of four senior computer science students working in our “Innovation Lab” to develop a gesture-based interactive exhibit based on a digital exhibit we previously created that highlighted Silver Age Comics from our Special Collections.

6. In your own words: This is a tremendously exciting time to work in a research library.  Digital and networked tools are providing increased capacity for researchers to create, share, and store information.  There is a lot of important work to be done to develop the infrastructure for new methods of scholarship and universities are looking to library professionals to lead the way.  For myself personally, I find great satisfaction in my role in digital scholarship because it allows me to draw on my background in teaching, technology, as well as information science.

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.