Member of the Week: Isabel Gonzalez-Smith

Isabel Gonzalez-SmithIsabel Gonzalez-Smith is an Academic Resident Librarian at her alma mater, the University of Illinois at Chicago. Isabel has been an ACRL member since 2010 and is your ACRL member of the week for October 21, 2013.

1. Describe yourself in three words:  Determined, Analytical, Lighthearted.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? Currently reading a whole lot of identity theory and race/ethnicity literature for a book chapter I am currently working on. The book’s editors are from Librarian Wardrobe and the chapters will explore librarian image, stereotype, and perception. I’m looking forward to the final book so be sure to keep your eyes out for it! In regards to music, I’ve been obsessively listening to Carla Morrison. Morrison sings a lot about heartbreak and longing which really makes me think of my family in Mexico and my struggles being apart from them. It makes me miss them tremendously but in a strange way it also makes them feel much closer.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Research, Community, Expertise.

4. What do you value about ACRL? What I value most about ACRL is the opportunity to see the work that other academic librarians have shared towards improving the higher education experience. More specifically, I love getting College and Research Libraries and C&RL News in the mail and reading them. I really do! Our colleagues do some excellent work and as a new librarian, I am grateful for these publications which help me reflect on my approach, gain exposure to new perspectives, and grow my knowledge base. Lastly, ACRL 2013 was a blast! I met so many inspiring academic librarians and had a hard time trying to decide what sessions to attend because there were so many of high quality. It was truly a rich experience for me.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a Resident Librarian, I bring a fresh perspective to my library and am encouraged to try new things which is a very rewarding professional experience. My core responsibilities involve conducting reference and instruction on a daily basis but I also have the opportunity to engage with our patrons and support their experiences in different ways. That can mean incorporating more interactive exercises in my instruction sessions, igniting social media and outreach efforts, making a library webpage more user friendly, organizing a library orientation scavenger hunt with student groups, and much more. My main concern in everything I do is the experience our patrons are having with the library. More importantly, I want our students to feel comfortable, welcomed, and engaged with and in the library in a way that leads to their academic success.

Aside from my contributions as a librarian, I bring some insight as an alumna. My experiences as a student at UIC have allowed me to bring a more personal and unique perspective to my work. It has ultimately impacted how deeply I care about the library fitting into the college experience for our students in an engaging, meaningful, and lasting way.

6. In your own words: Academic librarians have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and embrace learning as a lifelong process. Through academic librarianship, I have had the pleasure to step into many different roles such as researcher, instructor, and soon, author. My academic library journey so far has been very intellectually stimulating and that’s precisely what I love about it.

Also, I have met so many devoted librarians full of spirit and eagerness. You can have a room of academic librarians with a wide range of expertise like copyright law, web design, business finance, the knowledge of five languages, and so much more. It’s truly a field full of versatile and dynamic individuals. We lead, facilitate, and support initiatives of information and access and, best of all, we continue to educate ourselves in order to provide quality services to our communities.

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.