Member of the Week: John Shank

John Shank
John Shank is Head of the Boscov-Lakin Information Commons & Thun Library at The Pennsylvania State University in Reading, Pennsylvania. John has been an ACRL member since 2002 and is your ACRL member of the week for May 25, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: “Love to learn.”

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? Pandora’s Baroque Station.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Libraries, learning, and scholarship.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value how ACRL provides venues for professional development, academic library advocacy, and collective conversations about our value and impact on Higher Education.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? In 2001, I was hired into a faculty position that was brand new at Penn State University (i.e. Instructional Design Librarian) and one of only a handful of such positions that existed in higher education at the time. I am happy to report that there are now hundreds of similar positions in higher education today. My librarian position remained unique in that I was a manager (directed the Center for Learning & Teaching), an instructor (taught courses in educational technology integration), and a librarian (assisted faculty and students in finding, choosing and using digital course resources). Because of this experience, I witnessed first-hand how online interactive, educational tutorials, games, and simulations could meaningfully enhance student class performance. Consequently, I became a passionate advocate for the use of interactive educational resources across the curriculum of my college. Because no handbook existed to help librarians or instructors locate and integrate these resources into their instruction, I decided to write the first handbook, Interactive Open Educational Resources: A Guide to Finding, Choosing, and Using What’s Out There to Transform College Teaching, on the topic to enable educators to more easily find, choose, and use these resources.

6. In your own words: Open Educational Resources (OER) are starting to gain traction in Higher Education although there is still a lot of work to be done. A recent survey conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group found that the majority of faculty (66%) were “unaware” of OER. This affords librarians a wonderful opportunity to raise the awareness of our faculty, help enhance student learning at our institutions, and increase the relevance of our collections. I am not aware of a study that has examined librarians’ awareness of OER although I would like to think that it is higher than what the Babson survey found. If you are not sure where to start to find high quality OER visit my iOERs, LORs, & Interactive Learning Materials site where you can find the best online repositories and libraries that can be searched for interactive learning content.


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