Member of the Week: Karen Munro

Karen MunroKaren Munro is Head, Library and Learning Commons at the University of Oregon in Portland.  Karen has been an ACRL member since 2002 and is your ACRL member of the week.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Just three words?

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your iPod)? I’m trying to read 50 books this year . . . so far I think I’m at 8.5.  Next up:  Tod Wodicka’s All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well.  And I’m listening to The Verve, and watching Jonathan Glazer’s music videos and short films.  I eagerly await the release of Bioshock 2, although I won’t have a console to play it.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: 80-proof career accelerant.

4. Why did you join ACRL? I’m an academic librarian; it’s the de rigeur professional association.  I wanted to get involved in the profession, meet colleagues across the country and around the world, and learn how to do my job better.  And ACRL has given me all those things.

5. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? I love the intellectual freedom, and the constant challenge to engage with some of the biggest issues of our time: tectonic shifts in publishing, media production and consumption, copyright and intellectual property law, and how we teach, learn, and preserve our collective culture.

6. In your own words:Things are changing fast.  In ten years, I think many academic libraries won’t have the same kind of entry-level reference/instruction/collection development job that I started out in.  I see most academic libraries heading much more toward teaching and learning support, towards emphasizing our role as an academic support unit with services that help activate the collection for our users.  We need to make a paradigm shift if we’re going to survive and stay relevant.  That will mean different things in different places; one of the things we need to incorporate is more meaningful user-oriented design.

Photograph of Karen Munro by James Newman.


Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact David Free at dfree{at}ala{dot}org for more information.