Member of the Week: Karen Sobel

Karen SobelKaren Sobel is Reference and Instruction Librarian at Auraria Library in Denver. Auraria Library serves the University of Colorado at Denver, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and the Community College of Denver. Karen has been an ACRL member since 2007 and is your ACRL Member of the Week.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Energetic, goal-oriented, well-read

2. What are you currently reading? At the moment I’m devouring Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex. This is part of my summer-long project to read a book recommended by each of my close librarian friends. Can I also put in a plug for my very favorite book, Memoir from Antproof Case, by Mark Helprin?

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Interconnected, creative, experimental.

4. Why did you join ACRL? Because all the best ideas for updating and improving public services come from librarians who are out there experimenting. I’ve also found that if I approach another academic librarian with a problem, they nearly always know someone who has worked through a similar challenge.

5. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? Having the opportunity to reach students early in their careers and teach them skills they can use and adapt for a lifetime.

6. In your own words: Good fortune (and my parents) allowed me to completely devote myself to three college degrees at excellent institutions. The greatest challenge in my career as a librarian has been adapting to an urban, sometimes-gritty academic library environment. I’ve come to appreciate my capacity to help people with both their academic and “real-life” information needs, which often intertwine. Many of my students live in poverty, and I feel hope and pride as I watch them working toward their eventual goals of careers and better lives.


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