Member of the Week: Kate Kosturski

Kate KosturskiKate Kosturski is an MLS student at the Pratt Institute in New York City.  Kate has been an ACRL member since 2007 and is your ACRL member of the week.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Opinionated, Advocate, Activist.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your iPod)? When it’s not school-related reading, I’m reading An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Communication, Collaboration, Community.

4. Why did you join ACRL? I wasn’t sure of my complete path in librarianship: I started at Pratt-SILS in 2007 with the intention of working in an art or museum library.  Since there are art libraries on college and university campuses, I thought the membership would prove a nice complement and give me an eye into academic culture, and decided to join.  Since then, I abandoned the museum library track for academia, after a class in academic libraries and scholarly communication.  Needless to say, the membership now proves more valuable and vital!

5. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? The contributions academic librarians can make to information literacy.  We know there’s a serious problem with incoming college students and their information retrieval and evaluation skills – too much reliance on Google, Wikipedia and the web and not enough on databases and print works. There’s a bad habit of taking the first result that appears without considering if that resource has bias or fits the exact research needs. And there’s a bad habit of not carrying lessons learned from information retrieval and evaluation to the next task; it’s all done in a vacuum.  We are a small part of breaking the cycle of those bad habits – and it doesn’t just have to be through our direct instruction; advocacy for pre-college instruction and consideration of our space design may have an effect on information literacy skills.  I’m hoping to obtain my Ph.D. in information science and explore these ideas further.

6. In your own words: In a word, service. And in two more words, information literacy.  As I said earlier, academic librarians play a vital role in breaking the cycle of poor information literacy skills and habits in college students.  After the release of the most recent Project Info Lit report from the University of Washington, many criticized librarians for not doing enough to promote good information literacy, or going about such instruction the wrong way.  We have an obligation to provide exemplary service, with the further goal of providing exemplary information literacy.  If this means experimentation with new technologies or means of instruction (I’m a fan of Yale librarian Joe Murphy‘s work with mobile reference service), then by all means do it. If this means finding ways to incorporate these new technologies alongside the established pedagogical standards, do it.  It’s all part of our call to service.

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.

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