Member of the Week: Katie Fortney

Katie FortneyKatie Fortney is Copyright Policy & Education Officer at the California Digital Library, serving the University of California libraries and their users in Oakland and Santa Cruz, California. Katie has been an ACRL member since 2009. She is a new presenter for ACRL’s “Scholarly Communication: From Understanding to Engagement” workshop and is your ACRL member of the week for May 18, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Pragmatic, nerdy, and punctual.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? The Water Knife by Paulo Bacigalupi (I picked up the ARC at ALA Midwinter) and Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire. And I’m listening to The Fall of the Kings by Ellen Kushner.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Useful, dynamic, and fun.

4. What do you value about ACRL? First and foremost, the people. The ACRL members I’ve met include some of the most interesting and knowledgeable people I know – and the most fun. I’m also a big fan of the resources and the advocacy around issues close to my heart, like the Scholarly Communication Toolkit and Code of Best Practices in Fair Use.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I work at the California Digital Library, so I kind of am campusless and kind of have ten campuses. Being a copyright specialist for libraries rather than the counsel’s office brings a friendlier, more collegial feeling to an area of the law people often find intimidating – they’ll ask me things they might think were too minor to bother the “real” lawyers with or think they’ll get in trouble for. I get to hear great stories about what people are up to all across the state, and in exchange, I try to set people up with tools and resources that empower them to make well-informed decisions about rights issues.

6. In your own words: For as much as we keep seeing clickbait about the doom or uselessness of libraries in the modern age, the people I talk to on our campuses have a lot of warm fuzzy feelings about libraries, and a lot of trust in our neutrality and our knowledge. I’d like to see us leverage that more. I’m not talking about world domination here, but I think a lot of us underestimate ourselves.

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.