Member of the Week: Leah Hannaford

Leah HannafordLeah Hannaford is Open Education Librarian at Centralia College in Centralia, Washington. Leah has been an ACRL member since 2014 and is your ACRL member of the week for April 6, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Ambitious, caring, and energetic.

2. What are you currently reading (or listening to on your mobile devices)? I am currently reading Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? as I am a huge Mindy fan. Her book has encouraged me to have less guilt about my cheese intake and to not second guess my use of the Oxford comma.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Engaging, community, and committed.

4. What do you value about ACRL? As a new academic librarian I have greatly benefited from ACRL because I have a strong community as a starting point when I need more information on specific aspects of my job. I love reading about the different members and how all of our unique perspectives come together with the purpose of assisting our patrons.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I am the Open Education Librarian here at Centralia. I think the best part of my job is being able to assist faculty members with retooling their research or current courses to be openly accessible to our students and colleagues. I organize workshops, plan events around open education, and brainstorm with our incredible e-Learning department ways to involve our students in the open education discussion that we’re starting here on campus (which this year includes a Star Wars themed display of “The Open Education Discussion.”) Open Education is more than “free textbooks,” it encompasses the re-use of created content in multiple ways which means that I have to get creative with data compatibility options and build our repository in a way that reflects this purpose.

6. In your own words: While on deployment in Kenya I was found by a librarian who had taken notice of how I was organizing informational products and people. After watching me operate my information center for several days she finally stated, “You’re a librarian. You just don’t know it yet,” and handed me a stack of ALA magazines. Two days later I knew I had found my ultimate profession. Two weeks after that moment I applied to Florida State University’s MLIS program and was on my way. I spent my remaining years in the United States Army as a librarian without a library which taught me how to locate resources without the benefit of a home institution. I learned the importance of open access as it applies to more than just patrons in an academic setting.

It has been an amazing experience to be able to ground myself with a home institution and help so many faculty members with their intellectual endeavors. Every day I get a new opportunity to help someone solve a complex data problem or organize materials in a way that benefits our patrons. I get to be a part of growing the open access conversation from a grassroots level. A librarian is who I’ve always been . . . now I get to do it in an actual library.

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.