Member of the Week: Marc Gartler

Marc GartlerMarc Gartler is Director of Library Services at the Harrington College of Design in Chicago. Marc has been an ACRL member since 2006 and is your ACRL member of the week.

Photograph of Marc Gartler by James Godman.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Active, constant, fortunate.

2. What are you reading right now? I’m nearly done reading Frank Donoghue’s The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities. A great primer on the history of the American university over the past century, and an enlightening perspective on a familiar ‘crisis’ in academia. Little on libraries, though the implications are fairly clear.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, opportunity, collective.

4. Why did you join ACRL? When I was in library school, seeking networking and professional development opportunities, I wanted to attend the ACRL National Conference. I joined in an effort to increase my chances of securing a student scholarship for conference attendance from ACRL. I received the scholarship and experienced a transformative weekend–I learned a tremendous amount in four days, and met people who would serve as mentors for years to come.

5. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? Libraries are about connecting to the knowledge, wisdom, and creativity of humanity, and we help foster these values in the world. That’s the big picture that drew me to the profession, and it’s always satisfying to return to. Less abstractly, I enjoy having great colleagues and working in environments where learning happens-I get to learn new things (easy access to much of humanity’s recorded knowledge is a terrific perk of the job), see the ‘light’ go on in students’ eyes, and see them succeed. My job allows me to wear many hats and face different challenges every day, to work with technology enough to satisfy my inner geek, and to work collaboratively with other administrators, librarians and faculty. It’s a good mix that suits my temperament and experience.

6. In your own words:This is an incredibly exciting time to be working in libraries. The early twenty-first century is a time of transition between a human civilization that is primarily analog with one that is primarily digital, and being a librarian today means negotiating an era in which both worlds must be accommodated. The implications are many not only for the book and its repositories, but also the very ways that students and faculty obtain and use information, and create and share knowledge. So libraries are presented with tremendous opportunities to help shape the future of learning, our communities and the world. Since the information infrastructure of which libraries are a part is being rapidly remade, we must be proactive rather than reactive in our relationships, and our collective voice needs to speak not only to academia and government, but also to the information industry and the public. Our one voice has tremendous power, but there are many who have yet to hear us, and we have much to say.

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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  1. Congrats to Marc Gartler, our HCD Director of Library Services « Harrington Blog

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