Member of the Week: Michelle Dartis

Michelle DartisMichelle Dartis is an MLS degree candidate in the Indiana University School of Library and Information Science in Indianapolis. Michelle has been an ACRL member since 2010 and is your ACRL member of the week.

1. Describe yourself in three words: spiritual, dedicated, experienced.

2. What are you reading right now? I am currently reading Does your mama know?: An anthology of Black Lesbian Coming Out Stories edited by Lisa C. Moore; Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library by Don Borchert; Visible Lives: Three Stories in Tribute to E. Lynn Harris by Stanley Bennett Clay, Terrance Dean and James Earl Hardy; and The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: professional, purposeful, focused.

4. Why did you join ACRL? As a person new to the field of librarianship, I am interested in research and I felt that ACRL and its purpose fits my specific interests as they relate to libraries, research, policies and history.

5. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? I stepped into unchartered territory when I began library school in January 2009. My background is in social work, so I had no idea what was in store for me. Once I got into my courses, beginning with a basic computer class and a collection management and development course, to a class that discussed the various perspectives on librarianship, it was my introduction to research course that solidified my interest in research librarianship.

In completing my mock research proposal, I discovered I thoroughly enjoyed the process of researching the history of my topic about how well public libraries are meeting the information needs of the LGBTQ community and weaving the information I gathered in order to write the literature review.  My proposal taught me that research is essential  in understanding the needs of patrons and the libraries’ responsiveness to their needs or the lack thereof. Additionally, I learned how research is viable in assessing how effective a library’s approach is in delivering services to members in their communities.

6. In your own words: Currently, I am a student enrolled in Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science, Indianapolis campus. I was drawn to library school when I learned about the opportunity to become a fellow with the Indiana Librarians Leading in Diversity Fellowship Program. This program was designed to recruit minorities in the state of Indiana to help bring diversity to the field of librarianship.

My love affair with books started in childhood. I recall numerous trips to the local library branch with my mother and brother and her teaching us how to use the card catalog. I was fascinated  with the Dewey Decimal System and wondered how anyone could have designed such a clever system of organizing books. However, as a novice to the field of librarianship, I had no idea which direction to take. It was my research class that sparked my interest in research and it is my desire to conduct research projects that will encompass my areas of interest, particularly the African American LGBTQ community simply because there has been little, if any research conducted on this segment of the population.

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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