Member of the Week: Penny Beile

Penny BeilePenny Beile is head of the Curriculum Materials Center at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Penny has been an ACRL member since 1995 and is your ACRL Member of the week.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Energetic. Engaged. Dependable.

2. What are you currently reading? The Life of Pi (Martel), Geek Love (Dunn), and The Road (McCarthy) are on my bedside table, along with Selections from Karl Popper. I’ve also promised myself that *this* time I’ll finish Ulysses, but I’m not confident that will ever happen. Sigh. {Editor’s note: Taking a class in which you only read Ulysses helps.}

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative. (Professional) Identity. Advocacy.

4. Why did you join ACRL? I’ve always been an academic librarian with public service responsibilities. Early in my career a mentor suggested ACRL and I quickly adopted it as my professional home. It fit then and I find it fits now, even with changing job responsibilities. The professional development programs offered by ACRL are substantive and timely, they do a wonderful job of identifying emerging trends and providing librarians the tools to be conversant on the topic, and they advocate for academic librarians at all levels and across a platform of issues. I am always amazed that such a large division is so responsive to the needs of its membership.

5. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? The one thing I value most about being an academic librarian is the opportunity to connect with students and be a part of their learning experience. It is gratifying to work at the program level or to implement system-wide initiatives, but it doesn’t come close to the feeling you get when you work with an individual and see the light bulb turn on.

6. In your own words: The platforms of ACRL candidates Erika Linke and Scott Walter were probably most influential in my recent thinking about academic librarianship. They talked about relevancy and advocacy, and the need to demonstrate how libraries add value and support the academic mission of the institution. Our practice has changed dramatically since I started in the profession and we are now being challenged to move beyond the collection and have the conversation about such issues as scholarly communication, institutional repositories, and information literacy. It really is a professional imperative.

Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Contact David Free at dfree{at}ala{dot}org for more information.

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