Member of the Week: Phil Waterman

Phil WatermanPhil Waterman is Head of Research Support Services at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. Phil has been an ACRL member since 2012 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 8, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Dedicated, helpful, and humorous.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? I finally got around to reading The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell.  I hope to use some of his ideas to tip information literacy into our new core curriculum.  Just before that, I read The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester.  This is such a Librarian book!  Next on my list, for the flight to and from ALA San Francisco, is The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Professional, educational, and engaging.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the opportunities that ACRL provides to learn from and connect with fellow librarians. I value the first-rate professional development that ACRL provides through its conferences, online programs, and publications.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I feel that I contribute to my campus community through my work within the library as Head of Research Support Services, and through my work outside the library as a member of various college committees. First, through the services and resources the library offers, my colleagues and I strive to contribute to the academic successes of our students. We know that we have a role to play in our students having successful academic careers and we constantly work to fulfill that role as best we can. Whether it’s by answering questions at our research help desk, meeting with students one-on-one for a research consultation, teaching a research instruction session, or creating online research guides, we believe we are contributing to their learning and their academic success. In this way, we are contributing to our college community.

Second, I contribute to my campus community and support its goals and mission by volunteering to serve on campus-wide committees, such as our Academic Honesty Advisory Committee, Curriculum Review Committee, NEASC Accreditation Group, and our Technology Advisory Committee. I know that to be as successful as my community wants to be, and needs to be, in advancing student learning, requires committing one’s self to these additional roles. Also, being involved with these committees raises the profile of the library within my college community. I want my college community to think of the library as an active campus participant; one that is interested in and qualified to contribute to the academic success of our students.

6. In your own words: I often find myself describing my job as fun when asked by friends or family, “How’s work?” I’m always taken aback when I respond that way. It’s a job. How can it be fun? Maybe it’s because previously I worked for 25 years in the banking industry, which would definitely not be described as fun. I know that’s part of it. But the academic environment with its focus on learning and helping others is definitely a better fit for me, and I find this environment invigorating. There is always something new to learn, something new to try, or some unexpected turn in the road that leads to a new venture or adventure. I find that I can’t be bored being a research librarian.

The other reason why I find this career so enjoyable is the people. Librarians are definitely a different breed from bankers! Their focus on learning, their unfailing willingness to help others – be they students, faculty or fellow librarians – makes working with librarians so refreshing and energizing. Finally, the students with their youthfulness bring their own source of energy to the work environment. That’s why I thoroughly enjoy being a research librarian.

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.