Member of the Week: Rachel Borchardt

Rachel BorchardtRachel Borchardt is the Science Librarian at American University in Washington, D.C. Rachel has been an ACRL member since 2006 and is your ACRL member of the week for June 29, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Passionate, quirky, and helpful.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device(s)? These days, I usually only listen to audiobooks while running, so I have a strong preference for YA sci-fi/fantasy, which is entertaining enough to distract me while running! I’m currently reading Atlantia by Ally Condie and The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani is up next.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Diverse, engaging, and useful.

4. What do you value about ACRL? The thing I value most about ACRL has been the opportunity to meet other science librarians and become involved in STS. The wide range of opportunities to both learn and contribute, from conference presentations and discussions to webinars and ACRL publications, has been invaluable to my growth as a librarian and scholar. And a specific shout-out to Kathryn Deiss, who has been a valuable resource in helping publish our book through ACRL!

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? Like many subject specialists, many of my contributions happen through my reference, instruction, and collection management duties in support of the faculty and students on campus. I also serve on a fair number of committees, including serving on the faculty senate as the library representative starting this June. Right now, I am trying to build a better program to support the research impact needs on our campus, including offering workshops and presentations to faculty and graduate students and providing one-on-one consultations with faculty, many of whom are preparing tenure or reappointment files.

6. In your own words: As librarians, I think our community is uniquely poised to affect higher education in many ways, and we are often looked to by the academic community as an important leader in many discussions. To that end, I believe that we have an opportunity to influence the current research impact landscape – that is, to reimagine what it means to measure the ways in which a scholar impacts his or her academic discipline. For instance, within our own profession, we recognize that scholarly contributions can occasionally mean something different than other professions – a presentation at the ACRL conference, for example, can have a greater impact than traditional scholarship in the form of a peer-reviewed publication. I think, as a profession, now is the time for us to define what scholarship means to our profession and how we want to measure the impact of that scholarship. And yes, I think that altmetrics has a role to play in capturing our impact.

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.