Member of the Week: Steven Harris

Steven HarrisSteven Harris is Assistant Dean of Libraries for Collections and Knowledge Access Services at the University of Nevada, Reno. Steven has been an ACRL member since 1992 and is your ACRL member of the week for September 13, 2015.

1. Describe yourself in three words: “Likes to experiment.”

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Reading: The Real World of Technology by Ursula M. Franklin and The Motel Life by Willy Vlautin. Music listening: Awake by NOW Ensemble.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: “Effective professional development.”

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL, primarily through the Literatures in English Section, is where I really learned how to be a librarian. My colleagues there were so generous with their time and knowledge that it made developing new skills and new understanding much easier. So the value of ACRL is, to me, the people.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As the head of collections and all of technical services, ultimately, I am the person responsible for establish what our library collections are and how users find them. Rather than be a part of the library that isn’t “public facing,” I’ve tried in instill in all our staff a sense of the service aspect of the library collections. What could be more public facing than the library materials themselves? I carry this conversation as library representative to many groups on campus, including our Research Council and the University Courses and Curricula Committee.

6. In your own words: In my own scholarly work, I consider myself a historian at heart. I love the sense of curiosity that history and all academic disciplines entail. It is so much fun to wonder about something and then set out find the answers, whether they be in the laboratory, out in the field, in a literary work, from an archive of manuscript material, or in countless other sources. The library is an imminently important step in the satisfaction of curiosity in every discipline. I feel lucky every day to be involve in the library enterprise. Sometimes our funding doesn’t make the obvious choices for our users possible, but we just roll up our sleeves and try to develop other solutions to their information problems. In the 30 years that I have worked in libraries, from student worker to paraprofessional to assistant dean of libraries, the landscape has changed constantly. There are always new tools to try and new solutions to offer. Never a dull moment!

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.