Member of the Week: Tiffini A. Travis

Tiffini TravisTiffini A. Travis is Director of Information Literacy and Outreach Services at California State University – Long Beach in Long Beach, CA. Tiffini tweets at @mojo_girl, has been an ACRL member since 2004 and is your ACRL member of the week.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Mom, Librarian, Edupunk.

2. What are you reading right now? I am currently reading the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. I like to re-read this tongue in cheek version of the Art of War, to get me through the numerous academic committee meetings I attend on my campus. Nothing can prepare you for campus politics better than this book.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Life-changing organization.

4. Why did you join ACRL? Initially, I joined ACRL due to my interest in academic librarianship. However, I stay a current member due to the personal and professional connections I have made through the association. Becoming a faculty member for the Immersion program in 2006 fulfilled a lifelong dream and is currently one of the most important aspects of ACRL for me.  As an Immersion attendee (Kent State 2000), it shaped my approach to librarianship. As an instructor, the Immersion program has allowed me to both teach and learn from my fellow librarians.

5. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? The thing I value most about academic librarianship is the innovative nature of our profession. Within the last decade, librarianship has been revolutionized by technology. New platforms and access points have changed the nature of our work. I love that so many librarians embrace this change and, as Nike says, “just do it!” I can only hope that in the years to come more librarians incorporate emerging technologies and, more importantly, the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to designing library services. I think continued out-of-the box thinking is the cornerstone for keeping our profession viable.

6. In your own words: When I decided to get a graduate degree I was homeless and about to become a single mother. I applied to library school because I didn’t want to be a teacher. I thought, “What could be hard about checking out books and overdue billing?” In my uninformed view, I figured librarianship was easy money.  Besides, I had fun doing research as an undergrad in college and I never wanted to teach or work with kids. EVER.

Despite my naive impression of what librarians actually DO, something magical happened when I started library school. I discovered my inner nerd. She must have been hiding behind all the late night clubs in SF and ultra cool vintage gear, waiting to break out. Terms like information seeking behavior, information literacy, systems design, and the Zen-like art of the almighty reference interview became my new creed and I realized that I had found my true calling.

Now of course, ten years later, I know it’s not my “inner nerd” but rather my passion. I am a librarian 24/7. (Just ask the students who IM me on the weekends and are shocked to get a response.)

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.

1 Comment

  1. Ms. Travis is a tremendous asset to acrl. Her creativity, astounding abilities as a teacher, and her fearlessness place her in a select group who make risk-taking seem like the natural thing to do.

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