Meet Our Members
(Last name T-Z)
Merrily E. Taylor
Professor and University Librarian
Washington & Lee University
ACRL member since 1985
1. Describe yourself in three words: Extroverted, creative, optimistic
2. Describe ACRL in three words: Informative, collegial, stimulating
3. Why did you join ACRL? Because it is the primary professional association for individuals who have chosen to devote their careers to academic librarianship, and because it offers a wonderful venue for professional education and development.
4. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? The rich and varied environment in which we work, that is, our "imbedding" in the colleges and universities we serve. Each institution has its own character, style, tradition and mission, and within the academic and/or research library, there is room for people with many talents, interests, academic backgrounds, cultures, and languages. Our colleges and universities perform a critical function, educating "the rising generation" for the challenges of tomorrow's world, and we in academic libraries are privileged to play an important role in that mission.
5. In your own words: I am about to begin my 40th year as an academic librarian. I have worked in a state university library and in the libraries of private universities, and have been a reference librarian, collection development librarian, department head, associate director, and director, and in all those roles I've found challenge, learning opportunities, endless variety, and yes, fun. I've been fortunate to work with some wonderful colleagues, from whom I've learned a great deal. Over the years that I've been a librarian I've seen a tremendous number of changes in libraries, and in how we deliver our services, but I've seen no change in the basic spirit of the profession, the commitment to service, open access to information, user privacy, and the preservation and delivery of knowledge. I always have been proud to be a librarian, which I regard as a "calling" as much as anything else, and I remain so.
Dr. Julie Beth Todaro
Dean, Library Services
Austin Community College Library
ACRL member for 12 years
1. Describe yourself in three words: professional, committed, inclusive
2. Describe ACRL in three words: required professional membership!
3. Why did you join ACRL? One of the basic tenets of professionalism is membership and activity in professional associations. I joined ALA almost immediately out of library school and began to--given my positions--join divisions and other workgroups and attend conferences and seek out opportunities for involvement. When I became an academic librarian I joined ACRL and, since then, have been on a wide variety of committees and task forces and boards. I have formed extraordinary friendships, established a professional network, and found the best resource for learning and staying current. I think association membership and activity is a cornerstone of one's professional life.
4. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? I didn't start out to become an academic librarian. Like many others in our profession, I started out as another type of librarian because of a mentor I had many years ago. A wonderful opportunity led me to a faculty position in library education in the early 80's and my teaching and learning responsibilities included management and—obviously—management of libraries means research and study in all types of libraries! I grew to love the responsibility for keeping current across the profession for my management curriculum. What a challenge to read broadly, apply basic theories to multiple environments and to increase the network among students and faculty so that students could fully appreciate the entire profession! When I left library education in Michigan to return to Texas, I—literally—asked local librarians what library in town had the "most going on." The community college library kept coming up. A newer entity, it was growing and changing and had dynamic leadership . . . someone I had heard of through my association activity. I applied for positions there twice and was turned down once but turned down a position elsewhere in town to keep trying back at the college. On my second try I got a management position. I loved it from the first minute. Although I had loved and valued my other higher education experience, this was perfect for me. Working with the widest variety of students and faculty in a educational setting, broad networking and ultimately partnerships with other types of libraries in the community, rapidly changing work settings and more projects than seemingly humanly possible to complete, I fit in. Academic environments allow library and information professionals the best possible combination of teaching and learning experiences and whether you feel comfortable in a two-year, four-year, or six-year, in a public or private, or whether joint use/partnership opportunities are your perfect fit, I highly recommend the experience.
5. In your own words: NOW is a good time to be in our profession. Yes, there are cutbacks, threats to intellectual thought and progress, major confidentiality and security issues, a critical need to balance scholarly content with the basic or general and the popular, but — and forgive my rhetoric here — we're in the game, we're at the table. You read the newspaper or listen to the news or connect to CSPAN and we're "there." For years—and for the majority of us — we were revered in many ways but little known and often misunderstood and also often "hardly there." For better and for worse, now — we're talked about, sought after, sometimes deliberately excluded and criticized and legislated against, but we're also still revered, legislated for, turned to, invited in, and considered. Throughout my early career, in groups of non-library and information people and upon learning of my profession, I got the "shhh" or "what a cool job, you get to read all day!" or "what a nice, calm place to work" or "when I retire I want to get an easy job like yours." I haven't gotten those comments in many years. For whatever reason — rampant "dog year" technology, ever-changing resources, constant focus on the information world, the web and its mysteries, political focus — both good and bad — people are talking about my job and where I work. Not everybody wants or needs or has to have a job at the center of things, but I enjoy it. I would choose this world any day.
Pennsylvania State University, Altoona Campus
ACRL member since 2005
1. Describe yourself in three words: organized, creative, dedicated
2. Describe ACRL in three words: focused, collegial, responsive
3. Why did you join ACRL? I joined ACRL shortly after starting my position at Penn State. My colleagues and supervisor encouraged me to join because of the extensive benefits ACRL offers to academic librarians. I find ACRL to be more relevant to my daily work than ALA as a whole, and I appreciate the opportunities for education and growth offered to me by ACRL.
4. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? I believe that academic librarians can help students learn critical thinking and research skills that will help them throughout their post-college careers. My favorite part of academic librarianship is working students and watching develop as researchers and scholars. I enjoy the challenge of keeping up with technology and constantly finding new and improved resources for student research needs.
5. In your own words: Academic librarians are constantly reinventing themselves while trying to maintain their traditional place as academic research gatekeepers. The relatively recent need to market ourselves has caused tension and uncertainty in the field, as most of us went to school to become librarians, not publicity experts. There will continue to be a need for librarians even with the expansion of online information resources, but we need to work harder to convince students of our usefulness.
Vice President of Business Development
EBSCO Information Services
ACRL member since 2001
1. Describe yourself in three words: Creative thinker, mentor, problem solver
2. Describe ACRL in three words: Advocate, diverse, educator
3. Why did you join ACRL? I joined ACRL to be able to network and participate as a librarian in many of the issues facing college and research libraries today. I am in a unique position of having had two lives; first as librarian and then as a library services vendor. It is important to be informed about issues and problems facing libraries so I can better build products and services that might help solve some of the problems. ACRL through their meetings and publications provides much of that needed background, plus I just like the people you find in ACRL as we share a common value.
4. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? I believe that libraries play a critical role in defining our culture and help to establish or support the freedom of speech and other intellectual freedoms that we value. Academic libraries offer the laboratory for our future leaders and researchers. Having strong well funded libraries is a corner stone of our educational system. So I value the role that libraries place in our educational system and want to insure that they have the tools they need to meet their user’s needs.
5. In your own words: I have been a librarian for over thirty six years and have been to every ALA Conference since 1970 (New Orleans will be number 72), both annual and mid-winter and I have seen the changes from print to electronic and all the steps in between and I am just as excited about going to number 72 as I was my first Conference. There is an energy generated from the sessions, the networking, and from seeing how our industry is evolving that is still educational and rewarding. ACRL is part of that excitement and let’s just hope it will continue to be for generations of librarians to come.
ACRL member since 2005
1. Describe yourself in three words: Persistent, innovative, iconoclastic
2. Describe ACRL in three words: Diverse, engaged, progressive
3. Why did you join ACRL? I think ACRL has a good handle on the major issues facing academic libraries today. The programs supported by and sponsored by the association address all of the major challenges facing our libraries and higher education in general. The goals and objectives represent a broad range of issues from advocacy through recruitment and retention of the next generation of academic library leaders. ACRL provides a forum for us to engage in an important dialog about these issues and how they're affecting our individual institutions and our profession.
4. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? We play a significant role not only in helping our students through their academic programs but also in preparing them for their lives "post-graduation." These students then graduate and become leaders in their fields and in our communities. It's rewarding to be part of their lives during such a formative stage. I really enjoy working with our students.
5. In your own words: Our profession is in a state of flux and has been for quite some time.
I find it a terribly exciting time to be an academic librarian. We now have an opportunity to reinvent ourselves as never before and become true partners in teaching, learning and research at our institutions. It's also a period fraught with the danger that we might not reinvent ourselves. The future of our profession is truly in our hands and depends on us.
Assistant Director for Library Instructions & Public Services
Charles C. Myers Library
University of Dubuque
ACRL member since 2006
1. Describe yourself in three words: Passionate, Perceptive, Invested
2. Describe ACRL in three words: Fellowship, Scholarship, Leadership
3. Why did you join ACRL? I initially joined ACRL as a student in library school when I realized there was a profession and world outside of the classroom. At the time, because I was a para-professional position and my library experience was limited, joining ACRL, connecting with members, and following the publications helped put my experiences in a larger context. Librarianship and education are not isolated endeavors, and ACRL and its members share in that journey.
4. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? Education. My career path took me from educating voters on political candidates to student-teaching in high schools while completing my Master's of Arts in Teaching. But in both cases what interested me was helping others learn. Academic and research librarians are educators. We not only help our students learn what they need in a specific class, but we help them develop the ability to learn throughout life. While I came to librarianship through an indirect path, my goal has always been to educate.
5. In your own words: I believe in my students, and I believe in your students. I believe that they have the ability to succeed in their classes and in life. And while we may not give them the credit they deserve, their information, media, and technology literacy skills are a foundation for their success. Through their playful experiences in video games and popular culture, our students are developing the foundation of those skills. My responsibility,our responsibility, is not to see these skills not as a hindrance to their education, but as an asset. As librarians, we can build upon these skills and move them into an education context. ACRL is a resource for librarians to collaborate in recognizing these skills and developing them. ACRL believes in our students.
Richard Hume Werking
Library Director & Professor of History
Nimitz Library, U.S. Naval Academy
Joined ACRL in 1976
1. Describe yourself in three words: Librarian, Historian, Educator
2. Describe ACRL in three words: Engaging, Active, Representative
3. Why did you join ACRL? To obtain and test ideas; to become better acquainted with effective practices throughout the profession, and get to know the people associated with them.
4. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? Its tradition of bringing together would-be learners and recorded knowledge of substance, and its determination to continue that tradition.
5. In your own words: One of our biggest challenges as a profession of academic librarians is to value continuities as well as changes. Several years ago Walt Crawford and Michael Gorman put it very well in their book FUTURE LIBRARIES (p. 12): "We do not advocate clinging to old things because they are old, nor do we advocate discarding old things because they are old… It is neither the easiest of prescriptions nor the most fashionable, but libraries need to combine the past and the future in a rational, clear-headed, unsentimental manner."
Jennifer A. Younger
Edward H. Arnold Director of University Libraries
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
ACRL member since 1985
1. Describe yourself in three words: bullish on libraries (strategic, positive, always learning)
2. Describe ACRL in three words: forward-looking, educator, developer
3. Why did you join ACRL? Networking with colleagues; personal growth, to support standards, new developments, etc. in academic and research libraries; to support continuing education for librarians and library staff; to support the voice of academic and research librarians in higher education as well as in the library community
4. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? I value the talents of the many outstanding individuals in academic libraries who develop and deliver excellent collections and services. I value the contribution we as librarians and staff make to teaching, learning and research on our individual campuses as well as to the global community of scholars.
5. In your own words: We have a wonderful window into the world of education. We have so many opportunities to make a significant difference in the intellectual lives of students and faculty and have as a profession, had a very positive impact on the educational community. Sounds trite, but I love (almost) everything about working in academic libraries.
Reference Librarian/Humanities and Social Sciences Coordinator
Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library
The University of Alabama
ACRL member since 2002
1. Describe yourself in three words. Helpful, tenacious, and happy
2. Describe ACRL in three words. Timely, essential, diverse
3. Why did you join ACRL? The opportunity to form professional relationships and share ideas with librarians from other academic institutions was the main reason I joined ACRL.
4. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? On a professional level, I value building library collections and providing services that meet user needs and institutional goals. Personally, I value the unique potential for variety that every day in an academic library brings. Above all, I value the intellectual generosity and support that comes from colleagues.
5. In your own words: I look forward to the day when librarians view the internet as just another resource and not a threat to the future of the profession.
Sha Li Zhang, Ph. D.
Assistant Director for Collections & Technical Services
University of North Carolina Greensboro
ACRL member since 1992
1. Describe yourself in three words: Enthusiastic, energetic, optimistic.
2. Describe ACRL in three words: Advocacy, inspiration, opportunity.
3. Why did you join ACRL? ACRL was the first ALA division that I joined when I started my professional career after completing my MLS. Since then, I served on several ACRL standing committees. I also served on committees on the Community College and Junior College Libraries Section, College Libraries Section, and University Libraries Section when my library career progressed. It has been beneficial for my professional growth through these ACRL activities and through contacts/networking opportunities with other ACRL members. The issues, agendas, discussions, and programs from ACRL have been very closely related to academic libraries. Its publications, especially, College & Research Libraries and College & Research Libraries News, are excellent venues to help librarians keep abreast on new research findings in academic librarianship and on current trends among academic and research libraries. ACRL has been a leader in advocating for academic and research libraries on such important issues as copyright, intellectual property, information literacy, scholarly communication, assessments, users’ privacy, etc.
4. What do you value about academic or research librarianship? Upon college graduation, I started working in a university library which provided me with initial exposure to academic librarianship. Having worked in several university libraries, I gained a better understanding of values of academic and research librarianship: library services have helped and enhanced students’ learning experience and faculty teaching and research needs are met through library collections, reference and instructional services, and other outreach programs. In many college and university campus, faculty and students often value highly their libraries, along with other campus services. Having held positions in collection management, cataloging, acquisitions, and preservation in academic libraries through my career, I have worked very hard to help improve efficiency of these library functions and advance the library’s mission toward a better services to students and faculty. It has been rewarding experience to work closely with students and faculty members and to provide assistance in their intellectual explorations and in their process of knowledge creation.
5. In your own words: ACRL members consist of a large group of intellectual thinkers and effective movers within ALA: they are well-educated (many of them hold additional graduate degrees beyond MLS); they are scholars (they contribute more ILS publications in the library profession than their counterparts in other ALA divisions); they are service-oriented (they have passionately advocated for information literacy and made sure that students acquire needed library research skills as a part of their education experience); they are collaborators (they work with various campus departments to deliver top-class library services); they are advocates for students and faculty during campus budget crisis (they have tirelessly protected collection funds), and they are the futurists. I am proud of being an ACRL member and will continue supporting its mission.