I am ACRL Member of the Week

Meet ACRL Member: Jeff Knapp


Jeff Knapp, M.S.L.S., he/him/his
Larry & Ellen Foster Librarian for Communications
Penn State University Libraries
University Park, PA

Describe yourself in three words

Interested, helpful, clownish.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)?

I've been a dedicated reader of The New Yorker for more than 20 years, as well as a daily reader of the New York Times and Washington Post, so that doesn't leave time for much else. I read these to satisfy my curiosity about the world, and as Penn State's liaison librarian for journalism, media studies, and other mass communications disciplines, it informs my librarianship.

Describe ACRL in three words

Networks, friendships, ideas.

What do you value about ACRL?

Although all librarians have common experiences and concerns, academic librarians have some unique ones, so it's important for us to have a connection to others. I have met and worked with some amazing librarians through ACRL over the years--with a special shout out to the Communication Studies Committee of EBSS!

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus?

What I try to contribute is a sense of connection. Especially at large research universities, it's easy for students and faculty to retreat into their own familiar bubbles. I try to be a presence who is familiar enough that people will feel comfortable reaching out for help finding information resources, people, services, ...whatever. In an age where it's easy for people to assume that information just sprouts from the internet, it's important to have people who understand how the sausage is made, so to speak.

In your own words

As a refugee from the corporate world, I took a leap of faith enrolling in library school over 20 years ago, never having worked in a library. Although I have had my share of gripes about our profession, there's still no other job I'd rather have. Whenever I'm asked why I chose librarianship, my answer is "I like helping people and I'm interested in everything." Our profession is an important and honorable one, and I'm proud to be a part of it.