NMRT Member Profile: Up Close and Personal with Akeisha Heard

akeisha heard photo Interrogation by Holly Wilson, Footnotes Committee Member

Disclaimer: As I have personally known Akeisha for a couple years now (we actually met at ALA Annual), some of these questions were specifically designed to draw out some of what I consider to be points of interest about her. If you happen to see her at ALA Annual, ask her how far she's traveled to see a movie ... It's a great conversation starter!

What is your current position and what are your job duties?
I'm the Systems Librarian at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA. I manage the web site, electronic resources, ILS, computers and other technology for the Libraries. I'm the liaison to the Computer Science Department and Computer Information Systems Management group, so I do collection development and instruction in those areas. I also put in a couple hours a week on the reference desk, train library faculty and staff on technology as needed, and answer any computer-related questions for faculty, staff and students.

Are you open to living in places other than those called Columbus or is that one of your requirements?
Ha! I'm very open to living in non-Columbus cities as I'm not sure Columbus, MS and Columbus, IN would have me. ;o)  Moving from Columbus, OH (where I lived for six years) to Columbus, GA was the Fates' idea of a joke as I told many people I was ready to move away from Columbus.

How did you come to the field of librarianship? How does your current position relate to your previous career?
By the time I was a senior at W&M, I had the notion stuck in my head that working in a library would be a good idea for me. But I decided getting some work experience so I could decide what I wanted to be when I grew up was a better idea. After working for a bit as an information technology consultant, I realized I had too much free time (I was young and naive). I started working on my MLIS without expecting to use it, but as I got closer to finishing it, life happened and I decided to try out librarianship. The focus of my previous career was mainly relational database design and administration so my current position doesn't have too much directly in common.

Tell me a bit about your experience with ALA, particularly NMRT. I understand you have some committee involvement and are currently running for a board position: what has that been like?
I'm currently a member of NMRT and LITA. In NMRT I'm on my second year on the Membership Relations Committee and first year on the Web Committee. I'm also running for Secretary this year. I've never been involved with a national organization like ALA so it's been an interesting experience seeing how things work.

How has your involvement with NMRT influenced your professional life?
I plead the fifth.

I know you have attended some ALA conferences: tell me a bit about that experience.
I've attended the Annual conference in Chicago and New Orleans and Midwinter in San Antonio. All three were excellent experiences. I had never visited any of those cities so being a sightseeing tourist is always fun. I've met some great people through NMRT (I highly recommend the socials to any new conference goers) and have attended many informative presentations at the conferences. I'm looking forward to Annual in DC this year even though there are about 5 different presentations I want to attend at the same Saturday afternoon time slot.

Tell me about some of your hobbies and interests.
Unsurprisingly I love to read -- mostly fantasy, Regency romances and some science fiction. I enjoy doing needlework. I have done cross-stitch and crochet most my life. I rarely do blackwork, hardanger, and tatting though I find them interesting. And I learned to knit recently.

Who is your favorite author and why?
My favorite author is Neil Gaiman. I have a hard time putting into words why. He's just an amazing person with a great sense of humor and a way with words that amazes me. Everything I've read by him has affected my life in some way. I was thrilled to meet him at Annual last year.