Between the Lines: August Member Spotlight
Faculty Librarian and Assistant Professor
Austin Community College
What inspired you to become a librarian?
I had an unusual journey to the library. I have biology and clinical laboratory science degrees and spent seven years as a clinical microbiologist before transitioning to the library. As I realized I didn’t want to stay in the lab forever, I thought about things I really loved – people, learning, information and books. I talked to a few librarians and they all loved their jobs! The more I learned, the more I realized this was the career for me.
What is an innovative practice at your library that you’d like to share with others?
I recently worked on a team to create an ACC Library-specific Equity, Diversity and Inclusion training course. This was part of a larger EDI initiative within the department and the college, and I believe it is such important work. We have had great support from our Dean of Library Services and have been able to invite a consultant and speaker to survey and present to the department. We are focusing on practical ways we can create equity in library spaces and are trying to incorporate equity in all aspects of what we do in the library. Equity involves race and social justice, but also so much more. Gender, ability, neurodiversity, sexual orientation are some additional aspects that we are striving to address in future training. I am looking forward to the conversations and changes this work will bring.
If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
I’d love to dine with Octavia Butler, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Isabel Allende. Octavia was a trailblazer and brought much needed perspective to the science fiction community and beyond. My favorite British detective is Lord Peter Wimsey, and Dorothy L. Sayers was one of the first women to receive a degree at Oxford. Latin American fiction and magical realism speak to my soul and make me feel like home. Allende is one of the most influential Latine writers of all time! These amazing women are so different, but would have so much wisdom to share. I think we’d have a great conversation.
What are you reading right now?
I read lots of things, but am currently finishing Abhorsen by Garth Nix. Such a great fantasy series! Next up is When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn. It’s the sixth Bridgerton novel. The show got me hooked.
What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
I had the opportunity to serve on the TLA Local Arrangements committee the last time the annual conference was held in Austin. It was such a great experience! I got to meet with and connect with so many wonderful librarians in the Austin area. It was a lot of work but really a blast! I would encourage those who have the opportunity to serve on those types of committees to do so.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, how did you have to adjust the way you provide library services? How is your library operating now?
ACC libraries are still operating virtually through Summer of 2021. I have been working from home since March of 2020, and it has definitely been a huge change! Pre-pandemic we had online support with our 24/7 online chat reference, and the pandemic has allowed us to lean into those services even more. We have added a Zoom a Librarian option, and transitioned to provide Library Instruction virtually. We created this amazing dashboard to display what we have been working on virtually, and I am really proud of the way we quickly responded to provide faculty with electronic support and resources, created asynchronous IL materials, and so much more. We hope to transition back to some in person services in the Fall of 2021, and I am excited to support students in person again.
“I am a TLA member because…”
I believe that libraries and access to information is essential for my community and the great state of Texas.