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The Stories We Tell: Academic librarians and identity

Tags: Events | 2014

ACRL NMDG: The Stories We Tell: Academic librarians and identity

Date/Time: Saturday, June 28, 2014 from 10:30-11:30

Room: Bally Palace 3

How do we begin to describe the professional identity of academic librarians? What are the stories we tell about ourselves to our users, our institutions, and especially to each other? Do these stories provide a view that is multidimensional and reflective of the racial and ethnic diversity of our field and the users we serve?

This year, the New Members Discussion Group is teaming up with the creators of Librarian Wardrobe and two of the authors from the forthcoming book, The Librarian Stereotype: Deconstructing Presentations and Perceptions of Information Work, to discuss the shared stories of academic librarianship: ones that reflect our view of ourselves, our professional identities, and professional stereotypes.

We hope you’ll join us!


Isabel Gonzalez-Smithis an Academic Resident Librarian at her alma mater, the University of Illinois at Chicago, in reference and instruction. In 2011, she graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an MLIS and has experience working in a public library, rare book store, archive, special collections, and academic libraries. She co-authored “Unpacking Identity: Racial, Ethnic, and Professional Identity and Academic Librarians of Color” in The Librarian Stereotype: Deconstructing Perceptions and Presentations of Information Work. Her interests are user experience, assessment, human-centered design, and diversity in academic librarianship.

Derrick Jefferson is the Communications Librarian at American University in Washington, DC.  He received his MLIS from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA as a Project Recovery scholar based in New Orleans, and his MFA in film from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA , where he focused on screenwriting and producing. Interested in diversity in higher education as well as the intersection of race, class, and gender with media and pop culture, he tweets about food, vinyl records, and libraries at @geekandahalf.

Sarah LeMire is Assistant Head of Research and Information Services at the University of Utah's J. Willard Marriott Library, where she coordinates the library's Knowledge Commons and information literacy instruction for the University's first-year writing course.   Her first career was in the U.S. Army, where she served as an Arabic translator in the 4th Infantry Division and deployed to Iraq.  Due to her military service and post-military experiences as a student veteran, she is passionate about her ongoing outreach efforts to student veterans on campus.

Raymond Pun is a research and reference services librarian in New York University Shanghai where he provides reference and research support to faculty and students. Previously he worked in New York Public Library: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building as a research librarian providing reference and instructional services. He holds an M.L.S and a M.A. in East Asian Studies. In 2012, the Library Journal nominated him as a Mover and Shaker, and this year he is part of ALA's Emerging Leaders. He has published and presented extensively in the fields of digital literacy, Chinese cultural studies and history, international librarianship.

Sarah Steiner is the Head of Research & Instruction Services at Western Carolina University Library. Sarah earned her Master of Library Science degree from the University of South Florida and a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from Georgia State University. She regularly writes and speaks on instruction skills, social media in libraries, and emerging technologies.