Member of the Month

Erin McCoy – 06/2017

Erin is a Reference/Instruction Librarian at Massasoit Community College (FTE: 5000) in Brockton, MA. She has been a member of ACL since 2007. You can follow her at on Twitter @ErinLibrarian09.

Describe yourself using a book title: Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott and The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? I love learning new things all the time, whether it is a new skill or a topic I know next to nothing about, I get to explore it, fail a little bit, figure out how to solve the problem, and keep working until it’s all sorted out. It’s so fun!

What are you currently reading? The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted by Mike Lofgren, Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, and Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

Describe ACL in three words: Affirming, Egalitarian, Informational

How have you, as an academic librarian, contributed to your campus? At a community college, we strive to make sure students know this is a safe place to be, that it’s a helpful place to be, that we want them to succeed. Many of our students come in with so many obstacles- and, as library staff, we strive to be a consistent presence in their academic career. I think we also elevate the conversation about learning and cognitive development because as librarians, we are not tied to a discipline. We can see more of the big picture in how students are connecting ideas and that is a unique and important position to be in.

I began my career as a librarian . . . as a student library employee at Point Loma Nazarene University. Beryl Pagan and Anne-Elizabeth Powell introduced me to Harry Potter, Denise Nelson was in library school at the time and I thought, “This would be the most amazing thing to do with my life.”

My professional career began . . . in 2009, I graduated from the online program at Southern Connecticut State University. I was the Access Services Coordinator at Eastern Nazarene College and had been taking classes while working at Nease Library. So I’ve been in libraries since 2004.

One Thing I wish I had known as a Beginning librarian . . . I guess I wish I had known how flexible I would need to be. I don’t know if that’s a developed trait over time, or if I’m naturally that way- I think it’s something I had to learn. You just don’t know what tasks you’ll be assigned, what new thing you’ll need to learn; you think your career is going to track a certain way, and it just doesn’t. Or at least, it hasn’t for me. 🙂

What do you value about ACL? I was slow to appreciate it, I think, but have come to value so highly the community of librarians that is so helpful and affirming to my own career. I have developed amazing professional relationships, I have found mentors who have helped me with some big decisions, and have been challenged frequently by the ideas and interests of others.

How were you introduced to ACL? When I worked at Eastern Nazarene College, my boss, Susan Watkins was heavily involved in ACL and valued our contribution to the organization as individuals and as a staff. I attended my first conference in 2007 at Cornerstone, in preparation for our own conference hosting gig (2008: the Revolution Continues!!!) which was fantastic. I have presented a few times at the annual conferences I’ve attended, I’ve submitted articles to TCL and I’m now the Coordinator for CILA, which I’m really excited about. I’m very interested in critical librarianship and how our pedagogy in the library classroom helps shape students’ understanding of information. There are so many ways to teach, and I’m very curious about methods that sort of—makes students’ minds explode a bit.