University Libraries gains representation with national leadership positions

May 09, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Three Penn State librarians — Athena Jackson, Matthew Ciszek and Rebecca Miller — have been elected by their peers to leadership service positions with the American Library Association (ALA), beginning July 1 following its annual conference in Orlando, Florida. The oldest library organization in the world, ALA has a membership of more than 60,000 librarians, library trustees and library supporters.

The ALA is home to 11 membership divisions, each focused on a type of library or library function, and 20 roundtables for members who share interests that lie outside the scope of any of the divisions. Penn State’s University Libraries is a member of the Association of College and Research Libraries division (ACRL).

Jackson, Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair and Head of Special Collections, has been named vice chair/chair-elect of the ACRL’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS). She will assume the chair on July 1. Jackson has served on various committees for RBMS including Diversity Committee chair and Conference Program Planning co-chair. She currently holds seats on the RBMS Budget & Development Committee and the 2017 ACRL Conference Coordinating Committee.

Jackson will serve three years as vice chair, chair and past chair on the RBMS Executive Committee. Her tenure goals include advocacy in three targeted areas: supporting academic libraries’ momentum toward increasing inclusivity and equity in the special collections field; encouraging 21st-century skills in curation, access and discovery of distinctive collections; and championing the longstanding commitment to the scholarly artifact and its value to the cultural record and new research.

Ciszek, head librarian of the Lartz Memorial Library, Penn State Shenango, was re-elected to a two-year term on the Executive Board of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table as one of three directors-at-large. Ciszek has been involved with the GLBT Round Table since 2007, and had served as membership chair before his election to the Executive Board in 2014. He has also served as a councilor-at-large on ALA Council since 2011, and is completing a two-year term on the Committee on Diversity and the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. He also participated in the process to develop and implement a code of conduct for ALA conferences and meetings that will ensure that all attendees feel safe and welcomed.

Miller, head of Library Learning Services, was elected to a three-year term as a councilor-at-large on the ALA Council. She will serve in that capacity through the close of the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Miller has been involved with the American Library Association since 2008 and has served on various committees and in a number of different roles with ALA, including secretary and executive board member for the ALA New Members Round Table, co-chair of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) 2013 Panel Sessions Committee and member of the ACRL 2013 National Conference Coordinating Committee, and a board member of the ACRL New Publications Advisory Board, of which she is also the current incoming chair. She previously served on the ALA Council as the Virginia Chapter councilor.

“I’m so pleased that Athena, Matt and Rebecca are continuing to uphold the longstanding tradition of Penn State librarians sharing their expertise and serving in national leadership positions,” Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, said. “Our librarians are among the Libraries’ most valuable resources, and their contributions at Penn State and beyond, in their respective fields of librarianship, exemplify their commitment to service and excellence.”

According to its website, the ALA is governed by an elected council, which is its policy-making body, and an executive board. The organization also has 37 standing committees, designated as committees of the association or of the council. The association’s operations are directed by the executive director and implemented by staff through a structure of programmatic offices and support units. A network of affiliateschapters, and other organizations enables the ALA to reach a broad audience.

  • photo portrait of Athena Jackson

    Athena Jackson, Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair and Head of Special Collections, University Libraries

    IMAGE: Thomas Stewart for Penn State University Libraries
  • Matthew Ciszek, head librarian, Penn State Shenango

    Matthew Ciszek, head librarian of the Lartz Memorial Library, Penn State Shenango

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • photo portrait of Rebecca Miller

    Rebecca Miller, head of Library Learning Services, University Libraries

    IMAGE: Wilson Hutton / Penn State University Libraries
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Last Updated May 09, 2016