My first encounter—that I can remember in vivid detail—at an academic library function with faculty was at a lecture on penguins. I was about eight years old. A faculty member my Mom (former University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Assistant Vice Provost / University Librarian Sarah Michalak ) knew who worked at the University of Washington (where she also worked) was scheduled to deliver a lecture about his expedition to Antarctica. In his presentation, he spoke about his research on the habitat and behavior of penguins.
I was intrigued when my mom said she was going to the lecture, so I asked if I could tag along. I remember how excited I was to hear about penguins! But what was truly neat was to see the librarians set up the room for the lecture at the Allen Library. Furthermore, the library had made bookmarks for to market the event. In my eagerness to remember the event, I took over 50 bookmarks. How do I know this? Well, I still have them. I just gave one to my daughter; she loved it.
The details of the lecture have been lost on me. But what I do remember the most was my mom, a librarian, introducing the speaker and the lecturer walking like a penguin. One of the best parts of the lecture was the venue, the Allen Library at the University of Washington.
By the end of the lecture, as we were walking to the car, I asked if we could attend another lecture at the library. I told my mom I wanted more bookmarks. She smiled and said sure. I thought quietly to myself—it would be neat to introduce, like my mom, a variety of speakers when I grew up. Librarians can be an important part of faculty’s scholarly processes by offering opportunities for them to speak and providing inviting venues where they can speak.