Meet the New Officers: Secretary Carl Lehnen

Illinois Association of College & Research Libraries Forum (IACRL)

October 1, 2018

Andrea Jakubas, Illinois Institute of Technology

AJ: You are currently a Reference & Liaison Librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Can you please describe your typical workday or workweek?

CL: Well, as I write it's the first week of September, so I'm definitely still in start-of-semester mode. This morning I'm catching up with a lot of email, including emails trying to schedule instruction sessions. Some of these transactions are fairly simple, but sometimes new classes require  more back-and-forth about what's needed for the session. Some of this can probably happen during my morning reference shift, but it's only the second week of classes and students have a lot of questions about using the library and our new printing system. After lunch I have a department meeting to talk about our teaching priorities for the semester, and then I'll go through my new book notifications in Gobi and check in with our technical services department about a new approval plan that I'm trying to set up with an international vendor. Finally, I'll spend some time preparing for a meeting I have later in the week with one of my research collaborators.

AJ: Congratulations on your election to to the IACRL Secretary position! Why did you decide to run for Secretary? What are you most looking forward to in your new role?

CL: IACRL was the first professional organization I got involved in after graduating from library school, and it's been invaluable to me in building a professional network here in Illinois. The Secretary's official responsibilities are fairly moderate, but I'm really looking forward to the many events that IACRL has in the works for the coming year to provide opportunities for Illinois academic librarians to get together and learn from each other. One major event  is the IACRL unconference at ILA in Peoria on October 10, but members should also look out for different webinars and networking events around the state.

AJ: What advice do you have for librarians who are looking to become more involved in professional organizations?

CL: I don't know if I have advice per se, but one thing I've experienced myself is the importance of putting yourself out there and expressing interest in organizations that will help you grow. One thing I've appreciated about IACRL is how open it is to new members and the willingness to try new things.

AJ: Can you share three titles that have earned a space on your bookshelf (either professional or leisure reading)?

CL: Three books that aren't directly about librarianship but that have deeply informed the work that I do are: The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman, Social Linguistics and Literacies by James Paul Gee, and Lives on the Boundary by Mike Rose.

AJ: If you received a surprise day off, how would you spend it?

CL: As long as the weather's nice, my go-to activity for a lazy day is taking a book and a blanket out to the lake.

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