Member Spotlight - Rick Meyer

December 6, 2021

This week's  member spotlight is on Rick Meyer. Rick is a Director-at-Large on the ILA Executive Board, the board liaison to the ILA Awards Committee, and a former chair of the ILA Awards Committee. We asked Rick to tell us a little bit about himself and to answer a few professional and amusing questions. Continue reading to find out more about Rick. 

A little bit about Rick

I was raised in Witt, IL, where the little one room library was the first place I was allowed to walk to alone. I received my BA in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 1997 and subsequently worked in the mental health field in Springfield and Champaign for over ten years prior to becoming a librarian. I received my MSLIS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009. I worked as a cataloger at UIUC library from 2008-2010. I then worked as the Director of Robey Memorial Library in Waukon, IA from 2010-2014.  In addition to being a book nerd, I am an avid movie and music nerd (I own over 5000 albums) and am a bit fanatical about Illini basketball—to the occasional chagrin of my wife and daughters.

How did you get into libraries?

I first worked in a library as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Brookens Library. After graduating I worked in the field of community mental health for 10 years. 10 years in, I knew I needed a change. I thought back to my  work at Brookens Library and how much I loved it and  decided to make the move to librarianship.

Best advice you've received since starting your career in libraries?

It’s a tie. 1) “It’s not a job about books, it’s a job about helping people.” 2) and this one is specifically for public library directors, “politics isn’t a part of the job, it IS the job”. Think politics as the art of compromise, building alliances, and working with all types of people.

Any advice to newcomers working in libraries?

It’s about helping people.

When and why did you become a member of ILA?

I’ve been a member off and on since grad school (I lived and worked in Iowa for a while), but getting involved in ILA seemed like the best way to give back to the profession that has been very good to me.

What is the one accomplishment you are most proud of as the former chair of the ILA Awards Committee or recently, as a member of the ILA Executive Board?

I think working toward a clarification of awards purposes and processes is a much-needed change. This was not an accomplishment of mine; my successors as chair of the Awards Committee were able to make so much more progress. But I was able to be a part of it. And being a part of honoring so many amazing library workers and trustees is very gratifying.

Hardcover, paperback, e-reader, or all three?

All three with a strong preference for paperbacks.

Favorite author?

Raymond Chandler.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what five books would you bring with you to pass the time until being rescued?

Oh my goodness. They’d have to be big books, right? So, how about: 1) a complete Shakespeare 2) War and Peace 4) David Copperfield 4) Gravity’s Rainbow 5) Infinite Jest. I’ve only read two of these and some of two more. I hope I don’t hate them!

Cat or Dog? 

Dog, but cats are very welcome in my world.

Favorite film, podcast, or television show?

The Third Man.

One person you would like to meet, dead or alive, and why?

Wow. Thelonious Monk. Because I’d love to hear him play piano in person.

If you ask me any of the above questions except the 1st and 4th tomorrow, you’d likely get completely different answers.

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