STARGazing: Meet Adrian King

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1. Where are you attending Grad School?
I am enrolled in the iSchool at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I just complete my first semester—which I offer as a warning to folks in case my ambition seems too far reaching.

2. What would be the title of your autobiography?
Who Woulda Thunk? or Maybe Do the First Thing First. Both titles comment on how sound advice and gut instincts are worthy of consideration in decision making. I sometimes take the long ride to destinations that have more direct routes…but it’s always an interesting journey!

3. What drew you to RUSA STARS (or access services, etc.)?
I’m learning a great deal about information-seeking behavior and best practices in reference services. It’s fascinating to see the where these practices converge across information environments (e.g., public library vs. archives), but it is just as interesting to see divergences.

When I first began to learn about LIS, I became excited about all the different specialties—I wanted to make a pit stop in school library media on the way to academic librarianship with part time work as an archivist for special collections while focusing on community informatics. Whew!

Wisdom has prevailed (see my forthcoming autobiography titles…), now I’m fairly settled and quite happy about the idea of working in public libraries to provide information, programs, resources, and services that help individuals and communities work through ongoing, tough issues and improve quality of life.

My RUSA STARS affiliation is and will remain important in learning how to provide greater access to communities served by my institution, an institution that will presumably be impacted by local and state funding and social issues. Shared resources facilitate access equity and greater opportunities across multiple communities that might result from being privy to quality information and literature.

4. What are you passionate about? How does that passion inform your education/work?
I’m passionate about many things: good stories, creative nonfiction, personally defined success, seeing books, happy and well-cared-for children, truth, Truth, justice, peace, higher learning, continuing education, strategic planning, cooperation, collaboration, performance measurement, outcomes alignment, exceptional service, and creative problem solving.

It’s the creative problem solving, I think, that most informs my education and work. Understanding the philosophies and structures of quality information, and access to it, can lead to positive change in the lives of information seekers. Information specialists can lead patrons to information that corrects, redirects, inspires, and guides—I’m convinced that all of these activities will result in advancement of my other pursuits.

5. What do you feel are the benefits of your STARS membership, and why would you encourage others to get involved?
STARS membership offers the benefits of quality information, shared best practices, interaction with colleagues working across various information environments, and networking. I imagine that my STARS gazing as a graduate student is especially advantageous as a glimpse into expertise and professional practice in resource sharing.

6. What do you wish you’d known when you started library school (access services, etc.)?
I try not to dwell on what is behind me but instead focus on what’s in front of me. That said, I suspect my academic and research pursuits might be even more enriched had I interviewed professionals across information environments to learn of their experiences, professional interests, industry issues, and exciting projects being undertaken to ensure equitable access to quality information. My journey might be personally enhanced if I had more contact with individuals belonging to underrepresented groups within the industry. (Diversity in the field and diverse connections bring unique insights and interesting experiences that inform creative problem solving.) I look forward to interacting in these ways as I continue to develop professionally.

7. How has your STARS membership helped you so far?
As much as clichés can be unhelpful, I do appreciate the phrase “I don’t know what I don’t know.” As such, STARS membership has helped me mostly by providing access to professional documentation, such as the Interlibrary Loan Code and RUSA STARS’ 5 Things Every New Resource Sharing Librarian Should Know. As I continue to settle in to my life as full-time student, I will make time to participate on STARS committees to being working more directly in RUSA and glean from the experience and wisdom of STARS colleagues.

8. What are you reading?
Lots and lots and lots of research studies and scholarly articles and research studies. In my “spare time,” I escape through thrillers—which as I type this I realize that resource sharing systems (including interlibrary loan) enables my access to work by James Patterson, John Grisham, Walter Mosley and, most recently, David Baldacci* (I’m finishing up The Innocent right now). I’ve become a fan of series, and these authors have a number of protagonists whose development I can observe over time.

*So…this list is all men, mostly white. Guess I’ll be working with a reference librarian for recommendations of spine-tingling thrillers from a pool of more diverse authors—thanks, RUSA STARS!

9. Share your favorite fun fact about yourself
I fall to pieces over babies. I’m all goo-goo, ga-ga in their presence. It’s a little ridiculous, but I love how they invite us into their worlds of wonder and amazement and joy and hope. Not sure how fun that is, especially with this additional admission: I have two young adult children and have no desire for more. It’s true that I might be caught staring at their baby pictures, a stray tear falling when they don’t return my calls or texts, but I’m happy to live vicariously through others’ journey through infancy.

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