Leaders of Tomorrow: Annie Pho

Annie Pho's Picture

Annie Pho

I’ve known Annie Pho for so many years now that I’m not sure when exactly we met. Annie Pho is an Academic Resident Librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she works in reference and instruction. She’s currently working on a grant project to implement digital badges to teach information literacy skills online at UIC. Annie is a 2014 ALA Emerging Leader and is working with her team to provide ALCTS with best practices for their social media accounts. She occasionally blogs and tweets as @catladylib.

1. How did you first become interested in librarianship?

I grew up going to libraries as a child. My mom took me there a lot growing up. The library was my homework helper, my entertainment, and my second home. In high school, I volunteered as a shelver at the public library, and when I started at community college, I worked at the circulation desk. I didn’t consider librarianship as a career option until I had moved to Savannah, GA for art school and didn’t end up going (for various reasons). I started looking for jobs in the area and saw an advertisement for an art librarian. I remembered how much I had enjoyed working in a library and realized that it could be a career option. I ended up moving back to CA, finished my bachelor’s, then went to grad school to be a librarian.

1a. If you had a previous career please tell us a little about it and your transferable skills.

I didn’t really have a career prior to becoming a librarian, but I worked in coffee shops for many years. Many of the skills like customer service, staying calm during stressful transactions, and prioritizing tasks really did transfer to libraries, especially when I worked at a smaller library where we had to do a little bit of everything.

2. How would you describe yourself in 5 words or less?

Considerate, collaborative, analytical, motivated, and good-humored.

3. What do you see as some of the major challenges facing librarians in the coming years?

Some of the major challenges are related to budget cuts and having to do more with less. This applies to not only public libraries, but many academic libraries as well.  Related to that is the rising cost of journals and decreasing library budgets, and scholarly communication. It’s not necessarily a challenge, but academic librarians are going to need to start talking to their faculty members about the Open Access movement, and other aspects of research like data management.

4. What would you like to accomplish or work towards as a librarian?

As an instruction librarian, I would like to improve as a teacher and explore innovative ways to impart information literacy skills. I also want to contribute to conversations about the lack of diversity in our field. How can we improve this and what can we do to make our field more diverse? That is not an easy task, but it is something that I would like to work towards, along with a community of other like-minded professionals.

5. When you aren’t on the clock how do you like to relax?

I like hanging out with my kitties and my partner, and exploring Chicago. I also love riding my bike and checking out all the bike paths in the Chicago area. Last year I participated in Cycling for Libraries and hope to do it again this summer so I’ll need to train for riding my bike in France!

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Succession Planning and Implementation

Cover for Succession Planning and Implementation I am pleased to announce to publication of :

Deards, K. & Springs, G. R. (Eds.). (2014). Succession Planning and Implementation in Libraries: Practices and Resources. Hershey, PA: IGI-Global.


As the baby boomer generation begins to retire, the focus shifts to the next generation of global leaders in diverse industries. Within the field of library science, succession planning has become a topic of interest to ensure the success of future libraries as the workforce shifts and enable up-and-coming leaders.

Succession Planning and Implementation in Libraries: Practices and Resources provides valuable insight into the process of implementing succession planning in libraries. This book delves into the challenges and possibilities of a succession plan’s effect on the success of library organizations. Human resources officers, library administrators, academicians, and students will find this book beneficial to furthering their understanding of current practice in succession planning.

Congratulations to all of the writers for sticking with this project and making it happen!

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SciPop Talks! Meet us at the Intersection of Science and Pop Culture

SciPop Talks Schedule of Events Image

SciPop Talks Schedule of Events

One of my favorite reasons for not having time to post here is our new SciPop Talks! series hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries in collaboration with the UNL Department of Chemistry and Doane College.

Check out this great Storify of Dr. Raychelle Burks’ talk on how to survive the Zombie appocalypse.  Video coming soon by popular demand! In the meantime fight smarter not harder and check out the webpage for her talk for related books, movies, links, and more!

Below is a quick video ACS Reactions made with Raychelle based on her talk.

The Storify for Dr. Mark Griep’s talk on Alien Biochemistry in the Movies even includes an interview with an attendee. Check out the webpage for related materials including Dr. Griep’s book ReAction! Chemistry in the Movies.

There are two questions everyone seems to want to know the answer to. Are the talks successful and how did they come about? So far we’ve have four talks and 200+ attendees! (Note I did not count library staff and student workers, or journalists, in this number.)

The talks came about mainly because we finally had the right group of people at the right time. Rebecca Lai and Raychelle Burks organize the speakers, Joanie Barnes organizes the space, library support, and publicity. I primarily organize the webpage, books for checkout display. We all brainstorm what to do next, how we can tie other outreach events into future outreach activities, what’s working and what’s not.  All of us are well connected but with very different networks. Interestingly I am the only person who knew all the individuals before this project started.

In many ways this is a prime example of what I do, connecting people with the same interests and passions, this time is unique in that for once I stayed involved. Usually the people I connect are working on projects outside my scope and/or areas of interest.  You never really know what the future will bring, but you put together four very driven people and that odds are in your favor. We’re already planning on who else we need to collaborate with on campus, Office of Research and Economic Development for one, to capitalize on our momentum to do some serious science outreach and education.

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