Artemis Kirk '75LS Awarded 2013 Alumni Achievement Award by Jennifer Moyer
posted July 10, 2013 8:10 AM
"We can't do more with less. Instead, we must do things differently and shift the way we work to do things better. An enhancement of services doesn't come for free," said Artemis Kirk '75LS, recipient of the Simmons GSLIS 2013 Alumni Achievement award at the April 2013 GSLIS After Dark event. Recognizing that today's academic librarians are tested with determining how to manage social media, to support Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and to facilitate succession planning, Kirk knows it takes strategic thinking and collaboration across disciplines to transform challenges into opportunities.
Kirk places a premium on anticipating her community's needs and developing a pro-active response that is at least "two steps ahead" of a request. When it comes to social media, managing when and how to respond across all of the social networking channels can be an onerous task. Kirk has implemented initiatives using social networks and technology to shape discussions not only across the Georgetown campus, but around the world.
As the university librarian at Georgetown University, Kirk has positioned the library as the "icon of transformation" on campus by spearheading strategic initiatives that aim to change the way work is conducted by the university's community. As the first academic "information commons," the library's Gelardin New Media Center offers instruction and multimedia tools that allow students and faculty to create scholarly products that go beyond traditional publication in a peer-reviewed journal. By allowing scholars and students to create and disseminate documentaries, radio diaries, and digital stories among other works in several formats through social networking channels, Kirk's library has developed a platform that encourages innovation and community engagement.
In addition, MOOCs [See InfoLink April feature story] are gaining momentum in academia. As libraries support such courses, the Georgetown University library team is collaborating with faculty to identify needed resources to assure that the online version of a course matches the face-to-face version. By being a part of the conversation from the outset, librarians can be negotiators and brokers of information and can encourage the use of primary source materials available at their institutions.
Kirk also believes that demonstrating thought processes can be just as important as revealing a solution. Succession planning starts by building camaraderie "to advance the organization and to make it better than when you found it." While some library leaders tend to be risk-averse due to the costly expense associated with their decisions, Kirk advises the need to "balance risk and reward by encouraging leaderships at all levels of the library and by informing your successors." By using a staff wiki, her team is able to show how to approach a problem rather than just solving it, which is an integral part of how she educates her staff about how to be leaders.
Kirk's efforts demonstrate that librarians can play a significant role in providing continuity in times of change and shaping academic discourse. Simmons GSLIS wishes Kirk congratulations on her well deserved award.