Interviews with ALCTS Leaders: Jennifer Bowen, ALCTS President-Elect

Headshot of Jennifer BowenWhat is your full time position?

I serve as associate dean for scholarly resource management at the University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries. Scholarly resource management includes collection strategies, acquisitions, and metadata services.

What are some interesting things you’re working on?

My biggest project right now is overseeing our move from Voyager to Alma. Fortunately, we have a little less than a year before implementation! I’m also working with my local colleagues to assess upcoming needs for digital infrastructure and metadata services to support research data, as well as tools to be used campus-wide to study and increase the university’s research impact.

What do you do in your leadership role with ALCTS?

As chair of the ALCTS Leadership Development Committee from 2015 to 2018, I mostly attempted to inspire others on the committee to take on projects and made sure that they had what they need to be successful. It was easy because everyone on the group already aspires to be a leader and is eager to volunteer for opportunities.

How did you come to serve in a leadership role with ALCTS? What prepared you, and how did you get the position?

I was invited to fill in for a year as ALCTS director-at-large when a seat became vacant, as I had served on the ALCTS Board a few years prior. As part of that role I was assigned to be the ALCTS Board liaison to the ALCTS Leadership Development Committee. When my year on the Board ended, I was asked to serve as chair of that committee—a wonderful opportunity!

Earlier this year I was elected the 2019–2020 president of ALCTS, so I have served as ALCTS president-elect (try saying that three times quickly…) since the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. At any normal time that would keep me busy, but as ALCTS, LITA, and LLAMA are discussing forming a new ALA division, the coming years ought to be especially interesting and challenging.

What accomplishments in this role are you most proud of?

While I can take very little credit for any of it, I am most proud of the work of the ALCTS Leadership Development Mentoring Subcommittee to create and bring the ALCTS Mentoring Program into existence. I was not the person with the initial vision for the program, and I didn’t personally do the bulk of the work to make it happen, but I hope that I was able to provide the right kind of support and guidance to help ensure that it had a successful launch.

Do you participate in other professional activities or have other professional interests you haven’t already mentioned?

I also serve on the OCLC Global Council as an Americas Regional Council delegate and on the EAST (Eastern Academic Scholars Trust) Executive Committee. I’m very interested in how both of these organizations can further support distributed print collection retention activities. The devil is so often in the (metadata) details to make that work successful.

Tell us a little bit about your family and pets.

My husband, Mark Schrader, is a semi-retired electrical engineer and aspiring entrepreneur. Our son, Edward, is 26, and our daughter, Ann, is 20. We have two almost-identical-looking cats, Oliver and Peanut. We have had an empty nest for a few months at a time, but at the moment it is full again, which I am enjoying.

What do you do in your spare time?

Now that it’s summer I enjoy puttering around in my yard—it’s not intentional enough for me to really call it gardening. When the weather isn’t nice in Rochester, I enjoy shopping in consignment stores and upcycling clothing and other weird treasures.

What is something unique or intriguing about you that you’d like to share?

My older sister, a former reference librarian, first suggested that I get my library degree—I think she was afraid I would starve playing oboe and English horn semi-professionally! I started my library career as a music cataloger and ended up participating in ALCTS through serving as the Music Library Association liaison to CC:DA (Committee on Cataloging: Description & Access). I’ve been a member of ALCTS ever since.

What is your favorite book?

Are we There Yet? a novel by Diane Vreuls from 1975. My father, who was a professor of theater, adapted it as a chamber theater production, and I have always loved it.

What is your professional or personal philosophy?

My favorite line from my favorite musical (with a librarian as the female lead!) is “I always think there’s a band, kid”—spoken by Professor Harold Hill.

What else would you like readers to know about you?

I’m humbled to have been elected to serve as president of ALCTS, and I look forward to my first task as president-elect: getting to meet many ALCTS members during the committee appointment process. I hope you will all share your thoughts and ideas with me about the future of our association in the years ahead.

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