Meet Valerie Acklin! An RT Member Profile

By A. Faulkner

What is your role in the GLBTRT?

At present, I’m just a regular member. But I hope this is the start of a more active role on my part!

What does the GLBTRT mean to you?

So many things: visibility within my profession, support and resources when facing challenges or tackling issues, and community when I need a queer space in Libraryland.

Are you involved in ALA in other ways?

I’ve lent a helping hand to the Graphic Novel MIG, which is part of the Games & Gaming RT. Mostly just assisting with organizing and presenting panels, and staffing the ALA booth at New York Comic Con.

What professional work do you perform?

As the Head of Reference Services at the small, suburban public library in my hometown (on Long Island), I get to do a little bit of everything: staff management, collection development, reference desk duties, budget stuff, basic tech support, community outreach, and even some YA and adult programming. I’m also on the executive committee of the New York Library Association’s Pop Culture Round Table, and help run LI PopCon — an annual regional conference focusing on pop culture in libraries. It never gets dull and I work with best folks ever. Doesn’t get much better than that!

What would you like to share about your personal life?

Is “lesbian geek” a thing? Sums me up pretty well. Recent unhealthy obsessions include Bomb Girls (how did I miss it before now?), the new volume of Sunstone, and daydreaming about what will become of Cosima and Delphine on the final season of Orphan Black. I’m also an avid collector of queer comics, and look for any opportunity to cosplay Doctor Who’s Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint with my equally geeky girlfriend. I’m also the mother to the most amazing 21-year-old son, as well as a pet mom to two miniature poodles, a tabby cat, and a rambunctious turtle.

What are you most proud of?

Professionally, I’d have to say creating and implementing the project for my library’s ALA/Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant. It was a lot of hard work, but what a blast! Personally, I’m incredibly proud of raising a truly decent human being from birth to adulthood, as well as simply surviving all of the surprises that life has presented!

Who inspires you?

My partner, whose patience, persistence, and love are unending. She is the love of my life! My son, whose independence, acceptance, and genuine kindness astound me. And my friends, who have overcome extraordinary obstacles with grace, determination, and dignity.

What are your goals? (Professional and/or personal.)

To continue sharing with and learning from others, to increase my capacity for kindness and understanding, to be more willing to break out of my comfort zone, stand up for what I believe is right, and resist what I feel is unjust.

What do you think (or predict) is the future of libraries?

Libraries are more important than ever. Access to facts (not the alternative variety) and information is key to maintaining our democracy, and libraries will continue to play a key role in assuring unfettered access to all.

In what direction would you like the GLBTRT to move in the future?

I’d like to see increased opportunities for members to connect, both virtually and IRL. There’s so much wisdom to share!

If you could be transported into the fictional world of any book, where would you go?

I would love to find myself at Madwimmen Books from Dykes to Watch Out For.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

I’m Just Sayin’

If you could only choose one song to play every time you entered a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Here I Am / Lyle Lovett

If you could have a dinner party with 5 culturally or historically significant figures, living or dead, who would you invite?

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Maya Angelou, George Carlin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Mahatma Gandhi

What is the meaning of life?

No clue. But I hope it has something to do with bacon.


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