Meet Mark Paris! An RT Member Profile

By A. Faulkner

What is your role in the GLBTRT? 


What does the GLBTRT mean to you?

It means visibility. By being visible, we can support our LGBTQ+ colleagues and build a more inclusive profession together. By being visible, we support our patrons and build more inclusive communities whether they be in an academic, corporate, medical, public, or school environment.

Are you involved in ALA in other ways?

I am also a member of ALCTS.

What professional work do you perform?

I am the Collections Analysis Librarian at Brandeis University. I spend my time working with our subject liaisons and other collections staff to develop more data-informed strategies for acquiring and curating our resources in support of the university’s mission.

What would you like to share about your personal life?

My husband’s name is Deric and he is a hair stylist in Boston. We have been married for four years and love travelling when we have the opportunity.

What are you most proud of?

Personally, I am really proud of the career that I have been able to develop. I ended up in librarianship in a context of crisis. My first master’s degree is in divinity and I was planning to be a minister; however, I was also in the process of coming out. As I was leaving seminary, I was also trying to figure out what was next. Fortunately, I ended up working for a library vendor and had a number of mentors that encouraged me to consider library school. I have not looked back since.

Who inspires you?

My husband definitely inspires me. His strength and determination are an example.

I also think that the numerous other generations of people who have fought for LGBTQ+ rights are inspirational. If any of us could have a small percentage of the strength and courage that they demonstrated, we would be unstoppable in what we could accomplish.

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

Professionally, I would eventually like to lead an academic library. I have a lot to learn in order to get there, but I love being able to empower people in their careers in the same way that others have done for me. When library staff feel empowered and confident, they are able to turn around and provide that same feeling to their patrons. It is my belief that when funders see the real value that libraries provide (both in terms of people and resources), we will be able to advocate for more resources in a powerful way.

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

When I was in library school, there was always this worry about the ability of people to get resources from places other than libraries. I have never shared that concern. I think the future of libraries is bright because they are uniquely positioned to help people find the best information to meet their needs.

With that said, I think there is a need for librarians to hone their technical skills. Regardless of our particular roles within the library, we need to feel more comfortable and confident with technology, software, and code.

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

I would like to see more partnerships and advocacy both within ALA and outside of ALA. For example, it would be great to see more partnerships within ALA to design best practices and policies for libraries around inclusion and equity. As an example of external advocacy or partnerships, it would be great to find ways to ensure our vendors are demonstrating our ideals. The Human Rights Campaign has an Equality Index for companies, so why not have an Equality Index for library vendors?

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

Though it isn’t a book, I think I would want to experience the world of The Doctor. It would be a combination of scary, exciting, and fascinating all at once.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

I’m not sure that I am interesting enough or ever will be interesting enough to write an autobiography!

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?

This question is impossible for me to answer. While I do gravitate to a song and play it over and over for a time, it is always changing.

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

Cleve Jones, Eleanor Roosevelt, Tim Cook, Oprah, MLK

What is the meaning of life?

Make your life have meaning


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