Alison M. Armstrong
Title: Collection Management Librarian
Organization: Radford University
Born and Lived: I was born in Greenville, SC, raised in Asheville, NC, lived in Essex Junction, VT and currently live in Blacksburg, VA.
Professional Career and Activities: My professional career started June, 2011. My library experience began in 7th grade, “working” in the middle school library.
I was lucky enough to work as a student assistant in Special Collections while I was an undergraduate at UNCA and then, briefly as a Page in Asheville’s Pack Memorial Library.
I worked as a paraprofessional at Radford University for 4 years, got my MLIS and I was hired as the Collection Management Librarian this June.
Family: My family consists of my husband and our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. My extended family (especially, my favorite niece) resides in Asheville, NC and my husband’s extended family resides in Upstate New York.
In My Spare Time: I knit, make jewelry, volunteer, hike, camp, travel and, of course, play with the dog in my spare time.
Favorite Books: Anything by: Barbara Kingsolver, Carl Hiaison, Bill Bryson, Tom Robbins, David Sedaris.
Pet Peeves: Cutting corners to save time but sacrificing quality. I would rather do it right the first time than do it not-quite-right quickly and then have to do it again.
It means that I am also a fan of “if you want it done right, do it yourself” which, in reality, isn’t a good way to live.
Philosophy: Social action, social justice play a big part, so does my religious viewpoint. On the humorous side, I trend toward bumper sticker philosophies to capture the essence. (Syracuse Cultural Workers and Northern Sun.)
“Your silence will not protect you.” ~ Audre Lorde
Most Memorable Career Achievement: it’s coming. one-day.
Goal I Hope to Achieve Five Years from Now: I hope to have contributed in some way to my field. I want to be on my way to being known as a thinker/mover/leader.
How/Where I See the Industry in Five Years: We will better serve our constituents by having more direct feedback about what they want and what they are looking for. We will be more closely tied into what they are doing and seeking at a multitude of contact points (social network, web analytics, interest groups, etc.) that we will no longer be “divining” what they want, but, in some fashion, hearing what they want and need from them. In the past 5 years, I think we have seen a shift toward the individual in terms of how the individual expresses their needs, thoughts, experiences and so forth (Facebook, Yelp,TripAdvisor, blogs) that give individuals a place and the power to share all of that information. Along with that trend, I think that, it is no longer just the squeaky wheel that expresses what they want, but everyone has been given the means to express themselves and the affirmation that (to a degree) other people are listening to them.
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.