November 20, 2017

Jennifer Wann Walker | Movers & Shakers 2010 – Change Agents

Library Journal March 15, 2010: Jennifer Wann Walker, Mover & Shaker

Mississippi Moxie

One of the first things Jennifer Walker did when she began at Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) was to scrap a planned internship program.

“The more I thought about that project, the more I realized that an internship wasn’t what was needed,” she says. Walker had just finished her MLIS—to the tune of ,000, while working full time in a public library for less than ,000. She knew that most of her fellow students were already employed in libraries, too.

“Many talented folks in Mississippi’s public libraries simply cannot afford the degree. So, I proposed that we turn the internship into a scholarship,” she says. This kind of thinking is typical of Walker, says Sharman Smith, the executive director of MLC. “She expresses her opinion—even when its different from her superiors’.”

MLC has awarded nine scholarships to date—and two recipients are already working on the front lines of public libraries in Mississippi.

Walker has also built off of existing initiatives. She created Library 201 for library paraprofessionals, modeled on MLC’s successful Library 101 program. “I wanted to focus on the big picture of librarianship. We have five days on library ethics, advocacy, leadership, emerging trends, and organizational relationships.” Many are now requesting a 301 Institute, but Walker says, “They’re going to have to wait a couple more years for that!”

For all her accomplishments, Walker is modest. “My colleagues are the ones who should be honored. Their compassion and service make it very easy to be excited and creative about my own work.”

Vitals

Jennifer Wann Walker, Mississippi Library Commission, Jackson

CURRENT POSITION Director of Development Services

DEGREE MLIS, Univ. of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, 2006

PRESENTATIONS “Dewey or Don’t We? Classification of Library Materials,” Librarianship 101 Institute, Jackson, MS

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