November 19, 2017

Lisa Chow | Movers & Shakers 2010 – Change Agents

Library Journal March 15, 2010: Lisa Chow, Mover & Shaker

The Road to Wellness

“Health is an everyday application of science, and it affects everyone,” says Lisa Chow. That simple truth is largely what drives Chow, who works in the Division of Society, Sciences and Technology at the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), to bring health reference services to Brooklyn’s diverse communities every day. Her many accomplishments include developing a genetic awareness program with Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College and helping organize a two-day “Sibshop” training session for siblings of kids with special needs.

Her people-oriented approach to librarianship also led Chow to launch BPL’s new Book-a-Librarian service, which she describes as a “user-centered reference model where patrons can meet one-on-one with librarians for research assistance.” Similar to consultations offered in academic libraries, the Book-a-Librarian idea started as a grad-school project (developed with 2010 Mover & Shaker Sandra Sajonas) in response to libraries’ increasingly automated services. They proposed it to BPL’s director, and, after much brainstorming, it finally rolled out in September 2009. The program has garnered “very positive evaluation responses so far,” says Chow, who created forms to evaluate, revise, and improve it.

Chow draws strength by defying the “50 Reasons Not To Change” listed on a poster in her office (featuring gems like “It’s too ambitious” or “We’ve always done it this way”). “I’ve heard a lot of these reasons during my time at BPL,” says Chow, “and I don’t pay too much attention. If you’ve got an idea, I say, ‘Run with it, despite all the barriers.’”

Vitals

Lisa Chow, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

CURRENT POSITION Librarian, Central Library, Society, Sciences and Technology Division

DEGREE MLIS, Pratt Institute, 2009

UNDERGRAD KUDOS Founded Help To Overcome (H2O), a student wellness organization at Pace University

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