Whether it is working with his colleagues in Brooklyn or with librarians nationwide, Michael Santangelo considers building partnerships one of the best parts of his job as Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL) electronic resources analyst.
“Collaboration is important if you really want to do something that is meaningful to as many people as possible,” he says. “Teamwork is probably the best way we have of injecting a democratic spirit into our daily work.”
Santangelo held a leading role in electronic content in the New York area as the former chair of the city’s local e-content public library consortium, helping to bring in major vendors and to negotiate group pricing.
Charlene Rue, BPL’s director of collection development, says that Santangelo has faced challenging questions and situations about electronic resources with diplomacy and grace, simply listening to concerns or helping educate stakeholders.
His work on BPL’s electronic resources led circulation figures to jump. Overall, downloadable circulation, including books and music, more than doubled from 2009 to 2010, rising from 50,163 to 100,397. The circulation of ebooks rose by over 230 percent, from 27,773 to 63,958, says Christine Stenstrom, manager of BPL’s Office of Materials Selection.
Although many of Santangelo’s daily duties focus on managing electronic content and training staff to help library users with databases and downloadable materials, he does far more. He has an extensive background in children’s services, which led him to help to organize the Association for Library Service to Children’s Intellectual Freedom Committee’s Kids Know Your Rights program in 2006 and 2007.
His involvement with collection development reinforced his efforts to champion the needs of diverse library patrons.
When a fellow librarian suggested that BPL needed to serve romance readers better, Santangelo wholeheartedly embraced the challenge. He launched the “Love in the Stacks” readers’ advisory program, inviting authors and publishers to speak on everything romance. His coworkers left as “certified romance librarians,” munching on the candy hearts he passed out, he says. Santangelo presented a single red rose to each speaker.
“I think coming from collection development instead of IT to my new position has given me a different perspective,” Santangelo says. “I was already well versed from my book selection days to know how to go about building strong collections and on what it means to be true to your users.”
For the patrons at BPL, Santangelo ensures a happily ever after.