If you had been in LJ ’s offices the first week in March, you could have walked the length of one long white wall covered with 11″ x 17″ color blowups of the 21 Movers & Shakers who made it to our photo shoot at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Dallas. Every time I wandered by, I was struck by the energy that came off that wall. You’ll be blown away, too, not just by the photos of all 53 Movers & Shakers in this issue but by the profiles as well.
The themes that run through these point us to a vital future for libraries: connecting people with the things and information they need, including one another. Creating opportunities for cooperation and collaboration among libraries and librarians as well as in communities. Building relationships outside libraries and taking library service in whatever form to places where people congregate. Serving the underserved, encouraging and teaching reading, and helping children and adults, college students and faculty, immigrants and natives, get the skills they need to survive in the 21st century—be it digital know-how, information and financial literacy, ebook and ereader savvy, and more.
That’s a tall order but not for these Movers & Shakers—and the thousands of librarians they represent.
A favorite group of mine, mostly because of the label we’ve given them, are the Recession Busters. However, that name could be applied to every single Mover & Shaker, because the services they provide reach so many at so little actual cost.
There’s Amanda Ellington, who left her job as a middle school teacher because she hated teaching to standardized tests. “Public libraries are where children can have fun reading…sadly, not schools,” she told St. Mary’s County Public Library, MD, director and nominator Kathleen Reif, who hired her. Working on a “very ” limited budget, Reif wrote, and using low-cost materials and existing staff, Ellington has created 15 active learning spaces that respond to the needs of young children, based on the latest early literacy research. “[I] wanted more positive interactions with children and reading,” said Ellington. Karen Knox, another Recession Buster, got her MLIS a dozen years ago and is now a director in Lake Orion, MI, where she worked with three college students on their senior design project to launch a mobile website and mobile library catalog with text notifications for her library.
In Greenville County, SC, Trinity Behrends used a $50,000 grant to fund a financial literacy program that impacted 2300 library users and nonusers—in 19 classes, including 12 offsite. That’s $21.74 per person. She identified a “stubborn market segment,” women 18–64, mostly lower income and heads of household, and used pre- and post-tests to assess changes in skills, knowledge, and behaviors. With a progam name like “Your Recipe for Success,” staff got the word out with flyers at grocery stores and ads on local cable on the Food Network, Oxygen, and A&E.
Josh Finnell, humanities librarian at Denison University, OH, is so many librarians wrapped up into one it’s hard to capture him on the page. Maybe that’s why he holds the record for number of nominations (it only takes one, but he had 17!). He has been described as “a magician when it comes to utilizing contemporary electronic resources.” That barely touches the surface of what he does across departments, including developing courses, teaching workshops, embedding himself in classes, offering personal research assistance, creating online tools and teaching students and faculty digital literacy, and writing and getting grants.
Behind every portrait of these Movers & Shakers, there is a deeper story of passion, dedication, and service. Everyone knows, you don’t go into librarianship for the money. Read the profiles, and take a look at the complete list of Movers from 2002 on, now numbering over 550, and at the Movers on the Map, sponsored by OCLC. Revel in what you and your colleagues have achieved.