Assistant Systems Administrator
Arapahoe Library District, Englewood, CO
MA/MSLS, English and Library/Information Science, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, 2002
Auraria Library Excellence in Research and Creative Activities Award, 2008, 2011
Photo ©Sean McGinty Photography LLC
Six weeks into her new job with the Arapahoe Library District (ALD), on a sunny December morning in the greater Denver area, assistant systems administrator Nina McHale attended a meeting about—what else?—the summer reading module.
But for McHale, it made sense. Well-developed projects take time. Innovation requires planning. As a library professional seeking cutting-edge avenues for technology to serve patrons better, she knows it’s usually best to keep the big-picture questions simple.
“What do the kids want?” That’s her motivation. “What do the teens want? How do we develop that? I’m just hoping that, if I build it, they will come,” says McHale.
McHale, respected industrywide for her fluency in Drupal, UX (user experience), and web content development, started at ALD in November 2011 after working at the University of Colorado Denver’s Auraria Library. With three kids of her own, she was excited to trade an academic setting for ALD’s nine-branch community library network.
“I think the future of libraries is putting more of our resources toward technology,” McHale says, and that’s long been a theme of her public speaking and published works. “She writes articles about it, speaks about it, teaches workshops on it—virtually every way a person can get the word out,” says colleague and LJ blogger Roy Tennant.
“For web folks like me, who are essentially one-person shops,” McHale says, “CMSs like Drupal can help develop robust, flexible web sites and tools at a low cost. If you…have a vision of what’s possible, [you] can make it happen.”