February 11, 2016

Hannah Sommers | Movers & Shakers 2013 — Innovators

Behind the Broadcasts

Hannah Sommers - Movers & Shakers 2013


Program Manager
National Public Radio, Washington, DC

MLIS, University of Texas at Austin, 2002

Yoga Devotee
Inversion of choice: headstand

@nprlibrary; @hsommers

Photo by Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Just like the news gatherers they support, National Public Radio (NPR) librarians are ready to pivot on short notice. Hannah Sommers, an NPR program manager—a new role for librarians at the organization—uses her librarian skills in nontraditional ways to ensure the network has the behind-the-scenes tools it needs to thrive in a rapidly changing environment. “Hannah’s groundbreaking work sets the NPR Library apart in the media industry and in the library world,” says Laura Soto-Barra, NPR’s chief librarian. “Her team demonstrates what the future of our profession holds for those willing to embrace a fast pace of change.”

Sommers, who has been at the network since 2004, moved to her current position in March 2012 as director of the library product development team. Before her promotion she led initiatives to preserve NPR’s broadcast and music archives by expanding and upgrading databases and servers. She led a small team to develop internal products that didn’t exist just over a year ago. In November 2011, her team introduced new archival software to store broadcasts, dramatically reducing the cataloging backlog from weeks to days. “She can see the bigger picture but can also recall the more specific items we may need now or in the future,” says Constance Miller, senior project manager for NPR’s digital media department.

Sommers says that she looks for internal partners for projects, advocates for resources, communicates with stakeholders, and determines how to keep new initiatives moving forward. “Our industry, the media, is experiencing a lot of disruption. The business model is being remade right before our eyes,” Sommers says. She is on the front lines of those remaking it.

Create the Library Your Community or Campus Needs
LTC Online Course Join Library Journal and a roster of design experts for our latest 4-week interactive online course. Starting January 27, 2016, Library Design Workshop will guide participants through complex issues of library space design projects such as space programming, fundraising, and finding the right design team.
  • Develop a roadmap to create a flexible library space suited to your community.
  • Inspiring ideas, concepts, and perspectives from leaders in the library design field.
  • Build a framework to create a robust report for key stakeholders.
Lead the Change logoLTC register Lead the Change
Library Journal's Lead the Change offers timely resources and tools to stay ahead of the innovations and changes impacting the library profession. Library staff at all levels can participate in hands-on live events, access insightful on-demand webcasts, and enroll in LTC Leadership Academy - Online, a new online learning program that will help staff learn essential skills to advance their careers, solve problems unique to their libraries, and put strategic plans into action. LEARN MORE