Learning Engagement Manager
Richland Library, Columbia, SC
MLIS, University of South Carolina, 2006; Graduate Performance Diploma with Distinction, Longy School of Music, 2004; MM, Flute Performance, University of Georgia, 2001
Recorded an indie-rock album with local hipsters while a student at the University of Georgia
Photo by Kickstand Studio
As learning engagement manager at Richland Library, with 11 branches and 403 employees, Susan Lyon cultivates a culture of experimentation. Starting in April 2011, Lyon led weekly eReady takeovers at local restaurants and cafés, where she and other mobile librarians showed patrons how to access Richland Library’s digital offerings, including ebooks, e-magazines, free music, and language-learning services.
It paid off. In December 2011, the library checked out 11,585 ebooks, compared to 3,062 in December 2010—a 278 percent increase. “It’s about personalizing…making connections…starting conversations…meeting [people] where they are,” explains Lyon.
Lyon’s efforts aren’t only external. She’s introduced a library “Leadership Class” to select and train promising employees and transformed the library’s new employee orientation process, focusing on the library’s promises to the community and building on the talents of new staff. Under the New Employee Experience Transformed (NEXT) initiative, new employees are immersed in the library culture, paired with a buddy, and participate in customer-experience workshops and role-playing.
“Susan is a very special member of our library, and I am constantly awed by her patience, positivity, commitment, and ingenuity,” says Thomas Lide, learning engagement librarian at Richland Library.