October 23, 2017

Brandy McNeil | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Educators

Brandy McNeil

CURRENT POSITION

Associate Director of Technology Education and Training, New York Public Library

DEGREE

MBA, Walden University, 2011

FOLLOW

@Digivide (Twitter); nypl.org/computers

Photo by Patrick Heagney

MS_logo_300x81

Code Connector

Brandy McNeil knows all about libraries fulfilling a genuine community need for digital literacy and computer training. After more than a decade serving as global training analyst for a Fortune 500 company, McNeil joined the New York Public Library (NYPL) in 2011 as part of the library’s learning and development team. In short order, she was promoted to associate director of technology, education, and training, where she updated and expanded NYPL’s computer education offerings; hired more than a dozen trainers; established partnerships with Google, Codecademy, and the United Nations; branded the operation TechConnect; and more than doubled program attendance from 2013 through 2016. Last year, more than 102,000 NYPL patrons attended at least one TechConnect class, selecting from a schedule covering more than 100 topics ranging from computer basics to 3-D modeling.

TechConnect has demonstrated a growing demand for more advanced courses as well. In 2014, McNeil launched Project_<code>, originally an in-depth, eight-week class in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript built on the Codecademy model. It is now a ten-week, 40-hour course that enrolls a very diverse group of 400 students annually—more than 60 percent of attendees are female, and nearly half are black or Latinx. Almost all attendees finish the work, complete with a graduation ceremony, says nominator Luke Swarthout, NYPL director of adult education services.

“In a field that is known for a lack of diversity, Brandy created a quality program with her team that looks more like the library and our city than the average Silicon Valley business,” he writes.
The only drawback? Project_<code> has been such a success that 6,000 NYPL patrons are now on a waiting list.

“The patron stories continue to drive me,” McNeil says, relating anecdotes that range from people getting new jobs with the help of Project_<code> or TechConnect instructors to the enthusiasm of a class of senior citizens learning photo editing on tablets. “My job is to help give New Yorkers a way to be creative contributors to society, to their communities.”

McNeil is currently pursuing a doctorate in business administration from Walden University, where she earned her MBA, and she envisions continued expansion of TechConnect, both as a response to demand and as a result of remodeling projects—such as the Mid-Manhattan branch—that incorporate modern training centers, computer labs, and classrooms to facilitate the curricula.

“I’m shooting for the stars,” she says. “We’re going to be able to offer so many different programs.”

This article was published in Library Journal's March 15, 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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Comments

  1. Miriam Tuliao says:

    Congratulations, Brandy!

  2. Ms. Brandy. Congratulations!

  3. Congratulations, Ms. McNeil………….Well Deserved!

  4. Gesille Dixon says:

    Well deserved. Congratulations Brandy.

  5. Congratulations!!

  6. You’re famous! Congrats!

  7. Jenny Baum says:

    Congrats!

  8. Hey Brandy! So happy you finally got this recognition! You’ve been a rockstar since the moment you got to the library. Well deserved!

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