Associate Director of Technology Education and Training, New York Public Library
MBA, Walden University, 2011
Photo by Patrick Heagney
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.
“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.”