Coordinator of Online Resources & Collections, University of Houston, TX
MLIS, Valdosta State University, GA, 2012
Photo by Patrick Heagney
Moved by Multitudes
“I kind of thought you had to get a letter from Hogwarts to become a librarian,” says Lindsay Cronk, coordinator of online resources and collections at the University of Houston (UH). Luckily, her mother wasn’t a muggle: when she retired after three decades as a public school teacher, she turned to librarianship.
Cronk soon followed suit. After years of database administration and grant writing, she was looking for a change. “We supported each other through our MLISes,” she says. “It’s been awesome to work in a profession that embraced both of us in incredibly different points in our careers.”
Cronk works to extend that embrace throughout the library world as a coalition builder and tool innovator. Before coming to UH in 2015, she spent three years at LYRASIS, where, as membership manager, she worked with more than 1,400 academic libraries. In 2015, she was project lead on the LYRASIS eGathering, a one-day online annual meeting for members.
“She reimagined an event that had become stale to participants as an unconference, featuring diverse voices,” says nominator Mary Ellin Santiago, formerly director of member engagement at LYRASIS and now a VP of sales at Gale.
Cronk titled the event “Meditations in a Resurgency,” an allusion to Frank O’Hara’s poetry collection Meditations in an Emergency. Her approach to the eGathering, which in 2015 saw a surge in preregistrations and attendance, was inspired by a line from the poem “Ode”: “I am moved by the multitudes of your intelligence.”
That line also influences her work at UH. She’s developed multiple data dashboards that work as both internal analytics and external marketing tools for electronic resources. “They help librarians identify user needs, and they help users better see the collection as a whole,” she says. “Seeing the collection holistically is an ongoing challenge and one I love addressing.”
Cronk’s efforts to create a community of practice around e-collection development also led her to conceive a Collection Data Visualization Wiki, which currently has about 100 members, and a LibGuide to collection data visualization on the UH website. Santiago calls her work “a game-changer in library collections.”