March 22, 2017

Robyn Saunders | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Community Builders

Robyn Saunders


Senior Career Counselor, Department Head, Career, Education & Information Services (CEIS), Bronx Library Center, New York Public Library


MS, Public Affairs and Administration, Metropolitan College of New York, 2015


@robynsaunders21; CEIS at NYPL

Photo courtesy of Robyn Saunders


Making Waves

For more than 25 years, Robyn Saunders has worked with people seeking to change their lives. That number is about equal to the number of nominations she received—from colleagues, social workers, community board members, organizations, job seekers, and others.

Since 2012, she’s been senior career counselor with the New York Public Library (NYPL) and the head of Career, Education and Information Services (CEIS) at the Bronx Library Center (BLC), the largest NYPL branch in the borough. Her department has helped more than 15,000 people gain meaningful employment, return to school, or enhance their skill sets with training.

Through CEIS, patrons can book one-on-one career coaching and résumé assistance, attend career workshops, and more at branches in the Bronx and upper Manhattan. Especially noteworthy are the job fairs. The first, held in 2013 at BLC, drew more than 1,000 attendees, 20 employers, and a host of vendors. The fairs offer on-site interviews, job readiness workshops, and other services.

“I try never to refuse an invitation [to a job fair] from Robyn,” says Deborah O’Connor, a recruiter for NYC Transit Authority. “Her efforts provide NYC-based employers…with in-person access to a diverse, community-based talent pool. All of the job fairs are managed with precision.”

Saunders collaborates with organizations and government agencies citywide, including the mayor’s office and the Bronx borough president’s office, to promote both jobs for patrons and better representation of community concerns. She herself serves as second vice chair on the executive committee of Bronx Community Board 7.

A solid example of that engagement occurred in February 2017 when Saunders organized the first annual veterans breakfast at Lehman College, CUNY, where government officials “recognized, amplified, and honored” veterans and service providers by presenting them with “Soaring Eagle Awards,” Saunders says.

Many of the award winners are patrons of BLC, where she and her team work with them to transition back into the community as civilians, refer them for employment, and advocate on their behalf for access to support services.

Saunders’s department also facilitates career workshops at local high schools, colleges, treatment facilities, homeless shelters, and correctional institutions. “Our goal is to create a ripple effect that leads to quality change in the lives of our patrons and communities,” Saunders says. “We share our experiences, abilities, and skills to help others who are often at a crossroads…and unsure about the next direction to take.”


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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  1. Gesille Dixon says:

    Well deserved. Congratulations, Robyn.

  2. Jenny Baum says:


  3. Well Deserved.

  4. Marzena Ermler says:

    Congratulations, Robyn! Great article also.

    • Thank you so much, Marzena…It seems the two of us have a great work to be accomplished going forward. I look forward to sharing the journey and growing with you.

  5. Robyn, so happy to see you get the recognition you deserve. Thank you for always offering your time and talent to SAGEWorks jobseekers.

    • Michele,

      I truly enjoy coming to SAGEWorks, it is during these talks that we learn so much from one another, grow and press forward together. Remember, as individuals we are constantly evolving, much like the technology that exists today, together we share about what works and what does not and mull over the steps for going forward. I love you all and anytime, you will have me….I am There!

  6. I am proud of you, continue to let the work that you do; speak for You! I have seen first hand the positive impact you make in the lives of residents in the communities you serve. Get Ready, Get Ready, Get Ready………..God has a got a blessing with your name on it!

  7. Elruby Thomas says:

    So deserved. My dear. I am always proud as well as greatful for your contribution

  8. Thank you for alerting me that this opportunity even existed. It is truly an honor for me to extol your service and dedication to uplifting and showing the community at large how they can attain, maintain and sustain success!

    I nominated you 1 Billion times! I actually wrote that in answer to one of the questions. I pray that you are selected, because you have been and always will be a light in a dark place for so many, many people who were lost. I respect and am SO very fortunate that you spent some time with me to shine your light, given to you; and now I am paying it forward to ALL that I come into contact with. You have sown seeds on fertile ground that is now in harvest mode. You shall reap great rewards for your obedience. AMEN

    Thank you Robyn. May GOD ALMIGHTY continue to strengthen you on every side. May your resources ALWAYS be plentiful and used purposefully and responsibly. May you ALWAYS have a strong, dedicated and skillful team around you to assist you; to continue to enlighten and empower others to succeed in ALL their career endeavors and be able to conquer the challenges along the way to their success. May GOD’s Perfect Grace be continuously be poured upon you and saturate you to do even more for those who come, seeking guidance.

    Always With Respect and Gratitude,
    YOUR Community Chaplain, YOUR “Sistah” Sandra Mitchell
    Mental Health Advocate / Counsellor / Trainer
    Chairwoman – Disability Committee
    National Action Network
    Harlem – NYC Headquarters

  9. Pauline Cisse says:


  10. Patricia Williams says:

    Congratulations daughter dear, wonderful!

  11. Selena Shull says:

    Congratulations, Mommy! You Deserve this so much and I am so PROUD of you and so are your grandchildren.

    Love Selena

  12. congratulations!

  13. Minister Antoinette Etienne says:

    To God Be The Glory!!! Congrats!!!

  14. Congratulations!

  15. Congratulations on your award, you deserve it!

  16. Ms. Saunders congratulations on this award. You are truly deserving of it and most importantly, Thank You For gracing our young people with your presence each year. They learn so much from the Financial and Career Path Planning Workshops. Always provide new insights, packed with loads of cheer, laughter and words of wisdom!

  17. You’re great…your presentations are always engaging, “real” and interactive,…….thanks for working with our young adult here at the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council. Congratulations on your award, May Continue to Bless, Guide and Order Your Steps.

    We must do lunch…dinner…or even a snack…haha

  18. Elizabeth Carson says:

    Well deserved Congratulations !!

  19. Congratulations, Mrs. Saunders on this very prestigious award. You have truly set a high example for how communities can recognize the service of our Veterans and their family members, not only for other community boards in New York City; but throughout the country!

  20. Juan Garcia, Registered Nurse says:

    My name is Juan Garcia and I am an Registered Nurse in the State of New York. For the past year or so, I had a very difficult time finding a job. I went to hospital after hospital and applied every where, including outside the State, but I could not even land an interview.

    That was until I saw a flyer at the Bronx branch, NYPL. I met with Ms. Robyn Saunders and told her my situation as well as showed her my resume. She gave it a quick glance and told me “When do you want to meet?’ We met up and she not only helped me with my resume, but she also passed it around to various individuals working in HR in many institutions. Within about a month, I was given a position at Montefiore Medical Center with a starting salary of over $76,000 dollars/year.

    I am so truly thankful to Ms. Robyn Saunders, as well as the staff of CEIS at NYPL, for your dedication to helping me and countless others achieve our dreams. It is because of all of you I am able to start my career, and like all of you, work hard to make my community a better place. Thank so much again for everything. I am forever grateful.


  22. Congratulations! Well deserved.

  23. Congrats Robyn!!!!

  24. Good Morning,

    Congrats on your achievement. It’s well deserved!

    Best Regards,
    Associate Director-Staten Island Neighborhood Library Network

  25. Congratulations, Robyn! Great job!

    With appreciation,
    Associate Director for the Central Bronx Neighborhood Libraries

  26. Congratulations, Movers and Shakers!

    :-) Kasia
    Associate Director, Service Innovation & Impact

  27. Congratulation, Robyn!

    Customer Experience Coordinator
    Library Services

  28. Congrats — you are truly deserving!

    Associate Manager
    TechConnect Department

  29. Just want to give a shout-out to the LJ’s Mover and Shaker in our midst – Robyn Saunders.
    Congratulations, Robyn. We’re so proud of you.

    Managing Librarian
    Bronx Library Center

  30. Congratulations, Robyn. Well deserved.


    Unit Head-Reference Service
    Bronx Library Center

  31. Excellent job as usual Robyn.

  32. Congratulations!! Very excited to be working among such a motivated and inspirational group of people!

    Keep shining!

    Tiffany Alston
    Associate Director, West Bronx Libraries

  33. Congratulations, Mrs. Robyn Saunders

    Our Veterans send their love to you , each and everyday! Hard work is your first name, with a blessing! We are here to support you, in every way that we can!
    God Bless!

    Johnnie H. Williams, Jr.
    Help Is On The Way For Veterans 1024 CORP.

  34. Queen Lundy says:

    See I told you God always have a ram in the bush waiting for his anointed people to come by to bless them with his grace

  35. yyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay how we celebrating!!!!

    Love your, Sister
    ACF- Region 2 Executive Officer

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) A division of the Department of Health & Human Services. We promote the economic and social well-being of children, families, individuals and communities with leadership and resources for compassionate, effective delivery of human services

  36. Wonderful! Blessings! TGBTG! I celebrate you!

  37. Janet Lassala says:

    Congratulations, Robyn!

    I am one of the many proud individuals that you have helped with employment, skills training and social services resources. Thank You, for being there for me and listening to my concerns. and helping to gain confidence in myself and interviewing. You deserve this award and you wear it proudly.

  38. Aldo Rafael Perez says:

    There is no one so deserving of recognition than you Robyn. These past three years have been an overwhelming process of hard work and joy supporting in collaboration from job fairs to community educational forums. Our friendship has grown to a level that i respect, cherish and love. Your a true champion. God Bless You
    Aldo Rafael Perez
    Executive Director Governmental Affairs
    Bronx Community Council

  39. Ricardo Shark says:

    Ms. Saunders is one of the most profound and sensitive women I have ever met. She is with out a doubt ahead of her time in terms of predicting someone’s potential and encouraging them through light and graceful conversation.

    She is motivated by her desire to see others reach their full potential and beyond. It’s next to impossible to meet someone in this deminsion who has such care and compassion for the common person.

    All this is tied together by love reach forms an unbeatable equation that is transferred to those who are receptive to it.

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