When she arrived to direct California’s San José Public Library in 2013, Jill Bourne faced the effects of years of decimating budget shortfalls and service cuts. The effectiveness with which Bourne spearheaded her Library Access Strategy, opened the libraries, built new relationships with and support from San José’s civic leadership, and leveraged partnerships and fostered innovation—and is now reaching beyond the library to a new citywide Education and Digital Literacy Initiative—has won over a newly inspired staff and convinced our judges to name her the 2017 LJ Librarian of the Year, sponsored by Baker & Taylor.
Nick Higgins emailed me the other day. He was a student in my class at what is now called the School of Information at the Pratt Institute in New York City, graduating in 2008. One of the joys of teaching is the continuing contact with students as they progress through their careers. In our profession that contact is especially gratifying.
Librarianship, as a field, has a major diversity problem. According to the American Library Association’s Diversity Counts, in 2009–10 (the most recent year for which we have numbers), 85.2 percent of credentialed librarians and 72 percent of library assistants were white. Two years ago, St. Paul faced a similar problem. Citywide, the workforce was 82 percent white. Yet the city population is only 60 percent white, and the school age population, 22 percent white.
“We are all walking stories, so it’s vital that as librarians, we learn the art of listening to story…” says Irvin, an assistant professor in the library and information science program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. “[We need to be] willing to share our own stories so that we best relate to patrons, communities, and stakeholders.”
How do we find that perfect hire? A recent email from Kit Stephenson, head of reference and adult services at Bozeman Public Library, MT, got me thinking: “I am trying to find the best questions to find a full-stack employee. A couple of attributes I require are compassion, team player, and thrives on change. I want someone to be a conduit, connector, and a discoverer.” That call back to Stacking the Deck raised this question: How do we find a well-rounded person amid a virtual pile of résumés and cover letters? Please consider the following as part of your potential discovery sets for future interviews.
Most academic librarians stepping into a position can model their work on that of their predecessors. But not Thomas Padilla. On his appointment in April as the first humanities data curator at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Library (and the first in the entire University of California system), Padilla has had to draw on a number of different disciplines to shape his role of working with data throughout its life cycle, creating a support plan for digital humanities researchers, and providing research data consultation.
On April 11, Tony Ageh became New York Public Library’s (NYPL) chief digital officer, responsible for developing strategy for the ongoing digital transformation of the institution, which includes making its collections and services as accessible as possible both locally and globally. Ageh most recently held a variety of leadership positions at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London, beginning in 2002. There he created and implemented the BBC iPlayer, an Internet television and radio streaming service, which has delivered over 10 billion programs to British users, and acted as controller of the BBC’s Archive Strategy, partnering with such organizations as the British Library and the Open Data Institute on the Digital Public Space, an open access approach to learning and cultural resources.
While serving as a library trustee is no longer the exclusive domain of retirees, or even those in late or midcareer, only the board of the Cornelius Public Library, OR, can boast a chair who is still thinking about her SAT scores. Sixteen-year-old Mariana Ramirez Godinez (pictured), a junior and honor student at Glencoe High School, where she plays violin and sings in Una Voz, the Hillsboro School District’s 35-member mariachi band, was unanimously elected chair of the 11-member Cornelius Library Advisory Board in December; she has been a board member since spring 2015, a volunteer for the past three years, and a fan of the library since she moved to Cornelius from Mexico ten years ago.
It’s easy to find advice on how to mentor a Millennial, but what if you are a Millennial, and you are the mentor? It’s bound to start happening. As of 2015, Millennials make up the largest proportion of the workforce. The oldest members of that generation are turning 34 and moving into management positions. Those of us who have moved into management have had help, and we should send the ladder back down.
Later this year Andrew Jackson, executive director of the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center in Corona, Queens, will be leaving the position he has held since 1980 to write and teach. A Queens native, Jackson grew up in East Elmhurst, receiving a degree in Business Administration from York College at the City University of New York and his MLS from Queens College. Stepping into the role will be Mikisha Morris, who has spent the majority of her career in nonprofit and public education administration in Philadelphia. Morris recently earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership, focusing on the use of cultural arts programs to serve urban communities.