Scott Bonner had been serving as director of the Ferguson Municipal Public Library District, MO, for just over a month when the turmoil in Ferguson put his small library on the map. When fears of violence caused many businesses to close, Bonner kept the library open and conveyed the importance of it as an oasis for all the people of the town. Over months of unrest, the message remained intact: the library is a safe space and resource for all the members of a community.
Ignacio Albarracin, digital services coordinator at San Antonio Public Library (SAPL), knew the library’s digital resources were woefully underused. Albarracin wanted to change that. “We decided…to target potential users in a strategic setting where we could get [their] full attention—San Antonio International Airport,” he says.
Working the 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift at the University of Oklahoma’s Bizzell Memorial Library in his first full-time library job, Matt Cook noticed that students studying during those hours often appeared stressed out. Temporary diversions such as Facebook or other social media only seemed to distract them. Leveraging his background in philosophy and cognition, Cook began to think about how technology might help solve this problem instead of contributing to it.
Just three weeks before the 2010 Deepwater Horizon (or BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Jennifer Hamilton had transitioned out of a 20-year career in nonprofit administration to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a librarian. Her first job was as reference librarian at the Terrebonne Parish Library (TPL) in the bayou country west of New Orleans. When a group of high school students showed up at the library, asking to use a library conference room, Hamilton learned that the teens were researching the impacts of the oil spill on the local environment and economy and organizing ways to help.
Soon after Salwa Ismail became the head of library information technology at Georgetown University (GU) in 2011, a network drive at the university library failed. She asked her team to stay late on a Friday night to replace it. “Things didn’t quite go as planned,” she admits. “Not only did we end up sleeping in the server room and eating in the closet next door to it, we spent the entire weekend up until 4 a.m. Monday morning fixing the issue.”
“My job is similar to a medical residency,” Sarah Espinosa explains. As the 2013–15 Residency Librarian for Diversity and Innovation at Towson University’s Albert S. Cook Library, she rotated through three departments her first year to see where her strengths and interests lie, and she left a significant mark on each.