Electronic services librarian Alicia Virtue’s unique perspective on websites, electronic resources, and teaching has led her to collaborate with other librarians, artists, and a database vendor to help users discover more at Santa Rosa Junior College’s (SRJC) two libraries. Her passion, says Virtue, is to “develop tools to make the best quality information available to students and instructors in the easiest way possible.”
The way Ciro Scardina sees it, “teaching is a performing art.” Scardina taught fourth grade for eight years before becoming the school library media specialist at P.S. 18 on New York’s Staten Island. Scardina’s lessons involve high-tech tools, all of which are available thanks to his impressive fundraising track record.
Not every library outreach initiative involves a traveling library housed in a souped-up Nissan Cube with more than $25,000 in audiovisual enhancements, an Xbox Kinect, a custom-built mount with a 37″ LCD screen, tower speakers, and much more. But not every librarian is Smitty Miller, whose showbiz background (she’s a former professional jazz singer) inspired Fraser Valley Regional Library’s (FVRL) Library Live and on Tour (LiLi). Since 2012, stereotype-shattering LiLi has reached more than 50,000 people through over 160 visits to local community events and social service agencies. LiLi has also issued 2,745 innovative Community Cards, which provide library membership to people with no fixed address, and has forgiven close to $16,000 in fines.
A self-professed book nerd, Robin Nesbitt knew even as a child that her life’s calling would be instilling a love of books in others. But she probably couldn’t have guessed what the scope of her efforts would be. Nesbitt hooks users on new books through bite-sized blog posts on the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) website, hosts CML’s book-related Facebook chat each month, and, of course, immerses herself in book-related conversations every day with her patrons.
Scholarly communications often involve seasoned academics, but Illinois Wesleyan University’s (IWU) Stephanie Davis-Kahl is more concerned with some less experienced scholars: students. As manager of the institutional open access repository Digital Commons @ IWU, “Stephanie is leading a growing national movement in academic librarianship by successfully working with stakeholders on her campus around issues related to the curation of original student work,” says Merinda Hensley, instructional services librarian/scholarly commons coordinator at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Stephen Grubb is always brainstorming ways to use technology both to promote and improve library services. He started experimenting with the use of custom QR codes that can be scanned with a simple smartphone app while he was in charge of programming at Florida’s North Regional/Broward County College Library. First, he used the codes to promote library events, but later he became much more ambitious, working with them to bring 34,000 public domain titles to readers on the go via a partnership with the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport.
From the 1850s to the late 1930s, the Sokaogon Chippewa tribe of Wisconsin lacked any legal right to its own lands—a history community member Omar Poler learned in a college class called Writing Tribal Histories. The class—cocreated in the early 1980s by Poler’s father—delved into an archival collection that documented the tribe’s winning fight for federal recognition.
“If you had told me at 18 that I would want to be a librarian, I would have said you were crazy,” says Wick Thomas. He already knew, however, that he’d be an LGBT advocate, because he’d begun as a teenager, holding his first protest in rural Missouri at age 16 against a state amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Thomas founded his high school’s chapter of the Gay Straight Alliance, was president of the University of Missouri–Kansas City Queer Alliance, and is now president of Empowering Queer Activists and Leaders (EQUAL), which provides activist and leadership training.
Classification is a cornerstone of library collections. After Emily Drabinski took a Theories of Classification class in library school and studied the “classification structures” of professional Scrabble players and high school wrestlers, she realized it was at the heart of human experience as well.