Nancy Evans, young adult librarian at New York’s Levittown Public Library, got the idea for her young adult (YA) program Strong Girls School after she shared YA author Maureen Johnson’s post “Why Do We Photoshop People?” with the girls in her writing program. They loved it, and their reaction inspired Evans to develop a program to support and empower girls as they deal with gender issues such as self-esteem.
Chancey Fleet first visited the New York Public Library’s (NYPL) Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library on a trip from Virginia in the 1990s. “I was blown away by the browsable Braille collection,” she says. “I was ten or 11, and I checked out a bunch of choose-your-own-adventure books.” Upon returning to New York as an adult, she adds, “I already had an affinity for the library.”
As an army veteran returning from Iraq in 2007, Sarah LeMire struggled to balance family responsibilities with her pursuit of a master’s degree in English. A few years later, in library school, she found a support network through the campus veterans office. At meetings with the student veterans group, she met people who understood what it was like to leave a war zone and attend college.
In 2016, as the second annual statewide NJ Makers Day neared, the event’s lead founder, Piscataway Public Library (PPL) emerging technologies librarian Doug Baldwin, received ten Maker kits. The good news: the kits had been paid for by a sponsor. The bad news: they arrived so late that Baldwin had to convey them himself to participating sites. “I got in my less-than-reliable car and mapped out a path to deliver all ten kits…in one day,” Baldwin says. “The fates certainly smiled on me as my car did not break down logging those miles.”
For most parents, reading a story aloud to their children is a bond-building experience they wouldn’t trade for anything. Not everyone, though, has that opportunity. “For parents who are incarcerated, and for their children in particular, that loss of connection can take a devastating toll that could last a lifetime,” says Nick Higgins, who spearheaded TeleStory, a program at the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) to help alter this particular unhappy ending.
“Sarah Bean Thompson is a readers’ advisory [RA] rock star!” raves Jessie East, branch manager of the Library Center of the Springfield–Greene County Library District. “She has an infectious passion and incredible talent for RA, [and] every program she does leads attendees right back to books, whether it’s a mock awards session for families and educators or a Geeky Storytime for preschoolers and their caregivers.”
Cynthia Mari Orozco realizes asking a librarian for assistance can be intimidating. Her first and only experience asking for guidance as an undergraduate resulted in her quickly leaving the building. These days, Orozco goes out of her way to make herself approachable to students who may be experiencing library anxiety.
“I can’t afford both books and food,” reads a University of Idaho student’s comment on a Change.org petition to reduce the cost of textbooks. “I have to choose to either eat or pass my classes.” That student has a champion in Annie Gaines, who moved from a clerical position to become the University of Idaho Library’s first scholarly communications librarian.
Erik Berman subscribes to a “teen run, teen led” mentality, according to senior librarian Sharon Fung at San José Public Library (SJPL). “He works tirelessly to get to know his teens, build their confidence, and guide them into taking an active role in the library.” Hand in hand with local teens and professional designers, Berman is responsible for the creation of the new teen center, TeenHQ, in San José’s central Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.