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.
Inspired to action by the recent deluge of over 70,000 unaccompanied children crossing the southern border into the United States, Oralia Garza de Cortes, Lucía Gonzalez, and Patrick Sullivan spearheaded the Children in Crisis project in June 2014. The goal: to raise funds for books and backpacks for young refugees in detention centers across the country who awaited immigration processing or deportation.