In 2009, Sarah Sagmoen was one of 100 librarians vying for an entry-level position at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Brookens Library. “She was not the first person who jumped out at us on paper,” admits Jane Treadwell, the library’s dean. “However, one member of the search committee kept saying, ‘There’s just something about Sarah—you’ve got to talk with her.’ ”
Karen Lauritsen was not necessarily seeking library work when she left her job in continuing education at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), three years ago, but she knew she wanted an environment where unconventional, interactive learning could thrive. “I was looking for an agile organization in education or public service that embraced creative experimentation,” Lauritsen says.
Jan Holmquist’s nominators describe him as a “global librarian,” and it’s easy to see why. In addition to his current work as head of development for Denmark’s Guldborgsund libraries, Holmquist’s side projects tend to involve collaboration with librarians all over the world. He is engaged with ongoing international projects in Germany and the Read Watch Play Twitter reading group based in Australia. And in 2011 and 2012, he worked with librarians in the United States and the UK on the “Buy India a Library Project” and then built awareness of the program’s efforts with a presentation on crowdfunding for libraries at the Bibliothekartag conference in Hamburg, Germany.
As learning engagement manager at Richland Library, with 11 branches and 403 employees, Susan Lyon cultivates a culture of experimentation. Starting in April 2011, Lyon led weekly eReady takeovers at local restaurants and cafés, where she and other mobile librarians showed patrons how to access Richland Library’s digital offerings, including ebooks, e-magazines, free music, and language-learning services.
When Lianne Flax joined the State Library of Kansas (SLK) as online services and programming librarian in late 2011, SLK was a year into a battle to break its contract with OverDrive to work with multiple digital content vendors—and avoid a 700 percent increase in administrative costs. SLK eventually won, a success that was part of the inspiration for LJ to name state library head Jo Budler Librarian of the Year in 2013.
In his first job out of library school, Wake Forest University (WFU) librarian Kyle Denlinger took point on building WFU’s information literacy MOOC ZSRx: The Cure for the Common Web, which aimed to provide easy answers to common questions about online research. (For more on the MOOC, see “A MOOC of Our Own.”) The massive open online course drew on both Denlinger’s technology and teaching background. After all, it had been a part-time job in the library at the University of Cincinnati, where he received his BA, which derailed him from a career in teaching.
Cen Campbell founded LittleeLit.com in November 2011 to document her experiments using apps and ebooks in toddler and preschool story times in libraries and children’s museums in Silicon Valley. Soon, other children’s librarians, reviewers, developers, library administrators, and teachers from all over the United States and Canada began to reach out to LittleeLit.com to request training workshops and to share their own experiences on the blog in an effort to establish a community of practice around an issue for which there were limited professional resources and more than a little professional ambivalence.
Having worked in both academic and public libraries, Cathryne Kaufman (r.) and Brittany Dudek view community college librarianship as a specialty all its own. “No one is denied admission to Illinois Central College [ICC],” says library services director Kaufman. “Our students have different needs.” Beyond that, she says, “We serve the community as a whole but also our students and faculty and staff.” That’s a tall order, but these two have proven they are up to it.
As a child, says Caris O’Malley, “I harbored dreams of working at the library. Things weren’t always great at home, and our local library provided me with sanctuary.” O’Malley followed his dream, starting at Arizona’s City of Apache Junction Public Library in high school; he stayed for nearly 11 years, all through high school and college and receiving his MLS in 2010. Now, as teen services manager for the three million–plus users of the 17-branch Maricopa County Library District (MCLD), he’s helmed pilot projects like the Social Learning Labs, which deployed a mobile recording studio and filmmaking and digital art labs to branch libraries. The labs have enabled teens to produce four short films, several hundred photographs, one concert recording, and multiple digital art pieces.