March 24, 2017

Erik Berman | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Change Agents

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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.

Emily Johansson & Laura Rogers | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Change Agents

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Richland Library’s Laura Rogers remembers a morning several years ago when her then young son was struggling to read the words on a cereal box: “He sighed deeply and put his head in his hands as he said, ‘I wish I could just read what that says!’ ”

Katie Johnson | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Change Agents

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A few years ago, then youth services manager Katie Johnson noticed that no one from Pinewood Gardens, a subsidized housing development near the Twinsburg Public Library, was coming to story time. She reached out to the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) to ask about setting up a weekly story time at the site, home to nearly 95 low-income kids under five. The answer was yes, and Johnson partnered with AMHA employee Kellie Morehouse to create Play, Learn, & Grow, an early learning and support program, in a vacant room near the leasing office.

Gina Seymour | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Change Agents

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Gina Seymour’s grandmother was a clerk at the Queens Borough Public Library, NY, and as a kid, Seymour spent many hours there. Unlike at school, where her book selections were limited to those with the “pukey green” level label, she says, at grandma’s library she could read any book and learn about experiences different from her own.

Aiden Street | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Change Agents

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Aiden Street has all the instincts of a great librarian. “I want to know what keeps people up at night—what are they worried about and what can the library do to help them achieve their goals?” As regional coordinator for the Pioneer Library System (PLS), Norman, OK, and Moore Branch manager, she is perfectly situated to help alleviate some of those worries.

Sophie Maier | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Change Agents

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Raised by activist parents, Sophie Maier has had a career defined by advocacy. After the events of 9/11 rocked the global community, Maier, who had spent time abroad and had more travel plans ahead, decided to stay in the United States and explore her hometown: Louisville, KY.

Jason Kucsma | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Change Agents

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When Jason Kucsma arrived in February 2015 at Toledo Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL) as deputy director, he already had six years under his belt repositioning the Metro New York Library Council. One of his first goals at TLCPL was to work with the library’s public service administrators to formulate a strategic plan. The library’s prior plan had recently expired, and Kucsma knew they “needed a road map for change.”

Mara Thacker | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Community Builders

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Mara Thacker’s love of Indian culture began at 18 when she watched her first Bollywood film. Captivated, she dove into South Asian literature, learned Hindi, and, ultimately, earned a degree in Indian literary and cultural studies. This gave her the tools to create a unique collection of South Asian comics and graphic novels at her library.

Robyn Saunders | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Community Builders

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For more than 25 years, Robyn Saunders has worked with people seeking to change their lives. That number is about equal to the number of nominations she received—from colleagues, social workers, community board members, organizations, job seekers, and others.

Colette Poitras | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Community Builders

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As a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Colette Poitras understands the impact library access can have for Canada’s indigenous populations—and how the smallest of obstacles can undo those benefits.