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.
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’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 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.
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.”
As research director for the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), a New York City–based public policy think tank, David Giles had the chance to advocate on a grand scale—for the 217 branches across New York City’s three library systems. He wrote CUF’s 2013 report, “Branches of Opportunity,” which examined the roles of the city’s neighborhood libraries; in 2014, “Re-Envisioning New York’s Branch Libraries” focused on the severe design, space, and infrastructure challenges they faced.
In 2010, as deputy manager of the Carson City, NV, Office of Business Development, Tammy Westergard was exploring ideas for a property formerly occupied by the Nugget casino. At the same time, Carson City Library director Sara Jones was involved in a strategic planning process for a new downtown branch. The two joined forces, developing an ambitious public-private partnership for a 65,000 square foot library. Westergard, with no previous library experience, became deputy library director.
A former high school teacher and teacher librarian, Cecilia LaFrance is now a voice for people who cannot get to a library. Since she joined Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL), CO, in 2014 as public services coordinator for the Library 2 You program, which includes a bookmobile and home delivery services to 38 senior facilities and three correctional institutions, she has helped to empower senior and incarcerated patrons by bringing library services to them.