February 16, 2018

Sharon Mcqueen | Movers & Shakers 2004




She’s still in the wings, but once Sharon (Sherri) McQueen arrives on the stage of library education, innovation will surely follow. McQueen comes across like a fast-forward version of Katharine Hepburn’s Bunny Watson–without the fear of technology. Funny and clever, she seamlessly trades her comedy mask for tragedy when she turns to the future of library and information science (LIS) education. ‘There are crises facing library education today,’ she asserts. ‘Those of us who are ignoring them are doing it at everyone’s peril.’

McQueen won’t stand by as negative image, low status, and a lack of pay equity erode the profession. ‘Library image affects status, which affects pay,’ she drums. ‘The triad has to be addressed.’ With a 15-year career in theater, McQueen’s sense of the importance of image and her ‘stage’ comfort make her uniquely qualified to speak to the issue.

Her mission is to invigorate the future of librarianship by shaping education to serve students, most of whom will enter public library work. McQueen doesn’t turn a blind eye to the problem with LIS scholarship: the disconnect between education and practice. Nor will she accept that the disconnect has always been there. The complaint today is more like a roar, she says. ‘Why can’t [the LIS community] hear it?’

McQueen would like to see cataloging, reference, collection management, and research courses invigorated and believes that the profession must teach these core courses. ‘I’m not opposed to interdisciplinary education,’ she says. ‘But I am opposed if it comes at the expense of library education. The students will lack the library skills they need.’

McQueen doesn’t hold back her opinions. In a recent job interview an interviewer told her, ‘I think you’re someone who will make waves, but they’re good waves. You’re not doing it from a ‘me’ place. You’re doing it from an ‘us’ place.’ Now McQueen is writing her own role.




Current Position: Lecturer and doctoral candidate, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Degrees: MLIS, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 1998
Hobby: Collects historic postcards of libraries
Citations : City of Milwaukee Landscaping Award for home garden