February 16, 2018

Ruth Sinker | Movers & Shakers 2006

Playfulness with Purpose

‘I like to play,’ says Ruth Sinker, ‘and I do it whenever I can.’ Happily for her, and for the young people she serves, playfulness is a useful skill in youth services at the Skokie Public Library (SPL). Sinker began there as a computer assistant, a job that appealed to her because it matched her computer skills and love of children and allowed her to wear comfortable clothes.

Sinker happily took on increasing responsibilities at SPL, including choosing links for the ‘Read, Imagine, Explore!’ section of the library’s web site. SPL’s preschool services coordinator Holly Jin says, ‘Five years ago, she was signing up children to use the computers. Now she is pursuing her MLS, is a member of the Homework Helper team for the Illinois Clicks information web site, and is on the American Library Association’s (ALA) Children and Technology Committee.’

When SPL introduced Live Homework Help in 2003, Sinker was assigned to market it. She created ‘Web Connections’ – an interactive tour of the library’s web site, remote access databases, homework help tools, and online catalog – and demonstrated it in schools for students and teachers. Jan Watkins, head of youth services, credits Sinker with making Live Homework Help ‘the #1 electronic resource accessed by patrons at SPL.’ Tutor.com was so impressed it asked her to present ‘Web Connections’ at ALA’s annual conference in 2005.

Sinker understands that play is learning’s greatest partner. She believes libraries ‘create memories that turn the youngest users of today into the lifelong learners of tomorrow.’


Current Position Youth Services Technology Coordinator, Skokie Public Library, IL
Degrees MLIS, Dominican University, expected in 2007
Who knew? She wants to handle a library-themed balloon in Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day parade