April 20, 2018

Christopher Harris | Movers & Shakers 2008

Deep Impact

Christopher Harris says he switched from teaching to administrative support because he wanted to have an impact on more students—he now impacts 26,000 as coordinator for Genesee Valley BOCES. Charged with providing automation, online media resources, and professional development offerings to 22 small, rural New York school library districts, he is leading librarians and students into a Library 2.0 future through a combination of idealism and pragmatism.

Disappointed with vendor-provided library portals, Harris decided to tailor his own system for member institutions. His Fish4Info.org portal, which turns MARC-formatted files into nodes within Drupal (an open source content management system), allows users to manipulate and add to the records. Half the member libraries now enjoy use the systemwide catalog, taking advantage of its capabilities to append pathfinders, calendars, and students’ book reviews, tagging, book ratings, and social bookmarking.

Yet his drive to push his school libraries into a 2.0 future isn’t about the technology itself but about “meeting the new expectations of students, teachers, administrators, and parents.” He invited Michelle Boulé to present a Library 2.0 Leadership Institute for school librarians (sls.gvboces.org/sixweeks/node/1), to give them hands-on experience of social networking tools and “the new interactions they make possible.”

School librarians have little time to keep up with new technologies and developments in school librarianship, so, in addition, Harris routinely reviews 150 feeds in his RSS reader to “find the best information to pass along to member librarians,” in person and on his blog, Infomancy.

Boulé (see her profile, p. 19) says, “Chris Harris is…doing more for school libraries right now than anyone else.” And for those 26,000 students as well.


CURRENT POSITION Coordinator, School Library System/Library & Media Services, Genesee Valley Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), LeRoy, NY

DEGREE M. of Ed., North Carolina State University, 2001; MLS, State University of New York at Buffalo, expected summer 2008

BLOG Infomancy (schoolof.info/infomancy)

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