April 19, 2018

Jennifer Nelson | Movers & Shakers 2008

Leveling the Field

Jennifer Nelson puts together programs, she says, that help solve “some of the inequities we see in our community.” As partnerships coordinator for digital inclusion at the Minneapolis Public Library, she collaborated with the Neighborhood Development Center to develop the Micro Entrepreneur Resource Center (www.mercmpl.org) and then make it more widely accessible by raising money to get its Business Plan Builder translated into Somali and Spanish.

Colleague Megan Peterson says Nelson also brings “passion and commitment” to working with users of the library’s adaptive technology center and putting that passion to work with successful fundraising—some $100,000 worth in 2007.

Her proudest accomplishments, though, are her teen technology programs. Believing that media/technology literacy is a vital 21st-century skill, she collaborated with the Science Museum of Minnesota to provide game development software for teens. The “Teen Tech Squad” she created regularly presents workshops, with pay, so students can “be valued for their skills.”

Nelson sees libraries as agencies that can “level the playing field.” And she’s out there every day, moving earth.


CURRENT POSITION Partnerships Coordinator for Digital Inclusion, Minneapolis Public Library

DEGREE MLIS, University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW-M), 1987; M.A., Political Science, UW-M, 1985

MOTTO “We’ll figure it out”