April 19, 2018

Michelle Boulé | Movers & Shakers 2008

Geek Librarian

Michelle Boulé, says Jason Griffey, head of library IT at the University of Tennessee–Chattanooga, “is unwilling to accept the status quo as the best of all possible worlds.” She’s particularly unwilling to settle for the standard model of professional participation, including conference attendance, because, as she puts it, “traveling is time away from home and money some of us need for diapers and groceries.” Virtual participation is Boulé’s solution and her passion as well.

A member of ALA’s Library Information and Technology Association (LITA) since 2003, Boulé is often working on new ways librarians can participate virtually. She ran Library and Information Resources Week with Meredith Farkas in 2006 as part of HigherEd BlogCon (www.higheredblogcon.com), the first blog-based higher education online conference. And in 2007, she, Farkas, and four others drew on this experience to create Five Weeks to a Social Library (www.sociallibraries.com/course), a free, grass-roots online course devoted to teaching librarians about social software and how to use it in their libraries. (All Five Weeks content is available for reuse under a Creative Commons license.)

Most recently, Boulé worked with Chris Harris (also a Mover & Shaker, p. 16) to create the Library 2.0 Leadership Institute (sls.gvboces.org/sixweeks/node/10), essentially a “Five Weeks” course for school librarians.

Boulé, who blogs for LITA and ALA TechSource, is the author of “Changing the Way We Work,” a Library Technology Report, which argues “that moving work into an online medium can mean increased productivity for staff and happier employees.”

All her sweeping aspirations and accomplishments put Boulé in the vanguard of the virtual movement, but she calls herself simply “a geek librarian.” If geek means someone who enables greater participation and learning through technology, she surely is.


CURRENT POSITION Social Sciences Librarian, University of Houston, TX

DEGREE MLIS, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, 2004

HONOR American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leader, 2007

BLOG A Wandering Eyre, wanderingeyre.com; contributor to ALA TechSource Blog, www.techsource.ala.org/blog and LITA Blog, litablog.org