February 17, 2018

Jill Bourne & Brian Bannon | Movers & Shakers 2009 – Community Builders

Brian Bannon, San Francisco Public LibraryGrowing & Green

While attending “a small conservative Lutheran university” (where he graduated magna cum laude), Brian Bannon decided to create an independent undergraduate major in GLBT studies—a controversial move that stirred an interest in intellectual freedom and information politics. He pursued an MLS after learning about “the historic role librarians played in championing these issues.”

Bannon himself is helping to make library history as chief of branches at SFPL, where he is managing the design process for a 0 million Branch Library Improvement Plan (BLIP), San Francisco’s largest-ever library capital improvement program. Bannon reports to Jill Bourne, the environmentally savvy deputy city librarian at SFPL, and his purview includes renovating 18 facilities and creating 16 new ones by December 2011. Under Bourne’s leadership, ten facilities will be LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design)–certified Silver or higher. She is also evaluating sustainable design for 14 branches.

Bourne says that her enthusiasm for environmental design dovetails with San Francisco’s mandate toward things green. Through her initiatives, all SFPL branches now recycle and will begin composting this year. She also bought a plug-in hybrid vehicle for the library and will acquire a solar-powered bookmobile. Bourne will roll out her full “Green Stacks” plan in time for 2009 Earth Day, April 22. Other achievements? Bourne effected a 10.5 percent increase in operating hours at 16 branches during 2007 and 2008. Library card registration increased 40 percent for those branches within the first six months; it also went up 21 percent systemwide.

Bannon walked into the BLIP project midstream when he joined SFPL in 2006 as the youngest member of the senior management team. Moving BLIP forward often involves navigating conflicting views among staff, city officials, communities, and partner agencies. Bannon’s guidance, says nominator Chrystie Hill (2007 Mover & Shaker and WebJunction director of community services), results in “a collaborative process in which all voices are heard and all can claim ownership.”

Bourne, whose past experience as a waitress and children’s librarian taught her to smile in the face of adversity, says that her green radar isn’t about just environmental consciousness but also economics and community. “The neighborhoods that struggle with pollution and resources are often the poor neighborhoods,” she says. “This is the most compelling reason behind our green initiative: the library serves everyone, in their own language, in their neighborhood, for free.”


San Francisco Public Library


POSITION Deputy City Librarian

DEGREE MLIS, University of Washington, Seattle, 1997

IN HER OFFICE Beloved; The Wolves of Willoughby Chase; Missing Angel Juan


POSITION Chief of Branches

DEGREE MLIS, University of Washington, 1999

IN HIS OFFICE A painting by his 90-year-old father, who said, “Do what you love and you never grow old”