February 17, 2018

Peggy Cadigan | Movers & Shakers 2010 – Change Agents

Library Journal March 15, 2010: Peggy Cadigan, Mover & Shaker


Library 2.0 is so…2005. For a forecast about evolution of the library, talk to a “professional futurist” like Peggy Cadigan, the New Jersey State Library’s (NJSL) associate state librarian for innovation and outreach strategies. One of two librarians accepted into the Association of Professional Futurists, whose members analyze how social and technological developments are shaping the future, Cadigan clearly takes the innovation aspect of her job title seriously. Among her unusual tactics is partnering with Trump Casino in Atlantic City to teach librarians—for free—the customer-service skills used by the casino staff and coordinating the Mid-Atlantic Library Futures Conference in 2007, in which she set out to “inspire and amaze” the 300 library staff in attendance with a lineup of innovative thinkers “from outside the library’s doors.” “We explored unique ideas that merged information, inspiration, and imagination to transform the way we look at our future,” she says.

Cadigan’s most recent project is “Snapshot: One Day in the Life of New Jersey Libraries.” Conducted twice during 2009, this survey captured the impact that libraries of all types in New Jersey have on their communities and revealed that more than 160,000 people visited the libraries both days. The American Library Association plans to promote “Snapshot” as a national event.

“[Cadigan] has demonstrated exceptional leadership in helping New Jersey librarians identify world trends that will impact libraries now and in the future,” says State Librarian Norma Blake.

Despite her forward thinking, Cadigan’s advice for how to keep libraries relevant well into the future is quite old school: “Know what you do and be prepared to dazzle your stakeholders with powerful statistics and stories about how you have helped to change someone’s life.”


Peggy Cadigan, New Jersey State Library, Trenton

CURRENT POSITION Associate State Librarian for Innovation & Outreach Strategies

DEGREE MLS, Rutgers University, 1983

DRIVING FORCE Planning for the Future