March 16, 2018

Courtney L. Young | Movers & Shakers 2011 – Change Agents

Library Journal March 15, 2011: Courtney Young, Mover & Shaker

Driven To Diversify

Whether it’s in the parking lot before class or on Facebook, Penn State’s students chase down librarian Courtney L. Young to ask for advice on their research projects.

That’s partly because she’s “a master at making connections,” says Sara Whildin, head librarian at Penn State Brandy­wine. “She exemplifies the skills our library leaders need to connect library services to their communities.” She also brings sensitivity and diplomacy to her dealings with others.

Those skills are among the reasons she was promoted in September 2010 to head librarian at the Greater Allegheny Campus of Penn State University. Daniel C. Mack, head of Penn State’s Arts and Humanities Library at University Park, says that Young is one of the people against whom other librarians are measured.

Among her many roles, Young serves as an academic advisor to Penn State students, coordinates an honors program, works to improve universitywide virtual reference services, and evaluates and tracks diversity of the library’s acquisitions. She also serves on the American Library Association’s (ALA) Executive Board and is president-elect of ALA’s New Members Round Table.

Young is committed “to fostering diversity of all types,” says nominator Laurel Bliss, a San Diego State University fine arts librarian: “racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and age.” To that end, she led a multiyear project to evaluate diversity in the libraries’ collections and services, developing metrics for collection development assessment, tracking the diversity of collections, and making librarians accountable for diversity in collections and programming.

Young says her approach both to diversity and to leadership may come from being an “army brat,” growing up around the world.

“I’ve had to adapt to new places, new people, new everything on a regular basis,” Young says. “Change…is a way of life.”


Courtney L. Young, Pennsylvania State University, Greater Allegheny Campus, McKeesport

CURRENT POSITION Head Librarian and Associate Professor of Women’s Studies

DEGREE MLIS, Simmons College, 1997

TOP CHEF Colleagues say they would commit felonies for her home-cooked pecan pie or rum balls

SPORTY Uses her research skills to pick players for her and friends’ fantasy football teams

FOLLOW @librarycourtney;