February 17, 2018

Joseph Sanchez | Movers & Shakers 2011 – Innovators

Library Journal March 15, 2011: Joseph Sanchez, Mover & Shaker

Go-To Guy

When Joseph Sanchez, director of library and learning resources at Red Rocks Community College (RRCC) in Lakewood, CO, was hired in 2006, the library was on the verge of being shuttered and turned into a gym. According to Sanchez, he was told, “You’ve got a three-year window. But if you’ve got results, we’ll keep rolling.”

Well, Sanchez and the Marvin Buckels Library at RRCC are still rolling. Sanchez has overseen impressive gains every year in stats like head count and reference interactions. He has converted an old storage room full of empty boxes and shelves into a recording studio open to any student enrolled for six credits and interested in media production. He’s acquired dozens of iPads and dedicated ereaders, giving students the leeway to purchase their own materials, and he’s fostering development opportunities for students interested in computer programming and video game design.
“Joseph stands out not only in Colorado but throughout the country for his work on e-content, his approach to 2.0 engagement with college students, his creative, inspiring vision, and his passion for working collaboratively with others,” says Sharon Morris, director of library development, Colorado State Library.

Most important, “he is known on campus as ‘the guy to go to if you want to do something cool,'” Morris says. For example, when a student came to him with an idea to build a disc (aka Frisbee) golf course on campus, he didn’t balk: he proposed an honors program project for the student—a business major—to apply some of the skills he’d picked up in his courses. Sanchez helped him to navigate the politics of school administration and facilities usage, also coaching him on his speaking and presentation skills to make his case more persuasively. Now, there’s a nine-hole disc golf course weaving through the campus (and, yes, the library keeps a circulating collection of golf discs students can borrow).

“Four years ago, this library was dead,” Sanchez says. “Now we’re considered one of the central organs of the campus.” But it’s the shift in student behavior that excites him most. “They come to us first,” he says, even with all of the peer support and other resources available to them on campus and elsewhere. “We’re like the Home Depot Academic Center,” he jokes: “You can do it, we can help.”


Joseph Sanchez, Marvin Buckels Library, Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood, CO

CURRENT POSITION Director of Library and Learning Resources

DEGREE MLIS, San José State University, 2006

WHEN NOT IN THE LIBRARY Teaches Beginning Skateboarding P.E. class at the half-pipe on campus

FOLLOW website and nascent blog www.thebookmyfriend.com