March 16, 2018

Brett Bonfield | Movers & Shakers 2012 — Change Agents

A Passion for Debate

Brett Bonfield Movers & Shakers 2012


Collingswood Public Library, NJ

Doctoral LIS candidate, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, September 2010 to Present; MSLIS, Drexel University, Philadelphia, 2007

In the Library With the Lead Pipe

March model for Men of the Stacks calendar, which challenges librarian stereotypes and benefits the It Gets Better Project™ to help LGBT youth

Photo ©Sean McGinty Photography LLC

Brett Bonfield may be one of the few people who can get away with telling a governing body to consider dissolving.
As chair of American Library Association (ALA) past president Roberta A. Stevens’s Future Perfect Presidential Task Force last year, Bonfield recommended that the ALA Council merge with its Executive Board. He also advocated for other task force suggestions including prioritizing diversity, accessibility, and transparency. Currently, Council is responsible for governance and the Exec Board for day- to-day operations.

“I’m committed to trying to help,” Bonfield says. “I did it because I believe in it.”

Bonfield is no stranger to debate in the library profession. He cofounded in 2008 and now edits the blog In the Library with the Lead Pipe, which discusses concerns and new ideas with the goal of improving librarianship. He spearheaded the Boycott HarperCollins campaign when the publisher limited the number of times an ebook could circulate.

“One of the things that I most admire about Brett is how he disagrees,” says Emily Ford, a cofounder of In the Library with the Lead Pipe and interim urban and public affairs librarian at Portland State University, OR. “He has this inspiring ability to disagree with a passion I’ve yet to see in any other individual, yet he continues to treat opposing views with the utmost respect and esteem.”

Bonfield also served on ALA past president Camila Alire’s Young Librarians Task Force, is current treasurer of the New Jersey Library Association, and is pursing his doctorate at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“When I first got into librarianship, I really made a commitment that if something was helping me I would give back,” Bonfield says.



  1. Yes! Congrats Brett!

  2. Gary Schmidt says:

    Congratulations, Brett! You’re also one of New Jersey’s brightest stars!

  3. John Blyberg says:

    Congrats Brett! Well deserved!

  4. Excellent! Well deserved! This guy is a mover and shaker if I’ve ever seen one. Has strong values and sticks to them.