March 22, 2018

Stephen X. Flynn | Movers & Shakers 2012 — Tech Leaders

Job Seeker’s Dream

Stephen X. Flynn Movers & Shakers 2012


Emerging Technologies Librarian
College of Wooster Libraries, OH

MSI, School of Information, University of Michigan (UM), Ann Arbor, 2011

Open Cover Letters

In graduate school, he designed/constructed the Plain Language Medical Thesaurus iPhone app for UM Health Sciences Library


Photo by Marsha Bansberg

When Stephen X. Flynn was applying for library jobs, he needed good cover letters for inspiration. All he found were ­generic ­examples.

This sparked an idea. Flynn created Open Cover Letters, a web site that is a repository of cover letters that resulted in successful library job searches (see “Dear Hiring Committee,” LJ 9/1/11, p. 32).

Flynn developed the online job-seeker service by collecting letters from acquaintances and posting them online sans identifying information. He went live last June. A few posts on Facebook and Twitter and word spread. Soon, people were sending letters to him after they found jobs to “pay it forward,” he says.

Mark Christel, director of libraries at the College of Wooster, says Flynn has applied his technology skills and creativity to help students learn.

As an American Library Association Spectrum Scholar, Flynn is working on webinars that discuss the impact of technologies on delivering library service to underserved populations. He wants to offer practical advice for his fellow librarians.

“His enthusiasm for learning and applying new technologies is always apparent but never more evident than when he’s able to share an application or product that helps someone else overcome a challenge they’re facing,” Christel says.