April 23, 2018

Allie Stevens | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Community Builders

Allie Stevens

CURRENT POSITION

Director, Calhoun County Library, Hampton, AR

DEGREE

MLIS, Louisiana State University, 2015

MEMBER

YALSA 2018 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers blog team and incoming team coordinator

FOLLOW

@alphabeticallie on Twitter; Tiny Library Think Tank; Calhoun County Library; YALSA’s The Hub

Photo by Douglas Gritzmacher

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Tiny Yet Mighty

Allie Stevens’s lightbulb moment came when she took an introductory public libraries course at Louisiana State University. Before that, Stevens thought she’d be a science or medical librarian. The class opened her eyes to the many skills required to be a public librarian. “I loved the inherent challenge in that—to learn something new on any given day and to help people in direct and tangible ways.”

Shortly after getting her MLIS in 2015, Stevens was hired as the director of the two-branch, three-employee Calhoun County Library, AR (pop. 5,000). Since then, she has created a children’s space, designed and built a new website, and grown the teen offerings to 1,490. “[The teen] collection has driven up the library’s usage…and has allowed me to start a[n] indispensable teen volunteer group,” says Stevens.

She’s also founded the Tiny Library Think Tank, a social media group providing mentoring and crowdsourced advice for librarians in very small/rural public libraries, says nominator Lisa Krok, a colleague on the Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers team. Stevens realized that, as a new director, she needed a resource directed at those who understood the “unique challenges” facing libraries like hers, she says.

“The Tiny Library Think Tank has been invaluable to me [as] I’ve learned to navigate the political structure and legal requirements of being a county employee,” says Stevens. It’s been invaluable to others as well, and membership has grown to more than 200 librarians who offer suggestions on everything from weeding to programming. Some even designed her library’s logo.

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