June 19, 2018

Jeanne Marie Ryan | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Change Agents

Jeanne Marie Ryan has some advice for anyone who wants to get anything big done: “It pays to be persistent—and keep smiling as you go back to people.” That approach served her well as the chief strategist for and coordinator of the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act. “She’s the Godmother of our first-ever library bond act,” says nominator Chris Carbone, director of the South Brunswick Public Library, NJ.

Dayna Hart | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Change Agents

Dayna Hart was inspired to bring project-based learning (PBL) to Constable Neil Bruce Middle School, where she’s been a teacher librarian since 2006, after attending a workshop in Texas in 2011 with Jillian Cornock and Ryan Holly, both teachers at the school. The trio put together a ninth grade social studies graphic novel unit looking at historical wrongs. Hart says, “We had no idea how powerful this unit would be.”

Margo Gustina | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Change Agents

Librarianship was a natural fit for Margo Gustina, who has always loved connecting people with what they need but disliked the hard sell of bookstores or the bureaucracy of social work. Her first encounters with small libraries in rural western New York shaped her view of what good service should look like. She met directors with small staffs, tiny budgets, few open hours, and minimal digital resources who still brought their communities together with rich programming—not defined by their limitations, she says, but by their unique talents “and ability to translate those into strengthening the social connective tissue.”

Megan Godbey | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Change Agents

“Libraries fulfill their ultimate potential when they provide safe space for everyone…and empower patrons to realize their full potential,” says Megan Godbey. That philosophy underpins her work at the Nashville Public Library (NPL), where she initiated the Pathway for New Americans project, a partnership with the Nashville mayor’s office and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Nashville was the third such library and the first to open “citizenship corners outside the library,” she says.

Heather Acerro | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Change Agents

“Failure is a critical ingredient to success,” says Heather Acerro, head of youth services at the Rochester Public Library (RPL). Her creative approaches to community needs have resulted in positive outcomes for RPL. Despite the challenge presented by Minnesota’s “11-and-a-half months of winter,” as Acerro jokes, she wrote a grant that resulted in the addition of a bicycle-pulled trailer (the first in the state) for library outreach. In 2017, after winning a citywide award for the project, Acerro used the prize money to add an ArtCart, filled with supplies for creative projects.

Andrea Blackman | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Change Agents

If those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it, Andrea Blackman may have found one way to inspire learning. As division manager for the Nashville Public Library (NPL) Special Collections and director of the library’s Civil Rights Room—in charge of documenting the local history of the civil rights movement in one of its key cities—she has initiated an ambitious effort to meld the library’s unique holdings into a curriculum for change.

Elizabeth Negrete Gaylor | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Change Agents

As a Mexican American child whose mother spoke only Spanish to her until she was three, Elizabeth Negrete Gaylor discovered her local library when her ESL teacher encouraged her to go there for more reading material. “To me [it] was a wondrous place that had infinite possibilities,” she says. Now she strives to create such possibilities for her patrons as literacy and outreach librarian at the Ardmore Public Library (APL).

Kristen Simensen | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Change Agents

Calhoun County Library (CCL) director Kristen Simensen knows how to hook patrons. The library’s pollinator project gives fourth graders an opportunity to study bees up close but connects with adults, too. (“How are our bees?” is a common refrain, Simensen says.)

Erik Berman | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Change Agents

Erik Berman subscribes to a “teen run, teen led” mentality, according to senior librarian Sharon Fung at San José Public Library (SJPL). “He works tirelessly to get to know his teens, build their confidence, and guide them into taking an active role in the library.” Hand in hand with local teens and professional designers, Berman is responsible for the creation of the new teen center, TeenHQ, in San José’s central Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.

Emily Johansson & Laura Rogers | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Change Agents

Richland Library’s Laura Rogers remembers a morning several years ago when her then young son was struggling to read the words on a cereal box: “He sighed deeply and put his head in his hands as he said, ‘I wish I could just read what that says!’ ”