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Movers & Shakers 2011 tells outsiders what goes on inside libraries

Posted by Editor on March 16, 2011

By Francine Fialkoff, Mar 15, 2011 in LJ

Joseph Sanchez is the “go-to guy” at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, CO. He is also the library director—though he might pass for one of the students. Hired just out of library school in 2006, he transformed the library, which was about to be turned into a gym, into a centerpiece of campus life. It’s now hopping with students who come not only to use traditional library resources and get help from reference librarians but to borrow iPads or ereaders, or tap their own creative juices, whether in video and audio production, video game design, computer programming—or even disc (Frisbee) golf.

Like Sanchez, Nancy Fredericks, until recently e-government services manager at Pasco County Library System in Florida, is described by a colleague as a “go-to leader” in the state both for her ability to get things done and to come up with new services. She led the team that developed ­GetHelpFlorida.org, a user-friendly e-gov portal where people can find information on and sign up for anything from unemployment benefits to small-business loans. Fredericks is concerned, however, that many of the people who need e-government services the most haven’t got the foggiest idea how to access them. So she’s made it her business to see that they get the skills and training to go online.

Sanchez and Fredericks aren’t just go-to “guys” in their ­libraries, or even in their respective states. They’re part of a larger national (and since 2010 international) cadre, LJ’s 2011 Movers & Shakers. Together, they are moving all of our ­libraries forward and ensuring that everyone has the 21st-century literacy skills they need to thrive in a rapidly changing society. (This year’s M&S feature starts on p. 23.)

Since 2002, ten years now, LJ has been selecting some 50 individuals annually—mostly but not all librarians—from hundreds of nominations from the field for its Movers & Shakers issue. The 2011 cohort brings the group to over 500 strong.

Over the years, Movers & Shakers has become one of the most anticipated issues of LJ, partly for the chatter it provokes—Did my nominee/friend/coworker make it? What about so and so?—but also for the opportunity to see what’s going on in libraries around the country, to find the go-to people working on a project similar to one in your library, or to cull a new idea you’d like to try. It’s an employment bureau of sorts for library leaders looking for creative, new blood, much to the dismay of the Movers’ current bosses. And for those of us at LJ, it’s a brain trust of connections whom we call on—or who call us—for questions and answers, commentary, know-how, news, a heads-up, and frank criticism.

Beyond that, Movers & Shakers gives us a chance to shout about the innovative work being done in libraries and the people who are doing it, not just to the library world but outside it. In the past, stories on individual Movers have been picked up in major cities and hometown papers. We’ve sent copies of Movers & Shakers to House and Senate committee members who vote on money for libraries and to the offices of the Representatives in whose districts Movers work or live. We’ll do that with this issue, too.

As one of this year’s Movers, UK librarian Ned Potter, points out, librarians spend too much time talking to one another and not enough communicating with nonlibrary groups and mainstream media. And Bobbi Newman, who blogs at Librarian by Day, worries that librarians aren’t at the table when organizations and institutions discuss the 21st-century needs of individuals. “[They] fail to acknowledge the role that libraries currently play (including access and instruction),” she says, or “explore the role of libraries in the future.”

That’s not acceptable, and we all need to work to change it. Movers & Shakers is one small way to acknowledge the work of librarians and to tell the world the big story of both libraries and librarians.

fialkoffsig(SideBox)

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