By Meredith Farkas | March 16, 2009
Take a look at this truly amazing group of people that Library Journal chose to recognize this year. I’ve never known more folks on the list and so many are folks I absolutely adore:
Sarah Houghton-Jan – it’s kind of amazing that she had not been recognized as a Mover and Shaker before this given the impact she has had on so many in the profession with her teaching (though her blog, her speaking, her work with InfoPeople, etc.). I was pleased to be part of the mob of people who nominated her this year and am glad this long overdue recognition finally happened.
Jason Griffey – I get warm fuzzies every time I think of Griffey. In addition to having such a generous heart, he has been an inspiration to me in how he has tirelessly worked to make LITA a better professional organization. While I have my moments of trying to make things better from the outside and in, I definitely do not have the patience and persistence that he does to create pockets of innovation within LITA. We all can learn a thing or two from him about pushing for change from the inside.
Dorothea Salo – When Dorothea kept proclaiming over the years that someone like her would never be recognized as a Mover and Shaker by Library Journal, we all knew better. The profession desperately needs people who constantly question the common wisdom, no matter how impolitic it may be to do so, and I admire Dorothea’s courage in always being that voice of dissent/reason. Dorothea’s blog was one of the first I ever read and she was my role model for the sort of blogger I wanted to be. I had the great pleasure to work with her on Five Weeks to a Social Library and I fervently hope to have opportunities to work with her again in the future. She’s just the sort of person you want on your team.
Chad Boeninger – It’s kind of ridiculous that Chad wasn’t named a Mover and Shaker the same year as me. That was the year after he came out with the Biz Wiki, which was the very first wiki subject guide created by a librarian. How many dozens and dozens of subject guide wikis have come from that inspiration??? He has done so much with social software in his library, but in a really practical way that I admire greatly. I always try to rope him into online learning things I do, because he shares my pragmatic view of technology as well as my excitement about the potential of social software. He’s just the sort of person who needs to be teaching. I’ve learned so much from him.
Jenica Rogers-Urbanek – There are a small number of bloggers these days whose posts I always mark “keep new” for later reading, because they always write such interesting and thoughtful content. Jenica is at the top of that list. She is another person who feels like a kindred spirit to me in terms of her views on technology and management. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak, definitely do so, because you will get a really level-headed look at whatever topic she’s covering, 100% hype-free. I am so pleased to see her get the recognition she deserves.
Karen Coombs – The girl is wicked smart. Seriously. I wish I knew even 1/10 of what she knows about library technologies — her talent and intelligence make my head spin. But somehow she manages to coherently explain these technologies to the rest of us (in her writing and her conference speaking), which is something a lot of serious techies are incapable of doing. It’s also really refreshing to see a geek girl making a name for herself in such a male-dominated area of our profession. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.
Lori Reed – I had the pleasure of having dinner with Lori when I was at a conference in North Carolina this Fall, and it was so nice to get to know someone whose work I’ve admired from afar for years. Lori is an inspirational trainer — she has created great programs at her library, has advocated for all-staff learning programs, and has done a lot to promote the cause of non-degreed library staff. I remember last year’s kerfuffle when someone argued that “paraprofessionals” should not be recognized as Movers and Shakers. Lori exemplifies what a Mover and Shaker is, much more so than many people who do have an MLS.
Michael Porter – If he wasn’t named a Mover and Shaker, he certainly would have been named Best Dressed Librarian or Mr. Congeniality. But there’s so much more to him than his swanky suits and his absolutely lovable personality. He’s also a great teacher, having educated so many thousands of librarians over the years about technologies. And he’s a community builder, especially on Flickr and at WebJunction. He always manages to inspire, while never seeming to take anything too seriously (especially himself).
And then there are the people I don’t know well but whose work I’ve admired greatly: Erik Boekesteijn, Jaap Van De Geer, Geert Van Den Boogaard, Lauren Pressley, Pam Sessoms, Dave Pattern, Rebecca Blakeley, and Melissa Rethlefsen.
Congratulations all of you!!!
On a less encouraging note, I’ve heard from several people who were worried about how people at work might react to their recognition. While I’m constantly amazed by how open and encouraging most people in this profession are, it’s a sad statement on our profession that people should worry about such a thing when they’ve done something good. It’s an awful way to feel — wondering and worrying about what someone might say about it and, even worse, what those who don’t say anything might think of you. In the survey that Chrystie Hill and I did of Movers and Shakers, we found that nearly half of those named Movers and Shakers were not celebrated by their institution. And those people had a significantly more negative view of their work, their colleagues, etc. than did those who were celebrated. How must that impact their sense of motivation at work? While I’ve experienced it, I still don’t understand why people wouldn’t congratulate a colleague who was honored for their work. And what kind of message do administrators send when they don’t celebrate things like this? Are they saying “be a good employee, but don’t be too good“??? If library administrators want to encourage their staff to do their best work, maybe great work should be celebrated. Any honor for the individual should be seen as an honor to the organization.
So to those organizations that are already planning parties for their Movers and Shakers or are at least giving them a hearty pat on the back to show them how much you appreciate them, good for you! I hope you continue to attract the motivated, exceptional employees you deserve.