Alumnus and Part-time iSchool Faculty Kenley Neufeld Wins ACRL Award

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Kenley Neufeld, a 1994 San José State University School of Information graduate and current part-time faculty member, won the EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Leadership Award for 2009, presented by the Community and Junior College Libraries Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).

Neufeld’s award recognizes his accomplishments as director of the Santa Barbara City College Library. Since taking on the leadership role three years ago, Neufeld significantly increased library use, with annual library usage doubling in the past year to 500,000 patrons. The award also acknowledges Neufeld’s leadership in professional organizations.

When he assumed the library director position, Neufeld’s top priority was to “make the library the center of campus again.” One of the first things he and his 8.5-person staff did was take down the “NO” signs – gone were the “no talking” and “no food or drink” admonitions. In their place, the library added a café with comfortable couches that encourage students to linger.

Before his promotion, Neufeld was technology librarian at the school. He decided that instead of replacing his former position, the library needed an outreach coordinator to spread the word to faculty members about the resources the library offers. He also joined numerous committees on campus in order to “be an evangelist on behalf of the library at every opportunity I could get.”

Neufeld is similarly active in the professional community, serving as 2007-2008 chair of the Community and Junior College Libraries Section of ACRL and Chair of the ALA Committee on Education, among other committees.

Neufeld has always been fascinated at the interplay of technology and library science, even while earning his MLIS at San Jose State in the early 1990s – a time when “I would use the word modem in public and no one knew what I was talking about,” he said.

Today Neufeld teaches 240 Information Technology Tools & Applications, and he tries to keep Santa Barbara City College’s library on the cutting edge of technology. The library began offering Twitter feeds two years ago, and now uses Get Satisfaction to facilitate patron feedback on the library’s website.

On top of his job, teaching, and involvement in professional organizations, Neufeld has two children – ages 5 and 8 – and is ordained as a lay-Buddhist in the religious Order of Interbeing. He’s also an active member of the Ojai Valley Green Coalition, with a focus on transportation issues. Each workday, Neufeld drives the pre-dawn van pool from his hometown of Ojai to Santa Barbara 35 miles away.

The award will be presented to Neufeld at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago during the CJCLS Dinner on July 10.