Library Journal Names iSchool Alumni ‘Movers and Shakers’ for 2015
Librarian, advocate, author, and leader are all words used to describe Patrick Sweeney and Patrick Sullivan, both alumni of the San José State University (SJSU) School of Information. Now, they have a new title of “Movers and Shakers.”
On March 16, 2015, Library Journal announced the 50 individuals and one organization that make up the inspiring class of Movers and Shakers 2015, “the people shaping the future of libraries.” This year’s Movers and Shakers categories included change agents, innovators, educators, digital developers, community builders, and advocates, the category for both Sweeney (MLIS 2007) and Sullivan (MLIS 1995).
According to Library Journal, Movers and Shakers are chosen for their passion, vision, and mission. Library advocates Sweeney and Sullivan embody all three qualities. Sweeney’s work has taken many forms, but his efforts to help increase library funding through political advocacy has been a game-changer for many libraries. Sullivan is the co-chair of Children in Crisis, a REFORMA (National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos) project designed to bring books and backpacks to refugee children in U.S. detention centers.
A former branch manager for San Mateo County Library and Lincoln Public Library, Sweeney is currently an administrative librarian for the Sunnyvale Public Library. He serves on the board of EveryLibrary, a non-profit organization that works to help local libraries gain funding through ballot initiatives. In 2013, he also became the executive director of EveryLibrary California, a statewide political action committee (PAC) for libraries.
A talented writer and social media strategist, Sweeney can often be found sharing his innovative ideas on Twitter, Tumblr, and his blog, and he is also the moderator of the ALA Think Tank group on Facebook. With J.P. Porcaro, Sweeney also co-founded makingithappen.us, an online magazine about librarianship.
Sweeney never seems to run out of creative concepts, and he has a talent for finding the funds to make them realities as well. Passionate about both sailing and literacy, in 2012 Sweeney and co-creator Joey Elle launched the Story Sailboat, a crowdfunded project which distributed 1,000 books to bay area communities by water.
Delivering books to children in need is also at the heart of the Children in Crisis project co-chaired by Sullivan and Lucía Gonzalez, and since September 2014, the group has brought hundreds of books to unaccompanied children waiting in detention centers for immigration processing or deportation.
Sullivan, an emeritus librarian at San Diego State University, was inspired to action along with Gonzalez and Oralia Garza de Cortes by the report of over 70,000 unaccompanied children held in U.S. detention centers. As the Children in Crisis website explains, the children wait “in large storage-like facilities with no activities to occupy [their] minds through learning and play while they are being processed.” At the June 2014 American Library Association (ALA) meeting, the Children in Crisis task force was formed, and with the help of REFORMA President Silvia Cisneros, the group started delivering books to children shortly afterwards.
The activities of Children in Crisis are not limited to delivering books, however. The group is also raising money for backpacks and school supplies to be distributed, and local REFORMA chapters are working with community organizations to introduce library resources to children and families in transition.