School of Information Alumni and Student Named Library Journal 2016 ‘Movers and Shakers’


Five alumni and one current student are part of the 2016 class of Library Journal’s “Movers and Shakers” who are using their prodigious skills to “transform public, school, academic, and special libraries across the United States and around the world.”

The 2016 class of Library Journal’s annual “Movers and Shakers” has been announced, and five alumni of the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program and one current MLIS student at the San José State University (SJSU) School of Information (iSchool) have been selected for this prestigious honor.

Each year, Library Journal celebrates change agents, educators, tech leaders, innovators, and community builders in information organizations, and Courtney Saldana (MLIS 2009), Nancy Andrus (MLIS 2008), Erin Berman (MLIS 2011), Shaun Briley (MLIS 2007), Chris Brown (MLIS 2010), and current student Erica Freudenberger are part of this year’s class of 54 individuals who are using their prodigious skills to “transform public, school, academic, and special libraries across the United States and around the world.”

Changing the Lives of Children and Teens

Saldana, who is currently the youth services supervising librarian at the Ontario City Library in Ontario, California, got a master’s degree in children’s literature because she loved books written for young people, but found her true calling when she began working with teens at a local library in 2006. Among her many accomplishments in youth services are the inauguration of a program promoting reading for kindergarteners, a Teen Book Fest, and Skills for Teen Parenting (STeP), a program designed to help teen parents acquire the skills they need to be successful adults. Saldana’s STeP program was selected by the California State Library for expansion across the state, and is currently offered at 16 public libraries in California.

Educating Girls for STEM Fields

Described as “fearless trying out new ideas” by her colleagues, Andrus put her creativity to work at the Sunnyvale Public Library in Sunnyvale, California, where she started a program called Make-HER developing workshops for girls on popular STEM topics. Andrus was inspired to create the program when she noted that most of the attendees at library STEM workshops were boys. “I wanted to help level the playing field by creating an environment in which girls could thrive, feel empowered, and be inspired to pursue STEM,” she explained to Library Journal. Her project has attracted global attention as well, and the Make-HER website has had more than 14,000 views from 41 different countries.

Using Tech for Mobile Making at the San José Public Library

Chosen as a “Tech Leader” Mover and Shaker, Berman has been innovations manager at the San José Public Library (SJPL) since 2014 and has led a team that developed a prototype for a mobile Maker space and wrote a guide for libraries to build their own mobile Maker spaces. According to Library Journal, Berman “believes Making can empower her community and help close the digital divide,” and the mobile units offer ways to engage community members without access to the technology at the SJPL. Berman has also promoted Making at the library by acquiring funding from Microsoft for a teen recording studio and Maker space and she led the development of an online privacy literacy toolkit as well.

Innovating with Science and Stories

Briley, branch manager of the La Jolla-Riford branch of the San Diego Public Library in La Jolla, California, wanted to liberate scientific learning from the laboratories and institutions where it is usually immured. In order to do so, he developed the Bio Lab at his branch to offer workshops, demos, lectures, and open lab hours to adults and children in the community. “We’re providing something that you can only otherwise get behind closed doors,” he told Library Journal. By participating in the Bio Lab’s programs, patrons learn about biology and the work done in laboratories, thereby improving their overall bioliteracy.

Like Briley, Brown was also chosen for the 2016 class of Movers and Shakers for innovations he has brought to public library services. While working at the Contra Costa County Library in California, Brown worked with co-creator and sociologist Jason Deitch, StoryCorps, and a number library partners to launch the online War Ink project at the Contra Costa County Library. According to its website, War Ink is “is both exhibit and forum, using tattoos as a springboard for California veterans to share their stories.” Now deputy county librarian for the Santa Clara Library District, Brown is hoping to take the successful War Ink project nationwide, potentially as a travelling exhibit.

Building Community at the Red Hook Public Library

SJSU iSchool student Freudenberger has focused on community reach since becoming director of the Red Hook Public Library in New York, and her efforts have paid off. According to Freudenberger, the library had the reputation of being “unfriendly” when she took over in 2010, but it is now recognized as one of the best small libraries in America. In addition, circulation statistics have increased, program attendance and annual visits have seen astounding growth, and the library budget has nearly doubled. Freudenberger credits “collaboration, partnership, and community engagement” for her achievements and is focusing on bringing services where patrons need them through outreach and mobile programs in the future.

Library Journal has been honoring the profession’s Movers and Shakers for 15 years, and this year’s class of honorees was chosen from over 275 nominees. Saldana, Andrus, Berman, Briley, Brown, and Freudenberger will be recognized along with the other Movers and Shakers during a reception at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Orlando this August. According to Library Journal, “the Movers [also] represent many more unsung individuals in the field who deliver exemplary service every day as they usher in the library of the future.” For more on this year’s class of Movers and Shakers, and past honorees as well, visit the Library Journal website.