Two SLIS Alumni and One Current Student Join the Ranks of LJ Movers & Shakers


Two SLIS alumni and one current student were recently named LJ Movers & Shakers 2013, Library Journal’s annual honor that celebrates information professionals doing extraordinary work in the rapidly changing field of library and information science.

SLIS alum Christy Aguirre, recognized for her community-building prowess, is the branch supervisor at the Southgate Branch of the Sacramento Public Library in California.  She has developed  partnerships with local businesses, city organizers, and public and private agencies to implement year-round family literacy programs. Examples include bringing Desert Storm veterans into the Sacramento Public Library’s Literacy Program and supporting neighborhood Summer Reading Camps. Aguirre’s programming initiatives and outreach efforts to promote family literacy resulted in more than 2,000 participants from the Southgate Branch in last summer’s Sacramento Summer Reading program, a participation rate that more than tripled over two years.

Aguirre also serves as an internship supervisor for the SJSU School of Library and Information Science, helping future practitioners gain valuable experience in a professional setting. She was recently named the 2012 Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy by the California Library Association (CLA), an annual award that recognizes librarians dedicated to adult literacy. You can read more about Aguirre here.

Michelle Perera, also a SLIS alum and former SLIS lecturer, was deemed a Change Agent by LJ’s Movers & Shakers selection committee. After conducting a needs assessment at the Rancho Cucamonga Library in California, where she works as assistant library director, Perera assembled and led a team to design and build child-centered, interactive learning exhibits in the children’s space.

Designed to promote problem solving, early literacy skills, creativity, and collaboration, Perera’s “Play and Learn” stations were an instant hit with patrons. Perera wrote five grant proposals, resulting in grant awards totaling $300,000, some of which was designated for making the exhibit accessible to other California libraries.

Rancho Cucamonga Library received a Bright Idea award from Harvard University, and the California State Library recently created an early learning grant that will help libraries fund a Play and Learn Island.

Finally, SLIS student Lindsay Tomsu and teen librarian at La Vista Public Library in Nebraska was recognized for her marketing successes. Determined to attract more teens to the library, Tomsu turned reading logs into games of Blackout Bingo, shifted the non-fiction shelving from Dewey to a subject-based classification system (an idea inspired by teen feedback), formed a Teen Advisory Board, and implemented twice-weekly programs. Using an $800 Nebraska Library Youth Excellence grant, Tomsu expanded the number of teens who could join the Arkham Horror Gaming Club, an adventure board game based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu stories.

A fierce advocate for the teens she serves, Tomsu pursued a $1,000 YALSA/Dollar General Teen Read Week grant to fund a weeklong celebration of the Arkham Horror game, which her patrons decided to turn into a life-sized game, an endeavor that took three months in the making, creating sets and costumes for the event.

Another Youth Excellence grant, which Tomsu recently secured, will help cover costs to launch a Teen Media Club that supports digital content creation. As a result of Tomsu’s outreach efforts, annual program attendance increased from 115 in 2009 to 796 in 2012, and summer reading participation rose from 79 to 1,433.