About the Award
Since the inaugural Movers & Shakers, named in 2002, this marks the 19th year that Library Journal has spotlighted a group of individuals who are moving the library field forward as a profession. Over the years, Movers have come from the ranks of both degreed librarians and non-degreed library workers, as well as volunteers and vendors, and have come from academic, public, school, and special libraries settings—occasionally even outside of traditional libraries altogether.
Change Agents: Madison Public Library's Racial Equity Change Team
In 2021, they were looking particularly for "those working behind the scenes and on issues of equity and inclusion," and Madison Public Library's staff delivered! Staff members Dominic Davis, Jody Mohrbacher, and Yesianne Ramírez-Madera, are coleaders of Madison Public Library’s Racial Equity Change Team.
With the support of library management and a team of 14 staff members, RECT’s accomplishments include organizing a group of consultants to help represent voices of color authentically in communications; publishing a racial equity staff newsletter; drafting recommendations on the employee transfer process after discovering that its focus on seniority inordinately benefited white staff; and making revisions to the behavior consequences policy when an analysis revealed children of color were banned at higher rates than white ones. The trio are currently gathering demographic data to help improve the outside consultant hiring process.
“Although there was already an awareness of the need for addressing issues of equity and social justice within our library system, this initiative has formalized our institutional efforts to tackle these issues,” explains Ramírez-Madera.
You can read the full feature online and we hope you'll congratulate these individuals when you see them!
Community Builder: Director of Public Services, Krissy Wick
As Madison Public Library director of public services, Krissy Wick not only transitioned traditional librarian roles to community engagement librarian positions, but instituted robust partnerships with the Madison community. Wick collaborated with the Madison Metropolitan School District and many others to develop the Read Up summer children’s program. More than 75 percent of participating kids maintained or increased their reading levels in the first two years.
In 2019, with the Dane County Library Service and MPL Foundation, Wick launched the Dream Bus, serving 10–14 neighborhoods that faced barriers to library access with library books and free Wi-Fi; in 2020 it also served as a census partner and voter registration site. Wick also connected the school district to library resources to help families most at need during the pandemic, offering space for homeless families and those wishing to connect with school representatives outside of the school day.
“In 2021 and 2022, I’m excited to work with the library management team and frontline staff to examine our organizational structure,” she says, “and rebuild it to better focus on racial equity and social justice, strengthen our ability to collaborate, eliminate redundancy, and streamline processes so that we can provide the highest impact service possible.”