Intersections | Superhero Stories

Intersections Blog

By John Amundsen (jamundsen@ala.org) | Last month, our colleague Samantha Yanity wrote a post on Intersections on how librarians are ‘superheroes’ - providing access to information and resources that can change lives, and making their communities more inclusive and equitable. During National Library week, we asked our members to share stories on how library workers are changing lives in their every day work. We also invited folks to follow and share their stories on social media, using the #LibrarySuperhero hashtag.

Submitted Stories

Annette M. Vadnais - Undergraduate Outreach Librarian, UMass Amherst Libraries: "In my fairly new role as Undergraduate Outreach Librarian, I am always looking to make connections to help me in my outreach on campus and beyond. I met Leykia Nulan (Assistant Provost for Diversity) at a faculty senate committee meeting on campus and was instantly inspired by her work to promote college to area children. I myself am a proud First Generation, low income student, and from the area. I offered to help in any way I could. She connected me with Jamina Scippio-McFadden (Director of Marketing and Community Relations) at the UMass Center in Springfield Massachusetts. They have a program that they run at the center called “College Matters for U” that promotes college as an option. When Jamina and I got in contact they had never had a Librarian participate before. So I go in and have programs with elementary, middle, and high school groups. I use the time to promote Librarianship, Librarians, and Libraries. I am hoping to break the stereotypes that many people have about Librarians and Libraries. The programs differ based on the different age groups but they all leave with 3D Pokemon thanks to our wonderful Digital Media Lab staff. It has been very interesting for me to work with younger children, they are very cute and honest. My favorite session, I was walking out and a young man waved me over. He asked if I could write my name down as he was not sure he has spelled it correctly. He then looked up at me and said, “I think I want to become a Librarian when I grow up”. I was so elated I left without my jacket. I know that many won’t become Librarians but even if they just use Libraries and Librarians more, I will be thrilled."

David Selden - Director, National Indian Law Library/Native American Rights Fund: "The National Indian Law Library, with a staff of 2 professionals serves both the Native American Rights Fund and the public in all 50 states. One of our 3 pillars of service is providing access to tribal law via the Tribal Law Gateway. In addition to providing the most complete collection of tribal laws available, the library helps to answer individual research requests form people across the U.S. An example of a request we recently received from the public was from a member of an Alaska Native Village. This individual was working on behalf of his tribe to revise the tribe’s constitution. Our library was able to provide electronically copies of tribal constitutions, as well as a copy of a handbook and other articles and book chapters on what to consider when drafting or revising a tribal constitution. This information led to a constitutional revision that helped to remedy some civil rights issues at the village."

Satia Orange - Former Director, ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services: "I was a children's librarian in Wisconsin and North Carolina for 12 years before moving into adult services. Many years later I found the phone number of one of my library children's parents, who has become a librarian herself, and called her number to say hello. When a man answered I asked for her, without giving my name. "Yes, she's here," he said. "Is Mrs. Orange?" He explained that he'd never forgotten my voice. As a pre-teen, very reluctant reader I'd promised I'd find him a book he'd like, and after a few tries, I did, again and again. I often promised kids like him to try a book for 3 chapters or 50 pages, (unless it was assigned), assuring them that that there were other titles that they'd love, and I won over lots of "non-readers" that way. And now, as an adult, he said I opened up a world of adventure for him. He even remembered the book, Paulsen's HATCHET. He was now an avid reader, remembered my voice, and thanked me. I felt like a SUPER HERO LIBRARIAN that day, for sure."

#LibrarySuperhero Stories on Social Media

We support the right of everyone to live in safety and with dignity #NationalLibraryWeek #LibrarySuperhero https://t.co/rLelIkR9bu

— LMU Library (@LMULibrary) April 10, 2017

@RULibraries supports its student patrons for all their undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate program needs \(^o^)/ #LibrarySuperhero https://t.co/0xvZYauuwD

— SOURCE (@Rutgers_SOURCE) April 11, 2017

@RULibraries supports its student patrons for all their undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate program needs \(^o^)/ #LibrarySuperhero https://t.co/0xvZYauuwD

— SOURCE (@Rutgers_SOURCE) April 11, 2017

Do you have a Library Superhero story you want to add to this feature? Email me at jamundsen@ala.org, or call 312-280-2140.