Three iSchool alumni are included in the Library Journal's 2018 class of Movers & Shakers, an annual list that recognizes fifty professionals who are transforming what it means to be a librarian. Robin Bradford (MS '00), Roberta Koscielski (MS '82), and Chera Kowalski (MS '09) were honored in the "Advocates" category.
Bradford is collection development librarian for the Timberland Regional Library in Tumwater, Washington. She has been instrumental in raising awareness about diverse books, self-published "indie" books, and respecting readers of romance and other genres. In an interview with Library Journal, Bradford said, "Seeking out indie books is important…because that is where a lot of [authors] shut out of traditional publishing are raising their voices. [We need] authors from all backgrounds to be published so that we can hear stories from a lot of perspectives [and] interact with people across all walks of life."
Koscielski is deputy director of the Peoria (IL) Public Library. She leads Peoria Reads!, a "one city, one book" program the library cofounded with Common Place Family Learning Center, a community education nonprofit on Peoria's south side. Peoria Reads! has brought the community together to address serious topics such as gang violence and the opioid crisis. According to Koscielski, libraries are a "place to learn about issues, discuss them together, and work on solutions."
Kowalski is an adult/teen librarian at the Free Library of Philadelphia's McPherson Square Branch, which is located in a neighborhood notorious for its high rates of poverty, crime, and opioid addiction. After witnessing a patron nearly die in the library in 2016, she asked Free Library of Philadelphia administrators for librarians to receive training in overdose reversal. In 2017, she revived six people from opioid overdose by administering naloxone. The library now stocks opioid overdose rescue kits. "[They're] a lifesaving tool, in the same category as fire extinguishers, CPR, and AEDs [automated external defibrillators]," Kowalski told Library Journal.
Photo Credits: Bradford, Nancy Alcott; Koscielski, Mitchell A. Rose; Kowalski, Swiger Photography