iSchool alumni named 2022 Movers & Shakers

Five iSchool alumni are included in Library Journal's 2022 class of Movers & Shakers, an annual list that recognizes 41 professionals who are moving the library field forward as a profession. Jeanie Austin (PhD '17) was honored in the Advocates category, Van McGary (MS/LIS '18) was honored in the Change Agents category, Elisandro Cabada (MS/LIS '17) and Robin Davis (MS/LIS '12) were honored in the Innovators category, and Barbara Alvarez (MS/LIS '12) was honored in the Educators category.

Jeanie Austin
Jeanie Austin (PhD '17)

Austin is the Jail and Reentry Services (JARS) librarian at the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL). In addition to providing direct service to local facilities, they have expanded the library's JARS letter-writing reference service program to incarcerated patrons throughout the country. Austin, who serves as an adjunct lecturer at the iSchool, has partnered with LIS programs, giving students the opportunity to answer reference inquiries. They conduct and publish research into the information needs of incarcerated populations and what library services are available to them. Austin recently published a book, Library Services and Incarceration: Recognizing Barriers, Strengthening Access, and serves as co-principal investigator on a $2 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for a collaboration between SFPL and the American Library Association on information and resources for incarcerated people.

Van McGary
Van McGary (MS/LIS '18)

McGary is assistant manager of adult and teen services at Downers Grove Public Library (DGPL). She and fellow librarian Cindy Khatri collaborated on anti-hate statements issued by the DGPL. They created a decision-making Framework for Releasing Anti-Hate Statements, sharing this work through the Illinois Library Association Marketing Roundtable, a Public Library Association (PLA) podcast and conference, and a Library Journal article. Khatri and McGary also built a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) decision-making tool to help staff. In late 2020, McGary helped develop a land acknowledgment that centers what is important to local Indigenous peoples. She is a member of the library's BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) Connections affinity group and Equity Advisory Team, contributing to the library's DEI Strategic Plan.

Elisandro Cabada

Cabada is an assistant professor, medical and bioengineering librarian, and director of the Grainger Engineering Library IDEA Lab at the University of Illinois. He has been closely involved with the creation of technology spaces in libraries, including the design and development of the IDEA Lab, and the Breakerspace digital scholarship and innovation center at the University of Minnesota's Walter Library. The IDEA Lab offers virtual reality (VR) support across campus, including consultations, equipment, and workshops. Cabada cites VR as an example of new technology that academic libraries are helping incorporate into coursework in innovative ways. He was also involved in the design and deployment of the Grainger Library's Center for Academic Resources in Engineering (CARE) center and is currently developing library services for the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

Robin Davis
Robin Davis (MS/LIS '12)

Davis is a user experience librarian at North Carolina State University Libraries. Her team created sensory maps that highlight study spaces in NCSU's main library buildings that have three aspects: quiet, lack of crowding, and natural or warm light with controllable lighting or a white noise speaker. She also coordinated with two student workers to fix more than 500,000 web accessibility issues. In another project, Davis led the User Experience Team through library spaces while having them reconsider those spaces from a variety of viewpoints.

Barbara Alvarez
Barbara Alvarez (MS/LIS '12)

Alvarez is an associate lecturer and instructor at three iSchools: University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Clarion University. She focuses on building community partnerships for health. Alvarez participated on a research team that in 2021 published findings concerning information sharing about abortion in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. She is currently surveying U.S. librarians about providing sexual and reproductive health information. Before her work in reproductive health, Alvarez partnered with the Milwaukee County Department on Aging to create the Memory Connection Center, which offers a haven and information for people with dementia and their caregivers, at the North Shore Library in Glendale, Wisconsin.