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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors

Libraries are community connectors, places where people come together, think together, and learn together. Libraries support and nurture strong, resilient communities. Day in and day out, the library workers at these institutions are doing much more than ensuring equal and equitable access to information; and their impact stretches far beyond the books, programs, and services they facilitate. Featuring contributions from such library leaders as Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, the late Nicolette Sosulski, and Erica Freudenberger, this collection of inspiring first-hand stories from across libraryland spotlights the countless ways in which library staff are making a difference for their communities. A sharing of the hearts, minds, and spirits of library staff from across the country, the uplifting personal narratives in this book include

  • when a routine reference query inspired a librarian to reach out to a senior patron;
  • how a public library’s annual Diwali celebration has strengthened the social fabric of the surrounding community;
  • the story of a library that burned down, was hit by a hurricane, got sued twice, and yet still reemerged stronger than ever;
  • how the team at the Fayetteville Free Library (FFL) of New York has strategically nurtured a culture of innovation by integrating Syracuse University students into the staff, holding technology “open houses,” and developing other initiatives; and
  • the intervention of a public library staff member that helped a mother keep her son enrolled in school and receive his diploma.

Library workers change and save lives every day, and this book is a powerful and nourishing reminder of exactly why libraries are essential.


1    Do You Have Anything on Submarines?
Nicolette Warisse Sosulski

2    Making the Difference
Fayetteville Free Library Team

3    A Golden State (Library) Story
Christopher Gallegos

4    Fire and Flood, Philippe Petit, and a Pork Chop: The Story of the Phoenicia Library
Rebekkah Aldrich

5    What’s Your Superpower?
Tom Bruno

6    Me and the Library Dog
Melissa M. Powell

7    Miguel    
Yago Cura

8    Project Code
Brandy McNeil

9    A Love Letter to the Chattanooga Public Library
Meredith Levine

10    Anonymous Man
Sue Considine

11    Flux Capacitor
John Spears

12    Once Upon a Story
Erica Freudenberger

13    Ben’s Game
Nicole Goff

14    Prudie’s Letter
Valerie Carroll

15    Simple Positive Play
Jennifer Ilardi

16    Validation Enough for Me
Nancy Howe

17    I Worked a Lifetime to Become Homeless
Frank Jackson with Ben Bizzle

About the Editors and Contributors

Ben Bizzle

Ben Bizzle is founder and CEO of the marketing and web development firm, Library Market. A 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and John Cotton Dana Award winner, for more than seven years he served as the director of technology and head of the creative team at Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He is co-author of the books Start a Revolution: Stop Acting Like a Library and Libraryland: It's All about the Story.

Sue Considine

Sue Considine is an independent International Consultant, and the former Executive Director of the Fayetteville Free Library (FFL) in NY. During her administration, the FFL became a leader of innovation in the library field, pioneering new transformative methods of community engagement including integration of participatory STEAM learning into all library services and facilitating the launch of the first ever Fabrication lab, the FFL FabLab, in a public library. She is an experienced international public speaker presenting on contemporary library issues including innovation, leadership, and change management. Sue is a proud recipient of the Library Journal Mover & Shaker, WCNY Women Who Make America, PLA Charlie Robinson and the White House “Champion of Change” awards. She is a fierce advocate for Librarians and is active in the field, including serving in diverse leadership roles within the American Library Association and the International Federation of Library Associations.