Sarah Sagmoen – 2014 LJ Mover & Shaker

Director of Learning Commons & User Experience
Director of Learning Commons & User Experience

Sarah Sagmoen, Director of Learning Commons and User Services at Brookens Library at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has been selected as one of 50 “Movers and Shakers” in the annual award sponsored by Library Journal, the most prestigious trade journal in the library profession.  More than 225 librarians from all types of libraries throughout the United States were nominated for the award which recognizes early career librarians who are seen as emerging leaders in the field.  The fifty individuals chosen for the award this year will be profiled in the March 15 issue of Library Journal, but an announcement went out on the magazine’s web edition today http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/03/people/movers-shakers-2014/movers-shakers-2014/#_.

The announcement states that “the 50 individuals recognized here are passionate about what all types of libraries can do to enhance lives—for adults, teens, schoolchildren, infants, and toddlers. If there’s a common theme among their profiles, it’s that as much as the library is a place to go, it is also a place on the go—to wherever patrons or potential patrons are.”

That description certainly fits Sagmoen.  Early on in her now four year career at Brookens Library, she began to think of new ways to reach out directly to students.  Research performed by the library had shown that students were more likely to ask for assistance from librarians if they knew librarians as people.  Sagmoen set out to make that happen.  She began volunteering at student activities on campus, such as Springfest, where she judged the “monumentally muddy” tug-of-war.  She was a key member of the library committee that planned and implemented gaming days and poetry slams, and together with colleagues in the library and Student Life, conceived of and worked with students to produce the successful “Haunted Library” event held each year.  The first Haunted Library was voted “Student Event of the Year.”  Sagmoen’s impact has not gone unnoticed on campus—she was chosen as an Employee of the Month in 2013.

Sagmoen also took on more responsibility within the library, performing a variety of functions before being chosen in a national search for the newly created position of Director of Learning Commons and User Services.  In this role, Sagmoen manages the Information Desk, Circulation, and Reserves as well as the installed base of over 100 public-use computers.  She has created a successful training program for library student assistants that empowers them and prepares them to take on leadership roles.  In addition to serving as the liaison to Student Life, Sagmoen, who is an assistant clinical professor, also is the library liaison to the College of Education and Human Services, offering information literacy instruction and doing collection development for the disciplines represented by EHS.

In her second year at UIS, Sagmoen was chosen as an instructor for ILEAD U (Illinois Librarians Explore, Apply and Discover), an Institute of Museum and Library Services Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant sponsored by the Illinois State Library.  She was chosen for her social-networking skills, but her high-energy style of teaching and her ability to work with a wide array of people have meant that she has been asked to return in subsequent years.

Jane Treadwell, University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services, says of Sagmoen: “Sarah’s accomplishments point to her creativity, her energy and enthusiasm, her ability to connect with people and inspire a team and her sheer capacity for hard work.  She believes that libraries can be both educational and fun.”

Sagmoen, along with the rest of this year’s Movers & Shakers, will be honored at the American Library Association conference, at a luncheon in Las Vegas on Friday, June 27.

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