Sara Proaño, Community Engagement Manager at Kent District Library, has been named a “Mover and Shaker” in the library industry by the national publication, Library Journal. Proaño was selected in the Community Builder category because she takes Kent District Library (KDL) beyond its walls, bringing library services to individuals who experience barriers to access.
One of the most frequent barriers to accessing library services for individuals and families is poverty. To help address root causes, Proaño has implemented financial stabilization initiatives, including programs through which heads of household can receive marketable-skills training. To combat literacy barriers, Proaño helmed several key partnerships, such as collaborating with Puertas Abiertas, an organization committed to responding to the needs of immigrant women who have survived violence or are dealing with trauma and introducing KDL Free Libraries into the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
“I can’t think of a better award for Sara and the work she has done with our Kent County communities, forging relationships and partnerships, promoting library services and taking our materials out to those who cannot make it to the branches,” said Hennie Vaandrager, Manager of Outreach and Programming. “She challenges us to think inclusively and broadly as we plan our services and programs.”
Library Journal celebrates a new cohort of Movers & Shakers each year. This year, the 49 individuals selected hail from every corner of the library world: staff, administrators, faculty, vendors, marketers, board members and more. They are emerging talents — both great leaders and behind-the-scenes contributors who are providing inspiration and model programs for others. Movers & Shakers are innovative, creative and making a difference fighting against censorship. Categories include Community Builders, Advocates, Change Agents, Educators and Innovators.
“I feel so humbled by this nomination and award,” said Proaño. “Our team helps patrons access resources, experience programs and see themselves represented in our library services, which means I get to share all of the amazing things that KDL staff do with them.”