When Menlo Park resident Nancy Andrus learned she had been designated a “Mover and Shaker” by the national publication, Library Journal, she was reminded where she got her start — right in her hometown.
“I had a terrific English teacher at M-A, Shannon Griscom, and all the writing I do for the Make HER blog, I credit to her,” said Nancy.
“And thanks to Nick Szedga, I got an internship at the Menlo Park Library. There wasn’t really an intern program there, but we created one. I started doing story time and that led to work on the reference desk and eventually paid work with Michele Burnham who remains the most compassionate, joyful, engaged professional I’ve ever met.”
Nancy, who is a now a children’s librarian at the Sunnyvale Library, was selected as a “Mover and Shaker” because of her commitment to her profession and her development of the Make-HER program, a series of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) exploration workshops for girls ages 8 to 12 and their mothers.
Projects have included light-up Harry Potter wands, wearable technology, and rapid prototyping design challenges. To extend the reach of the program beyond the library, Nancy created the Make-HER site, which has received national attention and over 17,000 views from 41 countries. Established through a Pacific Library Partnership grant, the Make-HER program continues with support from the Friends of the Sunnyvale Library.
Nancy admits her path to librarianship was a bit roundabout. “Though now it seems like I was headed there the whole time,” she said. “In my early career I was a Research Assistant and later Project Coordinator for geriatric research projects at Stanford University. I took a long sabbatical to raise three daughters, only teaching a bit of preschool and music on the side before considering the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program. [Nancy is an accomplished pianist who plays by ear.]
“When I looked at kick-starting my career after so much time away, I decided pursuing an MLIS would be a good way to build on my strengths, namely finding anything under a rock, making sense of it, and putting it in the right hands. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure where the path would take me.
“When I got the part-time job at the Menlo Park Library as a children’s librarian, suddenly those few years teaching preschool made sense, my time at home raising kids was on-the-job-training, and the ability to make music wasn’t just story time filler, but an official literacy tool. Being a librarian has been a perfect fit from day one!”
Photo by Rob Pannoni