Collingswood Librarian Shakes Up His Profession
Collingswood Library's Brett Bonfield gets recognition for promoting librarianship—and the calendar modeling probably didn't hurt, either.
Collingswood has an official “mover and shaker” in its midst now that a major industry publications crowned librarian Brett Bonfield with the title.
Library Journal named Bonfield, director of the Collingswood Public Library, as a “Mover & Shaker” for his commitment to improving librarianship as a profession. Bonfield is among 53 professionals nationwide recognized in the March 15 journal edition.
Many Collingswood library patrons already know Bonfield for his dedication to keeping the borough’s library informative, accessible and on top of technology trends. But what does it feel like to have his work officially stamped with approval?
“It feels pretty good,” Bonfield said with a laugh. “It’s nice to know that people see me this way.”
Getting his mover and shaker title is something akin to an actor finally getting to host Staturday Night Live—Bonfield watched other respected friends in the field make the list in prior years and considered that level of achievement an aspiration.
“Being recognized as a ‘mover and shaker’ indicates that, as a professional, one has the passion, dedication and desire to serve the public,” said Francine Fialkoff, Library Journal’s editor-in-chief.
The journal picked Bonfield chiefly because of his work chairing the American Library Association past president Roberta A. Stevens’s Future Perfect Presidential Task Force. He also co-founded and co-edits the blog In the Library with the Lead Pipe. The blog discusses concerns and new ideas with the goal of improving librarianship. And Bonfield spearheaded the Boycott HarperCollins campaign when the publisher limited the number of times an e-book could circulate.
Speaking during a break from a library conference, Bonfield noted that people are always ready to sound the death knell for libraries in the face of changing technology. But nationwide, and locally, libraries’ circulation is on an upswing, he said.
“It’s counterintuitive, until you think about libraries being a very inexpensive source of entertainment and information,” noted Bonfield, who is approaching his fourth anniversary with Collingswood’s library. “It’s a way to get access to what people want, whether that’s books, movies, applying for jobs or accessing the Internet.”
It’s been quite a March for Bonfield—he’s also featured this month in the 2012 Men of the Stacks calendar, which both challenges library stereotypes and supports the It Gets Better Project to help LGBT youth.