Libraries Transform: Because Junior Tidal Knows That Promoting Place and Community is Essential

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Junior Tidal is Associate Professor and Web Services and Multimedia Librarian at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, New York. He is a member of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), and the Video Round Table (VRT). He blogs at

What big change are you implementing that is helping your library transform?

One of the more recent big changes that we are implementing is the incorporation of more Brooklyn-based documentaries into our media collection. The Ursula C. Schwerin Library, serving the New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York (CUNY), is located in downtown Brooklyn. It’s a melting pot within a melting pot of sorts. By incorporating films and cinema highlighting local happenings, I feel that students are exposed to issues and events happening in their own backyard that they may be unaware of.

How has this transformation in your library helped to transform your community?

This transformation has allowed students to ask questions and start conversations about where they live and go to school. I believe that fostering these discussions can make our students more aware of our community.

What is one of the biggest challenges for achieving change in your library and how have you learned to manage it?

One of the biggest challenges for achieving change in our library is having students aware of the videos we’ve incorporated into the collection. We’ve tried expanding our promotion efforts via sharing on social media: blog posts, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Although this has been unsuccessful, I have found partnering with various faculty and departments to be highly effective. Students have been more receptive when they hear about new videos in class, and even more so if they attend a screening when encouraged by their instructors.

What resources (books, articles, mentors, web sites, etc.) help inspire your evolving vision of change in libraries?

Probably my biggest resource in inspiring my evolving vision of change in libraries is my own mother, Angelina Tidal! She recently retired as the director of the Letcher County Library District public library system in southeastern Kentucky, where she coordinated numerous technological changes in our rural hometown. My other mentor is the Ursula C. Schwerin Library’s recently appointed Chief Librarian, Prof. Maura Smale, who has spearheaded much transformative work at our institution. She has stressed the importance of building alliances and partnerships not only with our instructional faculty colleagues, but other librarians within the CUNY system. Last but definitely not least, the great work that ALA members have created and shared through various groups (ACRL, LITA, RUSA) and committees is a tremendous asset for any librarian to have.  

The Libraries Transform campaign is designed to increase public awareness of the value, impact and services provided by libraries and library professionals. The Libraries Transform campaign will ensure there is one clear, energetic voice for our profession, showcasing the transformative nature of today’s libraries and elevating the critical role libraries play in the digital age.

If you are a library professional interested in sharing a story about how you are helping libraries transform, please contact Miguel Figueroa at