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Lindsey Taggart, 28
Public Services Librarian, Crowder College
If you haven’t been in a college library lately, you’re in for a surprise. Gone are card catalogs and the volunteers who have guarded their secrets for decades. In their place are computer screens, open space and professionals like Lindsey Taggart.
As Public Services Librarian for Crowder College in Neosho, Lindsey handles much of the orientation for the library, helps students get familiar with online databases and shows them how to evaluate resources they find. An art and English major at Grinnell College in Minnesota, Lindsey returned home and discovered her current path while working at the Christian County Library. She earned her master’s degree in Library Science from Mizzou, and then it was on to Crowder College. She recently made the move to Neosho to be closer to her fiancé, Mike, who works as an arborist for the City of Joplin.
Lindsey was recently selected as one of the American Library Association’s Emerging Leaders, one of 50 from across the country, who took part in volunteer service projects and professional development. While with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps in 2013, Lindsey worked with the Women’s Prison Book Project providing books to women’s prisons. She also volunteers with Missouri Master Naturalists and has been a member of The Network and volunteered with Springfield Ballet, Girls on the Run, Harmony House and more.
Job title and where you work: Public Services Librarian, Crowder College
Education: MLIS, University of Missouri-Columbia. BA, double major in English Literature and Studio Art, Grinnell College.
City or town where you live: Joplin
1. How did you end up at your current job/profession?
It’s been a happy accident, and I’ve amassed a Wayne Campbell-style collection of name tags along the way (totally worth it, though!). My first library job was as a work study student in college. Back then, I mostly loved the job for selfish reasons: insider knowledge of the best study spots, proximity to a first edition of Leaves of Grass, and job-sanctioned people watching. As I continued working in libraries, I really enjoyed the service and relationship building aspects of the work. That’s what ended up drawing me to librarianship as a career. I love the ways libraries act as powerful agents for positive change and social justice in our communities.
2. Where do you find passion to do what you do?
I’m inspired by people who genuinely care about something. It’s contagious. I love learning about the great work others are doing and trying to capture some of that magic in my own life.
3. Are you single/married, and do you have any kids?
I’m getting married to my partner this summer. You know the song “I Never Dreamed” by The Cookies? It’s like that.
4. What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
Running, reading, volunteering, birding, book clubbing, pottery. I’m a fan of Trivia Binge at Patton Alley Pub on Sundays at 7:30 p.m. It’s free to play, the hosts are brilliant and hilarious, and it’s a guaranteed babefest.
5. Are you involved in any charitable organizations?
I volunteer with the Missouri Master Naturalists–Springfield Plateau Chapter. The Master Naturalists provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas here in the Ozarks. So far, I’ve mostly worked with invasive species control and tree plantings. I’ve especially enjoyed participating in tree plantings in Joplin and helping to provide citizens with native trees. I also do volunteer work through Librarians Build Communities (LBC), a group dedicated to connecting librarian volunteers with organizations in need. I got involved with LBC through my participation in the American Library Association’s Emerging Leaders program. Our team co-founded the LBC Membership Initiative Group and promoted it to member chapters across the country. The Missouri Library Association has been a great supporter: at last year’s conference, we sorted and repackaged donations for The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. It was a great way to connect with the local community, network with fellow librarians, and take action against food insecurity—an important issue here in our state.
6. Are you a member of any professional organizations?
I’m a member of the Missouri Library Association and American Library Association (New Members Round Table–Student Chapter of the Year Award Committee; Association of College and Research Libraries).
7. How would you define the secret to success?
Being able to enjoy the process; to celebrate missteps and failure as you would success.
8. What’s your favorite thing about your career?
Every person is a weird and beautiful snowflake, and it’s fun to get to interact with all kinds of people every day. Hanging out with my phenomenal co-workers is a bonus.
9. What’s your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
Tons of opportunities for outdoor activities.
10. If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
I’d give advice in BOOK FORM by giving her the three volumes (so far) of Rookie Yearbook, edited by Tavi Gevinson. They are compilations from the teen web magazine Rookie, covering essentials like friendship, feminism, breakups, style and more with contributions from Miranda July, Kim Gordon, Grimes, David Sedaris and other cool humans.
11. What was your “dream job” at age 5?
As a child I went through a prolonged Harriet the Spy phase that continues to this day. If you’re wondering whether I’ve Googled you, the answer is yes. Many times.
12. List three traits that define a successful career:
Empathy, balance, and a sense of humor.
13. Why are you a 20 Under 30?
14. What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
An ongoing project is working on my instruction skills and finding new ways to promote the library to our students. Everyone at Crowder works extremely hard to make sure that students are building skills that will help them be successful in their education and throughout their lives. At Lee Library, it’s exciting to be part of that important goal.
15. What completed project are you most proud of?
I did a year of service with Lutheran Volunteer Corps, which is sort of like Americorps plus The Real World minus camera crews. I lived in a house in Minneapolis with six strangers, and we all worked as full-time volunteers for various social justice organizations. I worked at a bike/coffee shop that focused on youth development. I was the primary writer on a grant application to upgrade the shop’s signage and interior, and thanks to some awesome teamwork we got it—a big foam check and everything! It has been really cool to see the vision come to fruition. The shop’s makeover means more room for classes, more bike safety demos, and most importantly, more kids on bikes.
Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:
Possibility makes life worth living.
A day at work wouldn’t be complete without snacks and snacks and snacks.
Ten years from now, I hope I’m content.
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would go off the grid.
The best part about being a 20 Under 30 is the prerogative to have a little fun!