UMD Faculty and Alumni Honored as Movers and Shakers Class of 2021

Hayleigh Moore - August 9, 2021

Brenda Johnson-Perkins, Jennifer Sturge, and Nini Beegan are among the Library Journal’s distinguished group of innovators shaping the future of libraries.

collaged photo of three women: Brenda Johnson-Perkins, Jennifer Sturge, Nini Beegan

Brenda Johnson-Perkins, Jennifer Sturge, and Nini Beegan are among the Library Journal’s distinguished group of innovators shaping the future of libraries

Three members of the University of Maryland (UMD) community were inaugurated into the Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers class of 2021. Brenda Johnson-Perkins, Jennifer Sturge, and Nini Beegan were among the 46 people across the U.S. honored this year for their exceptional contributions to moving the library field forward as a profession and facilitating positive community action during one of the greatest health crises in modern times.

Since its inaugural launch in 2002, the Movers and Shakers has honored 26 UMD faculty, alumni, and community members, with many from the MLIS-awarded UMD College of Information Studies (iSchool).

The 2021 Movers and Shakers were divided into six categories – Advocates, Change Agents, Community Builders, Digital Developers, Educators, and Innovators – to encompass both degreed and non-degreed public, academic, and school librarians and library employees, as well as volunteers, vendors, and sometimes those outside of traditional library settings.

Brenda Johnson-Perkins – Advocate

UMD iSchool Alumna

As a librarian, Brenda uses her platform to fight for change within communities and provide the best resource for a diverse group of patrons. During a year faced with two major crises – the COVID-19 pandemic and increased police violence toward Black people, Brenda was responsible for coordinating “COVID-19 and the Black Community,” a Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) panel discussion examining the disproportionate physical, economic, and psychological suffering the virus imposed on Black and Latinx communities. Parallel to the panel, Brenda applied the ALA-accredited anti-bias Project READY curriculum to facilitate conversations with her organization’s entire staff around creating a more anti-racist and equitable community. She currently serves as the Executive Board Secretary for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and is a 2016 ALA Spectrum Scholar which provided her with a scholarship to obtain her Master of Library Science degree from the iSchool. Brenda is an experienced public speaker and moderator for various events, including the BCALA’s  “Upleveling Black Female Professionalism panel, and is the producer of a podcast series for the BCPL discussing and sharing resources from the library’s collections. (Full LJ profile)

Jennifer Sturge – Educator

UMD iSchool Adjunct Lecturer

As the Specialist for School Libraries and Digital Learning for the Calvert County Public Schools system, Jennifer oversees the library media program for 22 schools in the district and has served as a liaison between the district libraries and the community. In Summer 2017, Jennifer became one of 25 national Lilead Fellows, a long-term professional development program which challenges librarians and library staff to discover their core mission and passions in their profession. The Fellowship compelled her to survey her colleagues about their personal core mission, which led to her realizing an overwhelming need to build a more inclusive collection which better reflected the diverse student population. Jennifer began working alongside Sandy Walker, the school district’s equity and diversity supervisor, to diversify the library’s collections, recognize the implicit bias in the library collection practices, and secure the funding needed to replace and rebuild the library’s collections, which she said better suited the needs of the student population and increased overall circulation. Jennifer is currently an Adjunct Professor at the UMD iSchool where she teaches courses in school library administration, collections development, and literature. Jennifer is also interested in researching diversity and equity of school library collections, particularly in understanding how school libraries serve the needs of students who identify as LGBTQ+. (Full LJ profile)

Nini Beegan – Innovator

UMD Baltimore County Alumna

Nini Beegan quickly realized how critical Zoom could be in aiding libraries as they faced unprecedented ramifications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Organizational Learning and Innovation Coordinator for the Maryland State Library (MSL), Nini helped the MSL resolve the communication gaps among library staff and their patrons during quarantine by adding 160 Zoom licenses and additional phone services for the state’s libraries, and organized support groups to share expertise and support. Nini also hosted 33 Virtual Tech Sandbox sessions to provide technical support, online meeting training, and even virtual robotics to library staff. She also helped in coordinating the virtual “Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness” course which offers free training to all staff in the state’s public libraries on serving homeless patrons. Nini received her M.S. in Instructional Systems Development from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2003, and soon after began her more than 25 year career at MSL in 2004. Earlier this year, Nini shared her perspective on the importance of staff development within Maryland’s public libraries and the evolution of learning during a MSL Conversations event. (Full LJ profile)

Former UMD faculty, staff, and alumni Movers and Shakers honorees:

  • Lina Bertinelli, 2020
  • Mega Subramanium, 2019
  • Lae’l Hughes-Watkins, 2019
  • Fran Glick, 2018
  • Trevor Owens, 2018
  • Theresa Burress, 2017
  • Beth-Ann Ryan, 2016
  • Ann Carlson Weeks, 2016
  • Jeffrey DiScala, 2016
  • Christie Kodama, 2016
  • Sarah Espinosa, 2015
  • Shelley Davenport, 2014
  • Matthew Winner, 2013
  • Naomi House, 2013
  • Amanda Ellington, 2012
  • Betsy Fagin, 2012
  • Melissa Jadlos, 2012
  • Kim Ricker, 2008
  • Bill Sleeman, 2007
  • Susan Benz, 2007
  • Sabrina Pacifici, 2006
  • Trina Magi, 2006
  • Laura Gordon-Murnane, 2005
  • Mary Ellen Icaza, 2004
  • Glennor Shirley, 2003
  • George Oberle, 2002

Do you know someone changing the future of libraries? Learn how you can make a nomination the Movers and Shakers class of 2022 at