2014 Eureka! Leadership Institute Mentor: Joan Frye Williams

Joan Frye WilliamsI've been a library geek forever. Summer reading program from first grade onward. Library as homeroom in middle school. President of the high school library club. When I was twelve the Santa Clara Public Library hired me as a junior page, and since then I've always had some kind of library job. I earned my keep at other things along the way – cocktail waitress, documentary film writer – but my heart, and at least a part of my livelihood, has always been at the library.

When I finished library school in 1975 I was hired by the California State Library, where I spent two years doing government documents and reference work – my one "normal" librarian job post-MLS. Back then I was the only person at CSL who had ever done any online searching; this meager experience was enough to make me their de facto techie.

My accidental involvement in technology led me to the Library Development side of the State Library, then into management of the state grants program, and from there into independent consulting. I started consulting in 1982, concentrating on technology at first but finding my true passion in the areas of innovation, human factors, new service models, and the future of libraries.

When I'm not on the road encouraging libraries to try something new, I hang out with my husband Martin in Sacramento, cooking with friends and singing in the kitchen.