Amber Clark | Movers & Shakers 2019 – Change Agents

Amber Clark was a rising star at the Sacramento Public Library when Director Rivkah Sass nominated her as a Mover & Shaker in fall 2018. Clark was “one of those people whom you knew was strong and was going straight up” to library leadership, says Sass. Tragically, Amber Clark was shot and killed on December 11 in the North Natomas branch library parking lot. Her killer, police say, was a man who had been banned from the library. Her work, however, lives on.

Amber Clark

PREVIOUS POSITION

Branch Manager, Sacramento Public Library, CA

DEGREE

MLIS, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, 2014; MA, English, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, 2004

IN MEMORIAM

www.saclibrary.org/ambermemorial

Photo by Pearl Skelton/Sacramento PL

MS_logo_300x81

AccessABILITY Advocate

Amber Clark was a rising star at the Sacramento Public Library (SPL) when Director Rivkah Sass nominated her as a Mover & Shaker in fall 2018. Clark was “one of those people whom you knew was strong and was going straight up” to library leadership, says Sass (the 2006 LJ Librarian of the Year). Tragically, Amber Clark was shot and killed on December 11 in the North Natomas branch library parking lot. Her killer, police say, was a man who had been banned from the library.

Her work, however, lives on.

Clark had been a disability advocate since childhood, having played an integral role in the care of her younger sister who has Down syndrome, says her husband, Kelly Clark. The experience led her to a lifetime of passionate advocacy for people with disabilities, beginning as an undergraduate volunteer. Clark came to librarianship in 2014 after a six-year career teaching English and started as a teen librarian at SPL in 2015, becoming branch supervisor in 2017. In addition, that same year she took over the library AccessABILITY Team and spearheaded an innovative hub library plan, developed from feedback gleaned in conversation with the disability community. They asked for three things: a central trusted source of information; low-cost and regionally accessible programs for their families; and a feeling of inclusion. In response, Clark drew on her teaching background to create people-first training and developed a team to deliver it systemwide, beginning with all-staff training in November 2018. Starting with five libraries, the hub plan will officially be rolled out this year.

Hub services, some still in development at the library, are extensive and include Sensory Storytime, Sensory-Friendly Family Movies for all, as well as Library Insiders for adults and teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become familiar with library resources and accessible facilities and confident interacting with staff. There’s also the We Speak Library app on iPads so staff can engage with people who have limited verbal skills or don’t speak. Clark also made it a priority to hire more employees with developmental/cognitive disabilities.

In Clark’s memory, Sacramento staff members wear buttons that say, “the future is accessible.” “She made us put how we serve special populations front of mind,” says Sass. “She changed the conversation for us organizationally. That’s her legacy, and we’re going to build on that.” This building has already started: the Amber Clark Memorial fund will be used to extend the library’s accessibility programming.

Clark’s husband, too, plans to carry on her legacy. “Amber encouraged me to pursue my MLIS degree” after retiring from the military, he says. He now works for the California State Library. “I am extraordinarily proud of the work she did.”

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a b

www.saclibrary.org/ambermemorial appears to be a dead link (no pun intended)

Posted : Jun 26, 2019 02:43


Folasade Adepoju

Rest in Peace Amber. Your legacy lives on.

Posted : Mar 31, 2019 08:05


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