Jenny Ryan | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Educators

In Saskatoon, First Nations people make up nine percent of the population, and Jenny Ryan wanted to find ways to serve those communities. So when she came across the story of a new DC superhero, Equinox—a young, female Cree—she got excited. “I had been trying to find representation of indigenous teens to add to the collection, and I wanted more female representation, too,” she says.
Jenny Ryan

CURRENT POSITION

YA Services Librarian, Saskatoon Public Library, Sask.

DEGREE

MLIS, University of Alberta, 2005

FOLLOW

@jennysryan on Twitter; @saskatcheyawn (Instagram)

Photo by Douglas Gritzmacher

MS_logo_300x81

Super Representation

In Saskatoon, First Nations people make up nine percent of the population, and Jenny Ryan wanted to find ways to serve those communities. So when she came across the story of a new DC superhero, Equinox—a young, female Cree—she got excited. “I had been trying to find representation of indigenous teens to add to the collection, and I wanted more female representation, too,” she says.

Ryan organized an event at the Saskatoon Public Library (SPL) around the comic’s publication, incorporating performances by indigenous drummers and youth dancers, as well as a Skype Q&A with the comic’s creator, Jeff Lemire. She contacted a cultural advisor in a local school to ensure that interactions with tribal Elders were respectful and appropriate. There was one major benefit of all this learning, says Ryan. “The young people at the event saw indigenous and nonindigenous adults working together to honor traditional practices.”

Since then, Ryan has reached out to indigenous artists to run storytelling, songwriting, and stand-up comedy programs for teens. “Many of the teens in those programs have been indigenous, but not always, and that’s valuable, [as well],” she says.

She has also hosted screenings of a local documentary, A Chance To Speak, in which individuals living in poverty discuss their experiences with homelessness, gang violence, and sexual exploitation of children. The event was so successful that it was duplicated in other SPL locations and schools.

Next on deck? Perhaps a pen pal book club among kids at different types of schools. “I like the idea of finding commonalities between communities,” says Ryan, “even if it’s just, ‘Man, I can’t wait for the next issue of The Runaways.’”

Comments

Donna Wells

I worked with Jenny for a number of years and was impressed by her seemingly endless supply of ideas for making/facilitating connections within the community. She is well deserving of this recognition!

Posted : Mar 23, 2018 03:21

Jenny Ryan

Thank you so much, Donna! Your leadership taught me so much about working with the community.

Posted : Mar 23, 2018 03:21


Ann Foster

Jenny is a shining star and it's so great to see her being recognized! She's always been an innovator and a change agent with a strong commitment to meeting the needs of the community.

Posted : Mar 20, 2018 12:16

Jenny Ryan

Thank you Ann! You've been a big part of my accomplishments, too. So happy to have you on this professional adventure with me.

Posted : Mar 20, 2018 12:16


Theresa

Jenny continues a long standing tradition of quality YA Services at Saskatoon Public Library. It is fantastic to see the continued support for YA service in the city. The leadership team as well as the Board must be thrilled that their support has translated into this recognition for the professionals they bring on board to get the job done. Bravo Jenny. Bravo Saskatoon.

Posted : Mar 17, 2018 02:22

Jenny Ryan

I never intended to be a YA librarian but it's turned out to been a fun adventure. Thank you for the kind words!

Posted : Mar 17, 2018 02:22


Barb Janicek

Jenny was a tremendous support and role model for me in my first year of being a Librarian. I'm thrilled to see her efforts so widely recognized. Well done! (And, great choice, LJ)

Posted : Mar 16, 2018 02:54

Jenny Ryan

I loved working with you! And I love hearing about all the cool stuff you're getting up to in Kitchener. You are definitely an inspiration to me. xoxo

Posted : Mar 16, 2018 02:54


Valerie Viccars

So happy to see Jenny recognized for the great work she does with youth in her community. I am proud of my dear friend and fellow alum!

Posted : Mar 16, 2018 02:47

Jenny Ryan

XOXO Val! You were my first library friend and your support means so much.

Posted : Mar 16, 2018 02:47


View More Comments

RELATED 

TOP STORIES

LIBRARY EDUCATION

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COMMUNITY FORM

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.