Illustration by Gwen Keraval

One of the questions I’m asked most often—by friends and colleagues alike—is: What are the biggest issues facing libraries today? Anyone seeking answers would do well to take a look at the 2023 lineup of Movers & Shakers, who are engaging in those issues head on: challenges to intellectual freedom, racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, food and resource insecurity, and a systemic lack of opportunity for those who are underserved.

The past three cohorts of Movers were defined, in many ways, by how they took on those challenges through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, while not “post-pandemic”—if that term will ever apply— the capacity of libraries and library staff continued to expand. The 49 individuals profiled include library workers, directors, marketers, tech specialists, developers, teachers, customer-service specialists, artists, lawyers, vendors, and more.

They have spoken before their elected officials on the importance of free access to information and even run for office; helped frame citywide equity, diversity, and inclusion policy; redesigned school-librarian education requirements; and developed resiliency kits for pandemic-era kids, to give a few examples.

We have a grassroots library for and featuring trans folks, programs and services centering d/Deaf (Deaf/Hard of Hearing) culture in the library, a podcast spotlighting narratives from Native elders, and Lizzo at the Library of Congress—to name just a few neat moves and paradigm shakeups. We were excited and inspired by the range of work we saw this year, and hope you will be as well.

Thanks go to our external judges (and members of previous Movers classes): Anna Avalos, Cicely Lewis, JJ Pionke, and Veronda Pitchford, for their expertise and insight, as well as former external judge and Mover Elizabeth Joseph, who pinch-hit on LJ’s internal judging team this year along with me and LJ Senior Technology Editor Matt Enis. A big thank-you and shout-out to our project coordinator, Amy Rea, and second pass editor (and former LJ Editor-in-Chief) Francine Fialkoff, who kept the wheels turning. Those wheels wouldn’t have existed without the writers who authored a wide range of thoughtful profiles, and our design team, Kevin Henegan and Irving Cumberbatch, who made them pop on the page.

Kudos, of course, to our 2023 cohort of Movers—and, critically, to those who haven’t yet been nominated but are doing the work as we speak, changing the conversation in ways large and small. We’ll be hearing from them, without a doubt. Next year’s library challenges may echo those of 2023 or we may run up against something entirely unexpected—ask the class of 2020 about that—but whatever the needs of the field, Movers & Shakers will have some great ideas to address them. —Lisa Peet, Executive Editor

(To nominate someone for the 2024 Movers & Shakers awards, please use the form linked here)

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Movers by Category

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Movers by Year

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Movers on the Map


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