In August, President Biden selected Wilmington University alumna Dr. Annie Norman to serve on the National Museum and Library Services board. The state librarian of Delaware and director of the Delaware Division of Libraries, Dr. Norman led the establishment of the Delaware Library Catalog, which comprises 74 participating libraries that share 2.5 million items, including e-books and audiobooks.
The access to data immediately led to increased partnerships with other state agencies. According to the state’s Live Love Delaware site, it became clear that libraries were a unique solution to many statewide challenges. Teams worked with the Department of Labor to place employment specialists physically in the libraries. “They created substantial relationships with Delaware Health and Social Services to connect social workers to patrons who needed them. And they received funding from Delaware Division of the Arts for two arts performers to travel to every library throughout the summer.”
Also under Dr. Norman’s tenure was the 2020 launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Delaware. It provides books by mail every month for children from birth to age 5. According to its website, Parton’s Imagination Library “is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books free of charge…through funding shared by Dolly Parton and local community partners in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and the Republic of Ireland.”
I have always believed children should be in book floods, not book deserts.” — Dr. Annie Norman
On the Live Love Delaware site, Dr. Norman said that Gov. John Carney’s election and First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney’s focus on literacy inspired her to seek solutions that combined relationships with existing opportunities. She used the Imagination Library to partner with Delaware Pediatricians’ Reach Out and Read Program.
On the same site, she added, “I have always believed children should be in book floods, not book deserts.” Her goal has always been to help a small state make a significant impact, but her national appointment obviously has a broader reach.
“This appointment by our own President Biden to the National Museum and Library Services Board is an honor for me and a win for Delaware Libraries,” says Dr. Norman, repeating her message to the Delaware library community, humbly attributing her selection to its “winning collaboration.”
Dr. Norman is also the first librarian inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women. She earned her Ed.D. in Innovation and Organizational Leadership from Wilmington University and received the Audrey K. Doberstein Award for Leadership for her dissertation, Librarians’ Leadership for Lifelong Learning.
“WilmU has had a tremendous impact on our work in libraries,” says Dr. Norman. “For me, the dissertation was most impactful. (Professor) Dr. Svenning set me up in the second class to begin conducting research, so that meant I had several years of data and lots of time for experimentation. Dr. Svenning and (Professor) Dr. Frazier were my advisors, and they took an interest in my project, which was very helpful. The work since then builds on what I learned then.”
The Wilmington University Library is a member of the statewide Delaware Library Consortium. Visit wilmu.edu/library.