Baker & Taylor and Kirkus Reviews proudly continues to support diversity and inclusion in libraries. Our partnership with Kirkus has made a great impact as we further promote our leadership campaign, Powering Libraries. Empowering Communities. Kirkus recently interviewed Kelvin Watson, director at Broward County Library, (Broward County, Florida) who is making great strides in launching creative initiatives to better connect with his patrons and the community.
With the help of Baker & Taylor’s Community Sharing Program and new Pop Up Library, Broward County is bringing awareness of the library and extending their reach in the community. Their strong partnership with B&T has given the library the opportunity to better engage and evolve while adapting to the changing needs of the communities they serve.
Preview of article by Meghan Labrise, originally published on KirkusReviews.com :
After Kelvin Watson’s family finished watching the 1984 miniseries Master of the Game, the St. Louis, Missouri, native marched right to the nearest library, checked out the Sydney Sheldon novel it was based on, and read that 400-page book cover to cover. He was 8 years old.
“I felt very accomplished. That thing was bigger than me!” says Watson, who vividly remembers the experience 42 years later. “Reading that book made me recognize that what you check out from the library can transport you to the places you read about—I was transported to the diamond mines of Africa—and it didn’t deter me from checking out other books after that.”
Watson remained a voracious reader through middle school, college, and officer training. He served as a commissioned officer in the Army and worked in leadership roles in sales and marketing, for Ingram Book Group and Borders Group, Inc., before pivoting to a decorated career in public library service. Eighteen months ago, he transitioned from director of e-content services and strategy at Queens Library in New York City to the highest administrative position at the 11th-largest public library in the nation: director of Broward County Libraries in southern Florida.
“The theme we’ve embraced over the past year and a half is ‘inviting the uninvited,’ ” says Watson, who is one of two recently named directors at large of the Public Library Association. “The greatest value we can give the community is continuing to launch initiatives for everybody, even those who can’t, for whatever reason, make it to our physical locations.