Richard The Mover
Digital Services Manager
Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL
MSI, School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2006
Skokie Public Library Digital Media Lab
Photo by Jay Jackson
On his first round of graduate school, in 2003, Richard Kong studied film. As much as he loved the medium, he soon realized a life in academia wasn’t for him. A year later he enrolled in the library program at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, “where the focus was always on considering the places where information, technology, and people intersect, ” says Kong, now the digital services manager at Arlington Heights Memorial Library (AHML).
Kong’s appreciation of visual media played a role in one of the library field’s newest interpretations of that intersection. In 2009, he helped design and launch the innovative Skokie Public Library (SPL) Digital Media Lab, where users access software and hardware—and trained librarians—to create videos, music, podcasts, images, ebooks, websites, animation, and more. (See “Build Your Own Media Lab.”) He’s encouraged others to create similar spaces.
He also helps his colleagues develop digital savvy through the Reference Librarians Association for Continuing Education (RLA CE), which is where Shannon Scanlon, now business services librarian at AHML, first met him. “Richard is a mentor, ” Scanlon says. “His understanding of technology as a training tool for librarians and patrons has inspired me.”
Kong now plans to launch a digital lab at AHML informed by the lessons—both technical and philosophical—that he learned at SPL. “It’s better to press forward and take risks rather than perpetually wait for the perfect time and conditions, ” Kong says. And he’s proving that.