Texas Tech University

Librarian Receives Prestigious Award

Amanda Castro-Crist

March 15, 2016

Associate Librarian Ryan Litsey is one of 54 library professionals named as 2016 “Movers and Shakers” by the industry publication Library Journal.

Ryan Litsey

A Texas Tech University Libraries faculty member is being recognized as an emerging leader who is making a difference in the library world.

Ryan Litsey, associate librarian and head of interlibrary loan and the Document Delivery Department, has been named a "Mover and Shaker" by the national publication Library Journal. This month, Litsey and 53 others were recognized as outstanding professionals committed to providing excellent service and shaping the future of libraries.

"This year's class of 54 joins a group of talented professionals who are committed, passionate and invigorated – each alone and all together transforming the library world and the communities it impacts for the better," said Rebecca T. Miller, editorial director of Library Journal and School Library Journal.

Litsey was chosen for the award because of his commitment to the profession and his development of groundbreaking technologies that have helped transform resource sharing. More than 700 library professionals around the world have received the award since its inception in 2002. Fewer than 30 of those recipients have been from Texas.

During his time at Texas Tech, Litsey has developed Occam's Reader and the stats tracking system OBILLSK. The projects have changed the way interlibrary loan (ILL) librarians are able to share the resources of their respective institutions.

"One of the first ideas I had was developing a system to lend e-books through interlibrary loan," Litsey said. "Working with my colleague and co-creator Kenny Ketner, we partnered with the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and The Greater Western Library Alliance to pilot an early version of the system we called Occam's Reader. With the overwhelming success of the pilot, Kenny and I decided to take the next step and offer the service nationwide."

The program is now being used by more than 20 academic libraries across the country, including Brigham Young University, Kansas State University and Rice University. Litsey said Occam's Reader gives libraries the ability to negotiate with publishers about the role of e-books.

"If Occam's Reader can help libraries negotiate in a more favorable way how they receive and use their content, then we have accomplished one of the more important reasons we had for developing it," Litsey said.

The OBILLSK system tackles another challenge ILL librarians face – having an answer when a patron is looking for an item.

"We partnered with our consortia members and constructed a tracking system for individual ILL requests," Litsey said. "It allows libraries to better determine the relationships they have between each other, troubleshoot any slowdowns or roadblocks, and ultimately help get users resources they want faster and more efficiently."

The OBILLSK system, which was co-developed with Texas Tech Libraries programming group of Kenny Ketner, Scott Luker and Weston Mauldin, is currently in the pilot phase, being tested with 35 libraries throughout the country. Litsey said he plans to continue searching for more ways to efficiently provide resources to library patrons.

"I'm driven to inspire and empower my colleagues to think outside the box and develop things that can really improve the library experience in a way only a librarian can accomplish," Litsey said. "As collections grow and e-books become more prevalent, how can we deliver these resources to our patrons and maintain the same service and access expectations? Occam's Reader was a perfect example of starting the discussion about the role of libraries and resource sharing."

Litsey is a graduate of Florida State University with a degree in library and information sciences. He also is active in the American Library Association and is the associate editor for the Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery and Electronic Reserve.

About Library Journal
Founded in 1876, Library Journal is one of the oldest and most respected publications covering the library field. More than 75,000 library directors, administrators and staff in public, academic and special libraries read the publication. Library Journal reviews more than 8,000 books, audiobooks, videos, databases and websites annually and provides coverage of technology, management, policy and other professional concerns.

The 2016 Movers & Shakers were selected by the editors. Each of the Movers & Shakers will be prominently featured in the March 15 issue of Library Journal and celebrated at a special reception in June during the American Library Association's annual conference in Orlando, Florida.

To learn more about the award winners, visit the listing here.