Kirby McCurtis ’01: A Mover and Shaker
By Alexis Rodriguez, Associate Director of Advancement
Kirby McCurtis ’01 is an emerging leader in the library world. She has been a librarian since 2008 and focuses her efforts in community building and outreach. During her tenure at the San Diego Public Library, Kirby created Cuddle Up & Read, a storytime program for pregnant and parenting teens. She has since moved from San Diego to Portland, Oregon, where she is a Youth Librarian for the Multnomah County Library. She continues to be a trailblazer and has launched new, innovative outreach programs such as the music-infused Black Storytime and an expansion of the library’s intergenerational storytime for grandparents to include teen involvement.
Kirby is an active member of the American Library Association, the author of a chapter in the recently released book, Libraries, Literacy and African American Youth, and was nationally recognized as one of Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers in 2013. She has recently been selected to serve as a member on the John Newbery Award Committee where she will assist with selecting the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. This distinguished committee operates under the direction of the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
Kirby has fond memories of being a student at OLP and how this experience has influenced her life today: “I loved the sense of family and community that came with being a part of the OLP tradition. The friends I made at OLP are still my best friends. It is a great feeling knowing someone for so long and growing with them as an individual. I also truly believe OLP helped me be the confident woman I am. I never doubt my skills or abilities; if I see a situation or job that I am interested in, I think, ‘why not me’? OLP helped reinforce that feeling my parents worked so hard to instill in me – of pride and power.”
Kirby has some advice to share with current OLP students. “Take time to find yourself. Discover what you love, what you are good at, and what you are passionate about in this safe atmosphere. Enjoy the time here as well; don’t be afraid to soak it all in and live in the moment. Even the awkward ones!”