Janet Tom

I Love My Librarian Award

Janet Tom

Reference Librarian
San Francisco Public Library
San Francisco, California

“She not only brings community together, she creates community.”

Janet Tom’s devotion to her community and to librarianship shines through her work at San Francisco Public Library.

Janet created the innovative “Death and Dying” program to make it easier for people to discuss mortality. She is applauded for her leadership in presenting such a sensitive issue in a caring and comfortable way. One of her nominators said, “Janet brings taboo subjects out of the dark and presents them with care and respect.” The series includes panel discusscusions, YouTube videos, and games designed to inform and provide resources and support.

Janet organizes programs that help residents expore nutrition and healthy living. As a result, the library has presented speakers on a wide range of topics such as gum health and periodontal disease, how to make fermented vegetables, raw foods, and vegetarian and vegan cooking. All the programs end with Q&A sessions, giving speakers have a chance to respond to audience questions. And Janet compiles reading and resources lists for each topic. In addition, Janet has expanded the library’s collection of health/medical books and periodicals to cover subjects such as accupuncture, yoga, herbs, and alternative medicine.

She helps coordinate the San Francisco Chinese Alzheimer’s Association’s annual bilingual forum. Hosted by the library, the event brings together everyone from from medical experts to social workers to speak about the latest developments in Alzheimer’s research and resources to patients, their families, friends, caregivers, and the community.

According to one of her nominators, “Janet creates a hub for community engaement at its best.”

Read Janet Tom’s full nomination (PDF)