Behrooz Madjdi, reference associate for Pierce County Library System, received outstanding mention for the Library Journal’s 2014 Paralibrarian of the Year Award. Madjdi is one of two recipients of the recognition. These two individuals and the final winner of the national award are all Washington residents.
During his career with the library, Madjdi has grown from fulfilling a traditional reference service role to being a pivotal arm of business services for the library – a road that has been paved by hard work, leadership, customer service and personal curiosity.
Excellent customer service has been a constant throughout Madjdi’s career. He engages with customers in ways that are meaningful and long-lasting. The number of referrals from area colleges and agencies makes Madjdi a business rock-star in the library’s eyes. His classes are routinely at maximum capacity. Countless individuals talk about the impact his help has made. For example, two sisters were able to open their grocery after he helped them with tools and resources to write their business plan.
The most significant example of Madjdi’s many contributions is seen in the Job & Business Centers (JBC). To meet customers’ needs in the economic downturn, the library system developed online services and six one-stop centers to help job-seekers and support small businesses in the county. Madjdi worked alongside professional staff and provided a critical mind for planning the Job & Business Centers. His intelligence, dedication to customer service and creative approach to partnerships have sustained the success of the JBC. Madjdi’s acumen for business services was very general prior to the JBC. Because this was a key priority for the library system, he quickly became a business expert to meet the need head on. His supervisor Keith Knutsen, branch manager, notes Madjdi has extraordinary curiosity and enjoys curling up with a user manual.
Madjdi has taken on a leadership role to develop and foster partnerships with Bates Technical College, the Metropolitan Development Council and Pierce College, agencies that often refer their clients to Madjdi for help. These partnerships are geared towards entrepreneurs and micro-businesses. Madjdi shares his knowledge with other adult services librarians to best assist these customers.
The magazine’s Paralibrarian of the Year Award recognizes the essential role of paralibrarians, now the largest constituency of library workers, in providing excellent library service. Award criteria include job excellence, contributions enabling the library to best serve its community, encouragement of reading and use of library resources and a commitment to free access to information for all. Also measured are candidates’ work to build networks, organizations and groups to back excellence in library work and new career paths for support staff, and improved communication between support staff and the MLS librarians with whom they work.