May 22, 2022

California: “SF Librarian, Blinded By Nanny, Inspired Registry For Child Care Workers”

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Everybody can use a little inspiration these days and, fortunately, there’s a heaping dose of it on the second floor of San Francisco’s Main Library.

Inside the Library for the Blind and Print Disabled sits 34-year-old Elizabeth Phillips, who joined the staff in September as a braillist, creating documents that blind people like her can read. Beside her rests her guide dog, Allegro, who helps her get to the library on BART from her home in Berkeley

Considering Phillips can’t see a thing and struggles with orientation, her everyday life is impressive. But she’s been racking up impressive feats since was 6 months old.

Parents around California owe Phillips and her mother, Mary Beth Phillips, a huge debt of gratitude. It was because of how they responded to the worst day of their lives — the day baby Elizabeth was violently shaken by a nanny and permanently blinded — that parents have a way of safeguarding against a similar fate befalling their children.

It’s called TrustLine, a registry of child care workers who have passed a state background check, and it’s prevented 18 percent of applicants from joining because of criminal or child abuse histories. Last month, the registry turned 30, and Elizabeth Phillips addressed a crowd of several hundred at an anniversary celebration in Sacramento.


She [Phillips] hoped to enter academia but was frustrated when the dissertation committee declined to recommend her for a tenure-track position, which is how she wound up at the Main Library. But she finds it fitting because her doctoral thesis was about the importance of human connections, and that’s what libraries are all about.

“Libraries are great example of interconnectiveness,” she said. “They bring people together.”

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.