Chinyere E. Oteh

Baltimore County Public Library, MD

Chinyere E. Oteh is a library worker, a founder, an artist, a mother and a seeker. She is a St. Louis native who is now enjoying work and life on the east coast. After graduating with honors with a B.A. in American Culture Studies from Washington University in 2002 she began a career in youth development, arts administration, and teaching. Currently she is attending the iSchool at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as a Spectrum Scholar and studying to receive her MLIS. On the creative side, she has examined her own mixed-race identity through autobiographical writing and photographic self-portraiture and has taught photography to the young and old throughout St. Louis. On the collective side, she is a Community Matchmaker who founded a time bank, in 2010, called Cowry Collective – a network geared toward forging economic equity and bridging racial divides all the while reminding each of us of our past rich cooperative practices. On the personal side, she is a fierce and loving protector to her two children who were birthed at home in 2008 and 2012. Chinyere has formed the basis of her leadership philosophy and style through her training as a fellow at Community Arts Training Institute, founding member of Yeyo Arts Collective, Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute participant, Jamaa Birth Village Perinatal Doula Training participant, BLACC – Black Leaders Advancing Community Change participant, YES! Jams organizer and facilitator and of course, Library Freedom Institute. A practitioner of adrienne maree brown’s emergent strategy principles in her personal and professional endeavors, Chinyere continually strives to balance the demands and joys of motherhood, career and self-care. She also rejoices in synchronicity and serendipity!

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