on July 08, 2015

Niche Academy, in the Beginning... a Founder's Backstory

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It was the summer of 1983 in Los Angeles California that I attended my first ALA Annual Conference.  

I remember having the time of my life.  My older sister and I scurried through the exhibitor hall getting pens, plush toys, chocolates, and other paraphernalia that the silly vendors were crazy enough to give away for free.  I was 4 years old at the time and was just beginning my life in the library industry.

When I was born, my Dad, Jim Wilson, was working for the BYU library in Provo, UT.  A few years later he and three others started a library software company called Dynix (now SirsiDynix), which is why I started attending ALA Conferences at the age of 4.  When I was 12 my Dad decided we should drive to ALA in Atlanta Georgia.  The only problem with that is that we were living in Wyoming.  Several days later we arrived in Atlanta Georgia having stopped at what seemed like every library between Wyoming and Georgia.  

Through it all I gained an immense respect for libraries and what libraries stand for.  

  • They are institutions of learning.  
  • Sacred halls of inspiration.  
  • Volumes of entertainment.  
  • A place where a nobody can become a somebody.  
  • Where community and collaboration and belonging abound.  

Unfortunately, libraries are also sometimes a community’s best kept secret.  Where valuable resources go unnoticed and are underutilized. 

When it was my turn to go to college, I started working at the library just like my Dad.  I worked in Technical Services and cataloged government documents mostly.  Then, when I graduated I began working at Dynix and continued visiting and speaking with libraries all over the world.  And I kept hearing the same story.  Resources were being underutilized.  It was impossible for staff to train everyone on everything.  

That’s when I came up with the idea for the flux capacitor.  I was standing on my toilet seat…wait, wrong story.

Back in 2006 after Sirsi bought Dynix and created SirsiDynix I decided to move on and try a few new things.  I helped start a software company in the retail industry.  I worked for a healthcare company.  But neither industry felt right.  Libraries and learning are just too much a part of what I am and who I am.  

I always wanted to start a company, following in my Dad’s footsteps.  So I began building an online learning platform.  I wanted to create a way that anyone could simply and easily create their own online learning academy.  

One day I was showing my early product designs to a former colleague and friend, Steve Nielsen, and we began talking about how great this would be for libraries.  A way for libraries to help patrons become aware and learn about how to use all the amazing yet underutilized resources in the library.  A better way to train staff.  A way to share information in the community.  

So Niche Academy was born.  Come see what we’re all about.  

  • Register for a 15 minute demo.  
  • Get started with a trial account.  
  • Change the status quo at your library.  
  • Increase usage.  
  • Increase the reach of your library to the patrons in your community.  

I can’t wait to see what you’ll achieve with your academy.

Want to educate your patrons about all the amazing resources in your library? Learn how!


Jeromy Wilson

Jeromy started Niche Academy because he wanted a simpler way to teach and learn online. Also, after years of building and managing software, he decided that building a whole new company was a better outlet for his bottled up energy and ideas.