Speakers 2016


David Lankes Keynote

Rocket Science is Easy

R. David Lankes, Ph.D.

There is a different between a complicated and a complex problems. Both are hard, but complicated problems deal with known approaches, variables, and parameters. Complex problems are full of unknowns, shifting parameters, and unanticipated connections. Getting a rocket to the moon? Complicated. Helping immigrants find their place in a community? Complex. Library science is complex as librarians must navigate the intricacies of knowledge and human behavior. This presentation presents the vital importance of librarians in the complex tasks of building communities.

Auditorium Sessions

Alessandra Affinito Headshot

We Blinded Them – With Science!

Alessandra Affinito

I never thought that when I signed on with New York Public Library that it would lead to me sitting on the C train lugging a 4 foot black light to work with me. But ever since I started the Science Experiment for Kids! program at my branch, it’s been one strange shopping excursion after another. With this program our community’s kids, who often don’t have interactive STEM programs in their own classrooms, get to get their hands dirty and sometimes blow things up (safely, of course). I’ve done everything from bio-luminescence (hence the black light) to chromatography to the old standbys like silly putty, and every time I have a group of kids who genuinely excited to learn something new.
During this session, I’ll tell you about my experience bringing my particular brand of Weird Science to the library. I’ll also give you ideas on how to start a STEM based program in your library, no matter the budget or age group. I guarantee that you will be amazed by the ingenuity and insightful questions that come from your community’s children when you enact these programs. They have the unique ability to introduce children to the framework of the scientific method while encouraging their curiosity to thrive. Most importantly, they’re a lot of fun for librarians and library patrons alike!

Megan Biggens - Nico Piro

Shake it up, Mix it up, Dance it up: Programming for Young Professionals

Megan Biggins, Nico Piro, and Karen Sullivan

How do you go from planning a small iPod dance party, to holding a literary ball for 350 people?

In 2012, a community survey revealed that young professionals in their 20s and 30s were some of the least likely residents to use Arlington Public Library in Arlington, VA. So staff members who fit this demographic asked themselves, “What kind of things would we like to do in our free time?” Then they added in a large dose of Design Thinking, and began to test programs specifically tailored to this group. Thus the “Literary Style in Arlington” initiative, better known as Lit Up, was born. The goal was simple: get young professionals in their 20s and 30s to increase their library use and awareness of library services.

Over the past three years, Lit Up programming has grown to include book clubs at bars and coffee shops, annual Late Night Recess (300 people playing Nerf and other games in the Library after hours), Drop Everything and Read Nights at a local bakeshop, Harry Potter Trivia night (180+ people), as well as the signature Lit Up Ball, a fancy literary-themed fundraiser for early literacy.

All of this has garnered the library multiple articles in the Washington Post and other media, recognition by top local officials, and – best of all – great attendance at programs, increased social media interaction, and an increase in library card signups and use.

This session will cover ways to bring active and involved programming to young professionals whose recent library experience is (at most) browsing your eBooks, plus how to appeal to a range of community members in the age group, from young twenty somethings interested in Nerf battles as well as thirty somethings with young families who want to get their estates in order. We’ll also cover our team structure, idea generation, and balancing this new initiative with traditional programming and reference work.

Billy Friebele and Mike Iacovone

Makers in Residence: Connecting Digital Tools with the Public

Billy Friebele & Mike Iacovone

Makers-in-Residence Billy Friebele and Mike Iacovone will discuss their one-year residency in the makerspace at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and Tenley-Friendship Library. We will discuss our workshops with the public, including drawing in urban areas with GPS and 3D Scanning in public space. The residency will culminate with an exhibition, and we will talk about the projects that are in development, and how we are using the tools in the maker space to create the work in this show. Also joining the discussion will be an Library Associate from MLK Jr. Memorial Library, to speak about how the new maker space is interfacing with the public, and how the space fosters creative projects from artists, scientists, and creative types from many different disciplines.

Breakout Sessions

elizabeth olesh headshot

Planning Outside the Lines

Elixabeth Olesh

You’ve tried surveys and focus groups, but have you tried painting your way into your library’s future? Learn about how one public library has incorporated creativity into their planning process and how you can do the same.

maxine bleiweis headshot

Pounding the Pavement

Maxine Bleiweis

Hear how one public library sent librarians out on “sales calls” to local businesses In order to demonstrate that the public library was critical to the success of the community’s tax base. The result: more confidence on the part of the librarians, more annual funding, and a new-found status among local government officials. A win-win situation that any library can emulate and learn the triumphs and the pitfalls.

Laurie Dreyer - Stephanie Preston - Carol Anne Germain

Radishes, Toilet Seats, Moths

Laurie Dreyer, Stephanie Preston, Carol Anne Germain

Library programming is essential for cultural, academic and entertainment goals. But how do we develop effective programming that is geared to meet the needs of patrons in urban areas? What do we have to think about prior to the implementation of our ideas? How do we take the tools that are at our disposal to create fantastic and eccentric programs? And once the programming is coordinated, what marketing strategies will work to draw an enthusiastic audience? Participants will walk away with a sense of awe at how much they’ve learned through practice, demonstrations and discussion.

Rachel Payne and Jessica Ralli

The Big Playdate

Rachel Payne & Jessica Ralli

Why would you need an inflatable wading pool, a variety of textured bath mats, and tissue boxes stuffed with scarves? Come to this session to find out! Discover how librarians across the country have designed developmentally-appropriate, language-rich play events for babies, toddlers, and their grown-ups. Learn the dynamics of play in the early years and how to encourage parents and caregivers to engage with young children during play through simple, low-cost play recipes created with everyday materials.

Amie Wright

Rethinking School Outreach

Amie Wright

What does successful school outreach from the public library to schools look like? Is it about library cards? databases? information literacy?

In this session members of the MYLibraryNYC program – a school-library outreach partnership program with more than 500 schools in NYC – will discuss successes and lessons learned over the past 5 years of running this program.

Best Practices will include:
* booktalking new and upcoming book titles for kids
* school specific outreach – no one size fits all outreach
* working with stakeholders at each school

Hope Johnson

Creative Literacy for Urban Kids

Hope Johnson

In 2013, Brooklyn Public Library launched its Read! Write! Create! Program, which focused on providing literacy development courses through “The Comic Book Project” workshops for urban kids in three Brooklyn neighborhoods with low-income, low-library attendance rates. The program was taught at five DYCD Community Center locations within these neighborhoods and then, in 2015 the workshop was altered to fit into regular Brooklyn Public Library children’s and youth programming. More than 20 libraries in Brooklyn now hold the program.

This presentation will discuss The Read! Write! Create! Comic Book and Comic Strip Workshop Programs in urban Brooklyn neighborhoods and introduce a short definition and model for Creative Literacy workshops in library and out-of-school time programs.

PC Sweeney Headshot

Identifying and Curating Your Library’s Supporters

Patrick Sweeney

One of the major issues in any advocacy or political campaign for libraries is not having a well identified group of community members who are dedicated to the library as a cause. Libraries can solve this issue by getting serious about using data to identify and curate library supporters and build their social capital through many of the tools and techniques used in modern political campaigns or modern community organizing. In this session, we will talk about techniques to help collect data for advocacy and the platforms that are available to do it. We will also discuss a holistic approach to advocacy that is used by many National PACs, political parties, candidates, and causes use to further their agendas and demonstrate how libraries can learn from this approach.

Tamara Stewart

Help Wanted?  Employment Challenges Facing Librarians

Tamara Stewart

Librarians and libraries tend to see ourselves and our institutions as welcoming, inclusive and fair. While urban librarians and libraries tend to be more open-minded and ethnically diverse than our rural counterparts, we are not immune to several disturbing realities:

  1. Librarians are disproportionately White
  2. Libraries prefer to hire librarians who are already employed
  3. Increasingly, part-time and contract professional positions are the norm, rather than full-time positions

Are libraries’ current hiring practices and priorities really meeting our profession’s staffing needs? Why have decades of efforts to recruit librarians of color, failed? Why are libraries reluctant to hire unemployed librarians? Is the practice of hiring part-time and contract librarians creating a second class within the profession? How can urban librarians help our profession overcome these challenges?

Join some brave colleagues for a lively, honest, respectful, and much-needed conversation about some of the most sensitive issues surrounding library employment.

Nick Franklin

Teleconferencing with Jails and Prisons

Nick Franklin

Teleconferencing services at secure facilities (jails) have grown exponentially in a very short time providing an alternative to in-person visits for families of incarcerated people. In 2014, Outreach Services at Brooklyn Public Library made its first successful connection from a room in the InfoCommons to an NYC Department of Corrections facility (jail) paving the way to the launch of the ‘Telestory’ program which provides incarcerated parents a way to virtually visit with their families. The value of this as a library service is immeasurable. Thanks to the library, the visit can take place in a safe public place that offers a dynamic learning environment for children and useful tools for business and job-finding for adults. The Telestory program expands on work of BPL’s Transitional Services team that currently runs monthly Rikers Island-based early literacy and book recording programs for incarcerated dads. Participants learn about connecting with their children through early childhood literacy practice and are invited to record themselves reading a favorite book to their kids.
In this session, the team that produces the Telestory program will introduce the program, its value in the community and the importance of the service being provided in a library setting. Nick Higgins, Director of Outreach Services will also talk about future initiatives that will make use of teleconferencing to expand the reach of other library programs and create new programs that bring community library services to a wider audience.