Speakers 2018


Smiling Jessamyn West


Jessamyn West

Jessamyn West has been teaching Tools for Community Engagement at the University Hawai’i (distance, she would never leave Vermont) for three years. She’ll tell you what’s up in the world of community engagement and libraries and why library workers should have a seat at EVERY table. We’ll talk about deep engagement with our communities, some radical tactics, and what to do when we hit inevitable pain points. Mahalo!

Presentation and notes

Auditorium Sessions

Deena Caswell headshot

Pride at the Library – LGBTQ Programming for All Ages

Deena Caswell

The LGBTQ community is an underserved and vulnerable population, often facing misinformation and censorship. Libraries have a unique capability to reach out to this group, providing a safe space to access materials and gather together, as well as provide education to the larger community. This talk will discuss how to develop engaging LGBTQ programming for all ages, gain the support of your administration, locate community partners, promote your programs, deal with media attention, and manage complaints.


Shauntee Burns and Elisa Garcia headshots

Libraries For All: Preparing Staff to Work with Individuals from Diverse Backgrounds

Shauntee Burns & Elisa Garcia

Libraries serve a variety of populations. From academic, public, to school libraries our diverse users have a variety of questions and needs. It is important that we all follow the same guidelines, so anyone who visits the library feels welcome and served. The American Library Association established a set of Core Values for Librarianship. This program will highlight these core values and give how-tos for all staff working in the library that will promote access, professionalism, and great service.

tisha tyler headshot

Dispelling the Urban-Only Myth

Tisha Tyler

It is a misconception that urban libraries are the only systems dealing with the challenges of our current society – homelessness, drug use, violence, prostitution, etc. These issues can (and are) also dominating the landscape in rural and small-sized systems as well. Many times, the staff in smaller systems are not adequately prepared to handle the problems that walk through their doors every single day.In this presentation, we will peel back the layers and shine a light on some of the hurdles that rural and small-sized library systems have overcome as well as dive into discussion about innovative ways to meet the needs of all library customers.

Breakout Sessions

Lynn Indira Mary headshots

Steam Fun and Games

Indira Mukherjee, Lynn Cole & Mary Blieka

As a learning hub for Generation Z, our goal is to help prepare them for opportunities and challenges of the world ahead. We address areas of concern such as climate change with experiential learning by embedding relevant STEAM skills and knowledge into playful formats. These include skits, matching and memory games, jeopardy, Lego construction, a monthly book club and puzzles, sprinkling in a little competition for extra excitement.
Beyond counting attendance numbers and circulation, concept mastery is a qualitative outcome. Engagement in activities, observation, conversations and challenge sheets allow us to assess learning without surveys.

Kristy Cooper Headshot

Building Revolutionary Solidarity Across the Profession

Kristy Cooper & Jami Thompson

How do we fight the creep of private interests into libraries when they are coming from the inside? Through the course of two very successful campaigns this year, we succeeded at getting an entire library board to resign after the retaliatory termination of five librarians who were already budgeted for in Westland, MI, and stopped the sale of the downtown Cincinnati North Building to corporate interests. In our presentation we will discuss how to engage the public en masse to fight back and garner the support of library workers across different systems.

Jeremy Johanessen headshot

Everyday Advocacy – Revolution One Day at a Time

Jeremy Johannesen

There are those who call into question the value and purpose of libraries in modern society; and yet the access and equity that libraries deliver has never been more essential. It is incumbent upon all members of the library community to be prepared to serve as active and engaged advocates.Everyone – director, librarian, clerk, trustee or patron has a role to play in fearlessly advocating for libraries. Learn how to craft your message, build your base and win the support of your community. Effective coalition building and collaboration techniques can cement the position of your library as the cornerstone of your community.

Amy Martin Headshot

A new look at community helpers: evaluating children’s books about police

Amy Martin

In 2016, in response to increasing media reports of police misconduct and violence, the Oakland Public Library began an internal conversation that led to Evaluating Children’s Books about Police: a toolkit for librarians and other evaluators of children’s literature. Join the conversation about how common depictions of police in children’s books as friendly community helpers reinforce racist structures in society, providing a disservice to the children libraries serve. How can librarians, book reviewers, publishers, writers, and illustrators handle police in children’s books?

Leigh Hurwitz and Marie McGwier headshots

A Brief, But Powerful Microcosm: Communities, Information, and Collaboration

Leigh Hurwitz & Marie McGwier

In October 2017, Brooklyn Public Library partnered with the Brooklyn-based organization, If You Want It, to host Genderful!: Exploring Gender Through Art, an event for 6-12-year-olds and their caregivers. Intended to be a brief, but powerful microcosm of community, love, rebellion, and autonomy, the event asked/answered many questions: How can libraries and outside organizations partner effectively? How do we change the way libraries approach topics that are fluid, evolving, and rooted in nuanced personal experiences? At what point does the community end and the information begin? We will use these as prompts for a larger discussion.

Jacquelyn Oshman headshot

We Go Way Back: Libraries and Web Archiving

Jacquelyn Oshman

Newspapers are getting smaller due to online news outlets. Vertical files can be time consuming, take a lot of space, and are hard to preserve. Modern Librarianship is moving into Web Archiving: essentially, an online version of a vertical file. In September 2017, The Internet Archive awarded grants to 35 U.S. libraries to collectively preserve over 35 terabytes of web based cultural, historical, and social information for their individual communities. Each library encountered different problems with initiating their web archive, such as learning a new technological “language”, deciding which websites to save, and how to spread information to the community.



Rebekkah Smith Aldrich and Matthew Bollerman headshots

Sustainable Thinking for the Future of Librariese

Rebekkah Smith Aldrich & Matthew Bollerman

Libraries must take an active, visible role in building sustainable and resilient communities. Our future depends on it in more ways than one. We will explore the importance of infusing the core value of sustainability into everything we do, and demonstrate how libraries that lead into the future using “sustainable thinking” fulfill our mission as libraries in new and innovative ways. “Sustainable Thinking” is a concept that aligns the core values of libraries with the “Triple Bottom Line” definition of sustainability: economic feasibility, environmental stewardship and social equity to inspire investment and build support for your library in the future.

Asata Radcliffe & Jennifer N. Shannon headshot

The Power of Reviews: The Situation of Race on the Bookshelf

Asata Radcliffe & Jennifer N. Shannon

Book review publications are an integral component of how readers make book choices. Book reviews often drive how books are chosen within public libraries, schoosl and university libraries, in addition to bookstores and mainstream media. Popular literature review journals that are accessed by librarians include Booklist, Bookmarks, and Kirkus Reviews, as well as others. Currently, there are no book review publications solely dedicated to diverse authorship. The editors of the forthcoming 2040 Review will present the issues related to the exclusion of authors of color from book review markets and share solutions on how inclusiveness can bridge the gap.

Frank Rees headshot

What You Need to Know about New York State Public Librarian Certification

Frank Rees

According to NYS Regulations, any person employed in a permanent professional librarian position in a public, free association or Indian library in New York State must hold an active public librarian certificate issued by the New York State Education Department. This session will provide an overview of the certification process, including professional development requirements and resources. Get answers to all your certification questions and help keep your librarian career moving forward.