Power Up: A Leadership Conference for Youth Services Managers and Staff
Registration Cost: $300
Dates: March 28-29, 2019
Location: Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St, Madison, WI 53706
Register by phone: Pyle Center, (608) 262-2451
Register by fax or mail: Printable registration form
Payment for the conference is due in full by March 28, 2019.
Until February 8, 2019: $15 cancellation fee
February 9 – March 15, 2019: $150 cancellation fee
After March 15, 2019: No refunds
8:15: Coffee and light refreshments available
8:45: Welcome and Opening Remarks
9:00 – 10:00: Opening keynote by Andrew Medlar
10:15 – 11:15: Concurrent Sessions:
Streamline for Success
We all want our libraries to have strong programming. But how do you know if your library is producing meaningful, intentional programs that support your mission, or simply falling into the “more is more” trap? This presentation will lead participants through theoretical and practical perspectives on creating and implementing a mission-driven programming schedule. Discussion points include defining strong programming; creating shared expectations among staff members; implementing tools and resources; and change management. Participants will learn about specific planning tools and how they can help streamline programs, meet community needs while avoiding overburdening library resources, and help staff create programs that align with their library’s mission, vision, and values.
Presenters: Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser is the Youth Services Manager for Saint Paul Public Libraries in Saint Paul, MN and Amy Koester is the Learning Experiences Manager for Skokie Public Library in Skokie, IL. Kelsey and Amy have worked in rural and urban libraries, ranging from small to large, with diverse service populations. Both have also held hands-on practitioner and management positions, allowing them to relate to the experiences of a broad array of participants. In addition, Kelsey and Amy are also each invested in continuing to grow their own competency related to working interculturally and with diverse populations, and use an equity lens when considering their own libraries’ work.
But I Loved That Book As A Kid: Leading Staff To More Inclusive Practices
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal is a fine name for an award, why bother renaming it? Everyone loves Christmas storytime, why should I switch to snowflakes as a theme? All the authors in my display were White but the books are some of my favorites and it fit the theme, why did you add books by marginalized authors?. Have you ever faced questions like these from staff members as you have moved to making your youth services department more inclusive and welcoming to all? The good news is that more and more managers are acknowledging their roles as gatekeepers and the responsibility that comes with that in making their youth services departments more progressive and forward-thinking. But sometimes these managers face pushback or staff resistance to these changes. How can they get staff buy-in while still leading in change?
As you move to make your programming, collections, and services more inclusive and diverse do you find some staff members resistant to change or unable to understand these changes? This session will cover ways that as a manager you can work to get all your staff on board with changes that might push them outside of their comfort zones. Using real life examples from changes and staff training put in place in a small public library this session will give attendees the confidence to work with their staff to create more welcoming and inclusive library collections and programs. This session will also give managers strategies for leading this change with enthusiasm and positivity so they can help create favorable staff buy-in. By the end of this session, attendees will be prepared to return to their workplaces ready to begin (or continue) the work of developing their staff’s development in becoming a more inclusive and welcoming.
Presenter: As a long-time manager mid-level youth services manager at the Los Alamos County Library System in New Mexico, Angie Manfredi (@misskubelik) brings a unique perspective focused on over ten years years of leading this kind of progressive, diversity and change focused training for her professional and paraprofessional staff.
Better Together ~ A School District and Public Library Partnership
Strengthening our relationship with the School District has long been a goal of the Waukesha Public Library. In 2018 we created a full-time Community Library Liaison (CLL) position that splits hours, and salary between the organizations, directly connecting the two agencies.
The goal of this new position is to deepen learning opportunities for students, teachers and parents via shared resources, digital access and outreach services.
In the presentation, school and public library colleagues will share information about the discussions between the Public Library and School Administration to realize this new position. We will also discuss concerns raised by the school and library boards, and our vision for the future of the Community Library Liaison compared to the accomplishments of the first ten months.
We will discuss the importance of relationship building and how this strength came into focus as the CLL began to see many of the same kids in different settings this summer while working with summer school programs and camps. Getting to know a friendly face from the library is a way for kids, especially those who aren’t public library users, to build a relationship with the library itself.
This is a unique position, and we are excited to watch it evolve. While the mission of a school and a public library is similar, there are different challenges for both. Connecting staff within the two organizations has helped us improve communication and look at ways we can combine our resources and positively impact our community, especially underserved families.
Presenters: The three presenters are Malena Koplin, Waukesha School District Library Media Specialist and Michele Gagner, Community Library Liaison and Kerry Pinkner, Manager, Waukesha Public Library Children’s Services. We are all involved with the Community Library Liaison collaboration and will bring different perspectives about the position and the role that it plays in both organizations and our community.
11:30 – 12:30: Concurrent Sessions
The Art of the Department Meeting
I believe that “brass tacks” topics are helpful for those of us who are still feeling our way in some areas of management. I picked this topic because I truly believe that many of the problems and situations which arise, for youth services managers, could be ameliorated and possibly even avoided, with healthy, well-organized, regular department meetings.
Having sat through my fair share of unproductive, poorly-run, and even boring meetings, I have spent quite some time studying how I would behave, should I ever be the person responsible for department meetings. Fifteen years ago, I became that person!
My goal is to demonstrate to others how much easier, and more enjoyable (!) regular department meetings can be, if the manager makes time, as a regular part of her schedule, to plan ahead. She must also know how to conduct not just a meeting, but herself as well, in order to gain an attitude of active, positive participation from her staff.
I will also address the reasons managers tend to avoid meetings, and how they can build their own confidence about same.
Presenter: Renee Wallace (@portianay) is the head of youth services, Clark County Public Library, Winchester, KY.
Stop! Collaborate and Listen! Make Working Together Work For You
Let’s be honest: collaborations are intimidating. How do you start? Who should you contact? While these questions may seem daunting, you shouldn’t let that stop you! Katherine Schoofs and Emily Sanders live, work, and serve in neighboring communities in Southern Wisconsin where opportunities abound for the local children, young adults, and their families. When faced with the challenge of reaching more people without stepping on the toes of other local offerings, they each instead decided to collaborate WITH the competition in order to expand their reach, form partnerships, and cultivate a sense of community within their respective small towns. It wasn’t always easy and things didn’t always go smoothly, but it was always worth it. Learn how these librarians make connections that bring people together, grow programs that defy expectations, and experiment with new ideas to better serve not only their patron base, but the community as a whole. Get out of the “either or” mindset and embrace AND. Our library AND your library! The Library AND Parks & Recreation. (Don’t tell Leslie Knope.) To quote the immortal words of Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, “It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it out of sight.” *cue dance break* Katherine and Emily want to show you how beneficial, fun, and attainable collaborations of all sizes can be! Get ready to rethink what you thought you knew about collaborations with examples, suggestions, motivation, and yes… most likely dance breaks.
Katherine Schoofs, Youth Services Librarian/Assistant Director, Aram Public Library, Delavan, WI. Katherine received her MLIS from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.
Emily Sanders, Youth Services Coordinator, Barrett Memorial Library, Williams Bay, WI. Emily is currently a LIS student at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Plan and implement equitable, just, and inclusive storytimes in your public library
Through intentional planning, you can improve your ability to provide quality, learner-focused, early childhood experiences. Grown-ups will be more knowledgeable, children will still be having fun, and stronger collaborations will happen (in and outside of the library).
The compilation of a variety of content-driven storytime statistics paired with a foundation of ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) led to initial growth. However, it wasn’t until the inclusion of the AASL (American Association of School Librarians) Learner Standards, Teaching Tolerance’s Framework for Anti-bias Education (K-2), and the MN Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (ECIPs) that I began to notice real change. While each state has a different set of standards, they are similar and national efforts are shared between us all.
What better way to show caregivers and educators the validity and importance of our programming than to work within their frameworks?
How are you collaborating with allied professions? How are you advocating for equitable, just, and inclusive storytimes? I’ll share my process, successes, failures, and resources; then we will have a discussion about what each of us can do to enhance the early childhood experiences at our libraries and work together toward the common good of literacy for all. If I can do this, you can too!
Presenter: Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez (@katelyn_martens) is currently a children’s librarian at the Park Grove Branch of Washington County Libraries in Minnesota. She achieved her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and her M.Ed. from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She was the school librarian at Fairmont Elementary in Fairmont, MN, before becoming a public librarian. #earlyliteracy #justice #rpcv
12:30 – 1:45: Lunch at Pyle Center
1:45 – 2:45: Concurrent Sessions:
On My Honor: Creating an Ethical Work Environment
Sometimes people in management feel they have achieved a status that puts them above the need to work collaboratively, collegially or in an equitable way. In an increasingly narcissistic society, there is a perception that higher status confers a “blank check” to take advantage of – or create – perceived personal perks in a work situation.
What does it mean to work in an ethical way – both for yourself as a library manager and for those you manage? What leadership style allows for the best ethical behavior for a team and manager? How do we create a strong personal and professional honor code amid the stresses of daily work?
We’ll examine needs vs. wants in library leadership, empowering employees – and ourselves – to lead more ethical work lives, the push-pull of servant-leader and leader-first paradigms within an institution, and practical ways to create a positive, ethical work environment. From self-examination to strong leadership practices, an ethical work style is one that is empowering for staff as well as community. Whether you are a manager or a staffer who is managed, this session will present actionable steps to help you create a more ethical work place.
Presenter: Marge Loch-Wouters (@lochwouters) works as a youth services library consultant and educator teaching graduate and continuing education courses for the UW-Madison iSchool. She is active in the WI, MN and American Library Associations where she has served on numerous committees and in leadership positions.
Top Ten Tips for New Youth Services Managers
Congratulations! You’ve landed a position as the leader of your library’s youth services department! What are you going to do next? Chances are, you don’t exactly know and that’s okay. Join experienced youth services leaders who will share their curated ten best tips and tricks for successfully managing the many needs of youth services departments. Whether you have management experience in other library departments or specialties or are brand new to management altogether, this program will give you a starting point for success in your new leadership role.
Topics that will be covered include time management, budgeting, communication, keeping yourself and your department organized, navigating change, managing staff members, and managing expectations. This session will include an interactive component to keep participants engaged while also learning practical applications of the topics presented. Additionally, participants will walk away with a stronger understanding of the ins and outs unique to youth services departments, what skills and strengths a leader needs to develop to encourage a department’s peak performance, how to manage youth services staff members and use their strengths and interests to provide stellar services to youth, and the essential knowledge needed to effectively lead while learning about a space and community.
Anna Pauls is the Youth Services Manager at Flossmoor (Illinois) Public Library and strives to connect readers to their books. After connecting her first reader-and-book pair during the summer of 2007, Anna realized being a librarian was her calling and has worked in various public and academic libraries ever since. After completing her MLIS at Dominican University, she embarked on the adventure of a lifetime: working with our youngest patrons to show them all libraries have to offer. Outside of being a librarian, Anna enjoys reading to her one-year-old niece, binge-watching ’90s TV shows, and playing way too much Candy Crush.
Alea Perez has led the Youth Services department at the Westmont Public Library, located in the Chicago suburbs, since June 2015. For nine years, she has aimed to help children, teens, and their caregivers in both Illinois and Arizona discover the joy and wonder of libraries. Alea received her MLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015 and is dedicated to advocacy for youth services management, graphic novels for youth and teens, and diversity and inclusion in the field at large.
Windows, Mirrors, and Tablets
We Need Diverse Books does much to raise awareness and challenge the lack of diverse representation in print publishing, but the same gap also exists in digital spaces. Not all diverse media is created equally. While many apps and websites claim to promote diverse perspectives, some offer the same old stereotypes that exist in print media. As librarians, we can offer curated collections and support in finding diverse media.
In this presentation we will:
- Identify criteria for selecting diverse media
- Learn how to implement four types of media (apps, podcasts, websites, and virtual reality)
- Discover how to build connections between digital and print media to fill in your reader’s advisory, collections, and programming knowledge
Naomi Priddy, Oak Park Public Library’s multicultural learning librarian, manages a circulating collection of artifacts and books with the aim of building knowledge, identity, and empathy with communities around the world. She has taught elementary and middle school, and worked as a Social Studies Instructional Design Specialist at Chicago’s Field Museum.
Anne Bensfield (@annebensfield) is Oak Park Public Library’s digital learning librarian, where she strategizes and implements emerging technologies across the library and within the community. She graduated in 2012 with a Master’s in Library & Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to her career in libraries, she has experience with organizing political campaigns in Wisconsin and fundraising at the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation.
2:45 – 3:15: Refreshment Break
3:15 – 4:15: Concurrent Sessions
An Empathetic Approach to Customer Service Training
Libraries rely on our ability to offer exceptional customer service to our patrons to ensure financial and community support. We often say that customer service is our most important value and it shows up in missions, visions and strategic plans. In reality, it can be difficult for staff to offer great customer service to all patrons at all times. If we treat each patron exactly the same and ignore individual needs we may pay for it with bad patron reviews, negative comment forms and a lack of support. In this presentation, I will address ways to approach customer service training in your library by growing and nurturing empathy and empowering staff to navigate the gray areas in our policies. The presentation will address important topics such as working with diverse groups with unique needs and tools staff can use to understand the unique needs of those they serve. The session will help your team understanding implicit bias and microaggressions and how this can change the dialog from one of distrust and frustration to one of connection and mutual understanding. I will look at special and challenging situations such as code of conduct violations and difficult patrons and how empathy can at times help us manage these less personally and take less of a toll on us emotionally. This presentation will help leaders re-frame how they will approach customer service to increase the number of patrons who will advertise and advocate for their local library.
Presenter: Molly Meyers LaBadie has been in libraries for over 17 years, she was lucky to have four of those as a Library Trainer giving her the opportunity to train staff in customer service. Currently as a deputy director at Delaware Co. District Library (OH) she finds that empathy for both staff and patrons is a powerful tool in offering exceptional customer service.
Get Organized Round-Up
Librarians at all levels are expected to wear many hats. The skills needed to balance all of our responsibilities are crucial to success, particularly when attempting to lead a project, a team of employees, or an entire organization. While as a profession we tout our organizational skills, we rarely talk about how to use those skills in daily work, and it is often difficult to determine what organizing strategies work best for each person and organization. In this Get Organized Round-Up, Claire Parrish and Dana Strahnson will facilitate a conversation about individual and institutional strategies for keeping organized, managing projects, staying productive, and ultimately becoming an effective leader who is easy to follow.
Dana will bring the personal strategies she uses to juggle her work as a youth services librarian at her bustling library in the city of La Crosse. Public Services Director Claire will share how her mid-sized rural, northern library is getting organized as a whole. After this introduction, attendees will be given a series of prompts to share in small groups. Participants can choose if they want to focus on personal organization skills, project and team management tools, or institutional organization strategies. After sharing in small groups, Dana and Claire will facilitate a large group conversation, focused on cultivating a list of strategies and resources for attendees to walk away with and come back to later. This resource list will be shared out after the conference concludes.
Claire Parrish is the public services director at the Rice Lake Public Library (WI). She manages seven library assistants, loves baby storytime, and snuggling with her two kittens.
Dana Strahnson is a youth services librarian at La Crosse Public Library (WI), where she focuses on school age collections and programming with a smattering of storytimes thrown in. Dana loves readers’ advisory, playing the Sticky Bubble Gum Song on ukulele for preschoolers, and exploring the beautiful city of La Crosse.
Hooray for Play! Anji Play @ Madison Public Library
Play is one of the five early literacy practices, but when librarians design playful experiences, is that really play? For the past three years, Madison Public Library has worked in close collaboration with the U.S. AnjiPlay professionals to develop a new approach to bringing play into libraries. Anji Play is an educational approach developed in China by Ms. Cheng Xueqin of Anji County guided by the concept of self-determined play. In the kindergartens of Anji County, children spend much of their day playing while teachers watch attentively and record the play through photos and videos. Children reflect on their play daily through drawing/writing and verbal group discussions reflecting on the photo/video documentation facilitated by the teacher (Writing and talking – two more early literacy practices!). After experiencing three years of this education, the children’s capacity for innovative thinking, working together with other children and many other difficult-to-directly-teach skills is astonishing. MPL’s Anji Play programs aim to bring as much of those experiences as possible to area families. In this presentation, Carissa will talk about the Anji Play approach and bring stories and photos from the past three years of library-based Anji Play programs.
Presenter: Carissa Christner has been a children’s librarian since 1998 and presents frequently at conferences, both library and non-library.
4:30: Meet at the Pyle Center main entrance if you would like to walk with a group to the reception.
4:45 – 6:00: Reception at the Madison Public Library, 201 W. Mifflin St. Madison, WI 53703.
The reception is about a 10-15 minute walk from the conference location. Please indicate when you register if you will need transportation to the reception, or contact Meredith Lowe to make arrangements.
8:15 AM: Coffee and light refreshments available
8:45 – 9:45: Concurrent Sessions
Youth Services is Everyone’s Business
How do you create a welcoming library for youth and families?
We know that just one unpleasant interaction can drive families away from the library for years. Creating a welcoming environment and positive customer service is critical to maintaining library access for children and families. Youth Services librarians are sometimes at lunch, sometimes out visiting a school, sometimes on well-deserved vacation, or simply helping another visitor – so it is necessary that every staff member be able to serve children and families.
Youth Services Manager Christie Hamm has implemented several innovative approaches that support Sacramento Public Library staff at all levels in understanding their role in serving children, teens, and families. This session will introduce the strategies deployed to create an organizational expectation that all staff will support youth, from toddlers to teens and everyone in between. Example approaches include:
- incorporating youth services responsibilities into orientation training for all levels of newly hired public services staff (one-on-one training at point of hire)
- Summer Reading for all (central group trainings to allow for idea sharing between branches)
- “Getting to Yes with Children and Families” training (given at the branch level to allow for team building and personalization to specific challenges)
Session participants will come away with replicable, scalable strategies for expanding library staff capacity to support youth and families.
Christie Hamm is the Youth Services Manager for Sacramento Public Library, and has been working in public libraries of various sizes for the past 30 years (gulp). She believes in the power of positive customer service, thinks storytimes can transform the world, and has sung “Open, Shut Them” approximately 10,000 times.
Amanda Foulk supports staff with forming relationships with schools, Summer Reading, and outreach to youth and families as the K-12 Specialist at Sacramento Public Library.
Connect the Dots with a Leadership Book Club
We all like to read and want to be better leaders, right? Put them together and you have a hip book club! Our leadership book club brings together supervisors from all over our library district and has helped communication during a major reorganization. We will discuss selecting books about leadership, relationships that develop, and the direct impacts on our leadership and supervisory skills. We will show how the group has helped us examine and compare our own leadership styles. Also, we want to hear from you – what leadership books have worked for you? Bring title suggestions to share with the group.
Joanna Nelson Rendón is the head of young adult services for Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is an adjunct professor for the University of Denver’s MLIS program and is on their accreditation advisory board. Joanna is the chair for the Colorado Association of Libraries’ Leadership Development Committee. Joanna loves hiking, salsa dancing, and, of course, reading!
Nancy Maday is Head of Children’s Services for the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with a total of 15 years managerial experience. She is a founding member of the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy, and is strongly committed to early literacy community outreach, and the importance of play and learning. She loves cooking, reading, hiking and biking.
Creating Self Reflective Storytime Professional Development
High quality storytimes require the mastery of a complex set of competencies and yet the time and resources available to train storytime staff are often limited. In addition, once any initial training is complete, opportunities for the further intentional professional development of storytime skills must compete with a myriad of other youth services department responsibilities. How can supervisors and managers provide effective individualized mentoring to their storytime staff on an ongoing basis?
Melissa Depper and Jessica Fredrickson from the Child and Family Library Services Department of the Arapahoe Libraries in Colorado will describe our recent project of creating and updating storytime competencies and evaluation guides. These tools are designed to support an iterative self-reflective practice that leads to professional growth and the development of storytime skills.
We’ll describe our development process and share our previous and updated self-evaulation guides. We’ll speak to the importance of aligning such self-evaluation methods with existing formal, in-person training and with overarching library mission and goals. Our presentation will highlight responses, examples, and outcomes from the Arapahoe Libraries Storytime Specialist team’s use of the new materials. Participants will leave with samples of our competencies and tools and be encouraged to adapt them to help support their own storytime staff.
Jessica Fredrickson is the Child and Family Library Services Lead for the Arapahoe Libraries. Her prior experiences include teaching, tutoring, storytelling, summer camping, driving field trip buses, and shelving books. Jessica received her MLS from Emporia State University in 2018. In her free time, she enjoys blogging about youth services and hiking.
Melissa Depper supervises the Storytime Specialists team for the Arapahoe Libraries, where she has been involved in storytime training and mentoring for over 10 years. She has chaired the CLEL Steering Committee, leads library workshops and trainings, and has presented at the Colorado Association of Libraries conference and the ALSC Institute.
10:00 – 11:00: Concurrent Sessions
Um, Did You Know You Have a Drag Queen Leading Story Time?
In June 2018, the Beloit Public Library hosted a Dress Up Drag Queen Story Time. Library staff collaborated with Yellow Brick Road, a local LGBTQ Support organization, to create the program, and for the most part treated it like any other youth program that we offer. We did flyers in the library, posted the event on the library website, and put it in the Summer Library Club Events brochure, which we sent home with over 5000 elementary students at Beloit area schools. Then the storm hit. A parent posted a picture of our Events brochure along with a provocative picture he found online of the Drag Queen we invited to read at story time.
Our presentation will include:
- The history/timeline of the collaboration with YBR and why we decided to do a Dress Up Drag Queen Story Time
- Steps we took to prepare for community response
- Steps we ended up having to take in the heat of the moment
- How we responded to both negative and positive feedback online, via e-mail, and in person
- Steps we took to ensure a safe environment for families attending the event, including PR, preparing staff, and contacting local law enforcement
- Our successes, lessons learned, and opportunities for growth
- Our next steps, which includes an ad-hoc community task force to address opportunities for other “hot topic” issues
Nick Dimassis, Director, Beloit Public Library
Jeni Schomber, Head of Library Services, Beloit Public Library
Amy Mitchell, Outreach and Communications Coordinator, Beloit Public Library
Mary Lou DeKeyser, Programming Librarian, Beloit Public Library
Marilyn Schuh, President and Co-Founder, Yellow Brick Road Organization, LGBTQ Support
Change for the Change Averse
In the role of youth services, change is constant – new programs, new storytime themes, new patrons, new materials for purchase – yet the flow of the job is constant. Factors such as co-workers, hours worked, regular patrons, daily/weekly tasks all create a system of continuity and things known. The dichotomy of change and routine IS the youth services position in many libraries.
How about those of us who are more change averse? How do we process a change in co-workers, a change in position or library vision, or a change in location? This session is designed to share Sara’s experience in managing these changes in her own work life, while incorporating a bit of research on managing change and strategies for those of us who are change averse.
Presenter: Sara Christopherson is the youth services assistant at Grantsburg Public Library, a small rural public library in Northwestern Wisconsin and previously the youth services librarian at Milltown Public Library. Although she enjoys creating and trying new programming with very short notices, she has been treated for General Anxiety Disorder and struggles with more abstract change. She hopes by sharing her journey in how she has changed her process in managing change, it will provide for a safe space for all attendees to discuss and crowdsource effective strategies for managing change.
Tough Times All Over – How Can Youth-Serving Librarians Respond To Issues in Their Community
Addiction. Mental illness. Homelessness. Suicide. Labor unrest. Layoffs. Unemployment.
All of our communities face tough times. Youth and teens in particular are often impacted by community issues, but may feel powerless and unable to respond to them. Public libraries are uniquely poised to help the youth of our community through these challenges. This presentation will share strategies that the Pueblo City-County Library District (CO) has been using that may work for your library, including:
- Continuing education and professional development
- Participation in community conversations
- Programs and events
- Collection development
- Day to day customer service
Presenter: Maria Kramer is the youth services manager at Pueblo City-County Library District (Pueblo, CO).
11:00 – 11:30: Refreshment Break
11:30 – 12:30: Closing Keynote by Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen