Power Up 2022 Virtual Session Descriptions

Schedule Details:

All times are in US Central Time (Chicago).

Access instructions will be sent to attendees the week of Feb 14.

All sessions are recorded and will be available to registered attendees, unless otherwise noted.

Marge Loch-Wouters portrait
Marge Loch-Wouters

12:00 PM, Tuesday, Feb 22

Developing A Great Youth Staff

Wondering how to nurture, support and grow a great staff? Hint: it isn’t all about hiring new people. Most youth staffers – even long serving ones – continue to grow into their skills, especially with the help of their manager and team.

In this session, we’ll look at what attributes make a great youth services library staffer – and how to coach people so they become not only great team members but stronger in their skill sets. We’ll also explore how, as a manager, you can be a leader in nurturing and supporting your colleagues for a more engaged and effective team. From ideas on learning resources to assist staff growth to strategies you can use to widen the depth of your team’s talent and commitment, you’ll come away with tips to help you continue to grow your staff to greatness.


Marge Loch-Wouters is a Library Youth Services Consultant (Minnesota and Wisconsin) and retired LIS instructor.

Portrait of Megan Schliesman
Megan Schliesman

10:00 AM, Wednesday, Feb 23

Challenged Materials, Challenging Times

You don’t have to look far today to hear about books and other materials in libraries and classrooms being questioned or challenged or publicly attacked. Maybe you don’t have to look beyond your own community or school.  What should you do if it happens? What can you do before it happens? How can you deal with the stress and second-guessing when your selection decisions feel like they’re under intense scrutiny? This session will review the still-relevant basics of responding to concerns and challenges, discuss where to turn for support, and provide an opportunity for attendees to ask questions, and to share advice and perspectives with one another.

Special Note: This is an interactive session with breakout groups, and attendees will need to have access to a microphone in order to participate in the discussion.

Speaker: Megan Schliesman, Librarian, Cooperative Children’s Book Center (University of Wisconsin – Madison)

12:00 PM, Wednesday, Feb 23

Create, Collaborate, And Grow Under One Roof

The All Under One Roof program at Missoula Public Library provides the participants with experiences beyond STEAM. Four organizations working with the City of Missoula and the National Institutes of Health’s Science Education Partnership Award (NIH SEPA) collaborate to offer educational and leisure activities for all who enter the doors of Missoula Public Libraries new facility in Downtown Missoula.

Participants will hear how four vibrant organizations working with NIH SEPA can co-create experiences with the nearby reservation to expand sensory experiences for users. How do you take four organizations who have similar but diverse missions and create an experience that seems seamless and is housed under one roof. How organizations who once were supported by entry fees can join a library and become free to the public so all can enjoy the STEAM experiences that are provided.


Honore D. Bray, Library Director, Missoula Public Library (MT)
Hannah Zuraff – Families First Learning Lab (MT)
Jessie Herbert-Meeny, spectrUM Discovery Area, University of Montana
Pam Carlton, Children’s Librarian, Missoula Public Library
Joel Baird, General Manager, MCAT (MT)

12:00 PM, Thursday, Feb 24

Beyond The Book: Partnering With Parks To Bring Teen Services To The Community

In order to address the challenges that youth face with getting around a sprawling city with less-than-adequate public transportation, Studio NPL, the teen learning-lab at Nashville Public Library (NPL), has looked towards the heart of Nashville’s neighborhoods; parks: “Parks and libraries are natural partners. Both represent “the commons”…and are part of the underlying urban infrastructure” (Schull, 2008). In this presentation, Studio NPL reflects on the numerous ways NPL has worked alongside the parks & recreation program in Nashville to meet communities where they are, and spread the mission of the library. The presentation reviews three “categories” of partnerships, advantages and challenges of working with parks, ideas for library and parks programs, and includes a reflection activity and share-out by participants.


Niq Tognoni, Studio NPL Coordinator
Zach Duensing, Studio NPL Technical Coordinator

Portrait of Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen
Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen
Portrait of Becky Leathersich
Becky Leathersich


12:00 PM, Friday, Feb 25

Asian American And Pacific Islander American (APIA) Youth Literature: APALA’s Evaluation Rubric

Stories have the potential to affirm reader identities, intersectionalities, and sense of self-worth. On the other hand, stories that reinforce harmful stereotypes have the power to vilify, dehumanize, and undermine a child’s self-identity. Library staff must curate inclusive collections that affirm ethnic and racial intersectionalities; otherwise, they uphold the status quo, which results in perpetuating othering and oppression.

Between March 2020 and July 2021, Stop AAPI Hate received almost 10,000 reports of anti-Asian hate crimes. Combating misinformation about Asians and Asian Americans in all formats and media is urgently needed. Public and school librarians must play a role in ensuring that accurate descriptions of Asians and Asian Americans are included in library collections, programming, and curricula.


Portrait of Amy Breslin
Amy Breslin
Portrait of Kristen Kwisnek
Kristen Kwisnek


In 2020-2021, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) created a comprehensive rubric for evaluating APIA representation in youth literature. Guided by the Council on Interracial Books for Children’s “Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Sexism and Racism,” this rubric can be used to evaluate both individual books and entire collections. The presenters will provide a brief background to the rubric and guide audience members through using it to evaluate media depicting Asians and Asian Americans. Our goal is to empower librarians, educators, and other stakeholders with tools and resources for critically assessing Asian and Asian American media representation, to combat misinformation, and embrace the intersectionality of diverse readership, as we work towards collective liberation.



Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen, Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Amy Breslin, Branch Services Assistant – Children’s Department, Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH)
Kristen Kwisnek, Librarian, Severn School (MD)
Becky Leathersich, Education, Psychology, & Community Engagement Librarian, SUNY Geneseo (NY)

12:00 PM, Monday, Feb 28

Essential Connections: Exploring The Vital Role Of Leadership, Teamwork, And Community Partnerships During COVID And Beyond

Virtual Pet Show & Tell? Virtual Family Place Play & Learn Series? Virtual Let’s Dance? Unheard of before March, 2020! At the onset of COVID, Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL, Colorado) established a Community Partnership Strike Team whose goal was to collaborate with agencies countywide in support of public health, mental health, human services, business and workforce centers, public schools, a tri-county early childhood council, and alliances for Spanish-speaking populations. Also during the pandemic, two coordinators (early childhood and school-age) were hired to manage the impact of rapid change and an overhaul of the planning and implementing of services for JCPL’s Kids & Families team – enabling a breadth of opportunity for community engagement. In this session we will:

  • Define the vital role that pre-COVID connections played in JCPL’s ability to sit at the table with county agencies, the impact of those affiliations, and how they influence the Kids & Families team moving forward.
  • Describe the relationships formed from a kids and families lens and how they have made a sustainable impact on programming, cross-agency promotion and collaboration, digital experience and social media, early childhood and student supports, and patron experience.
  • Detail JCPL’s Kids & Families leadership structure, master planning, and how an alignment of teams allows for both Library and community support.
  • Share JCPL’s think-make-check process for projects and innovations, and how lessons learned impact future planning.


Robyn Lupa, Manager, Kids & Families, Jefferson County Public Library
Briana Francis, Public Services Coordinator, Kids & Families, Jefferson County Public Library
Jennifer French, Kids & Families Librarian, Jefferson County Public Library

DeAnza Williams
Dr. DeAnza Williams

10:00 AM, Tuesday, March 1

Three Librarians And A YALSA Research Roundup

Three librarians on a YALSA committee came together to produce a Research Roundup on Race(ism) for the Young Adult Library Services journal Spring 2021 issue. Learn more about serving on a professional committee, our collaborative process, and a few of the resources selected on equity, diversity, and inclusion for publication. This session highlights our diverse

Portrait of Erica Ruscio
Erica Ruscio

backgrounds, work experiences, the publication process, and a great professional development opportunity.


Lori Lieberman, Teacher Librarian, Lincoln High School (Portland, OR)
Erica Ruscio, Teen Services and Makerspace Librarian, Ventress Memorial Library (Marshfield, MA)
DeAnza Williams, Teaching Faculty, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Information School

10:00 AMWednesday, March 2

Yoga In Smallish Spaces

In this gentle yoga session we’ll explore mindful movement and stretching for each area of your body, from standing, sitting in a chair, or a combination of both.  You’ll be invited to notice how you’re feeling in your body, and choose from various possibilities the movements and stretches that feel right for you—coming into stillness when you like, or maybe trying simple flow yoga sequences that don’t require a yoga mat.  The session will be centered in practices meant to help relieve physical and emotional stress, and to strengthen feelings of ease or well being in your body.   No props or supplies are needed, although comfortable clothing may be helpful.


Clare Norelle is a yoga instructor based in Madison, WI. To learn more about Clare’s approach to teaching yoga, visit clarenorelle.com. If you’d like the option to access hour-long sets of yoga music for the session, here are some suggested Spotify playlists (or you can listen to your own music, or enjoy a music-free practice!):

Playlist 1 | Playlist 2 | Playlist 3

Portrait of Jamie Matczak
Jamie Matczak

12:00 PM, Wednesday, March 2

Having Hard Workplace Conversations

Hard conversations with staff or with supervisors are usually not comfortable, but steps can be taken to ensure a positive end result. This session will cover tools and best practices to ensure that even the most challenging conversations will result in a happier and more positive workplace.


Jamie Matczak, Education Consultant, Wisconsin Valley Library System, Wausau, WI

Portrait of Elena Joy Thurston
Elena Joy Thurston

10:00 AM, Thursday, March 3

Queer, Dyke, & Other Words I’m Too Scared To Say

“I don’t know what to say so I don’t say anything.” Is that a familiar feeling? Do you want to learn the vocabulary and other skills to become a true ally? Do you need a safe space to ask the vulnerable questions without being perceived as a jerk? This is the workshop for you.

The workplace is changing at light speed. Studies show us that the future of our workforce, Gen Z, is identifying as LGBTQ+ at 33%. And of those, 40% are identifying as non-binary. Successful strategies of attracting and retaining key talent in the near future are going to be a mixture of inclusive language, emotional intelligence, and impactful benefits.

Our audience will learn in a judgement-free zone the words to use (and not use!), the EQ thought framework to continue learning, and which employee benefits the LGBTQ+ community (and their families!) find the most impactful.

This session will give leaders the edge in showing their inclusion of marginalized populations. These leaders will also learn common missteps that show their audience that they aren’t aware of the issues that face the LGBTQ+ community. Finally, by learning about which employee benefits that LGBTQ+ families value the most, they’ll be able to have an advantage in attracting and retaining key talent in the near future.


Elena Joy Thurston, Executive Director, Pride & Joy Foundation (Queen Creek, AZ)

12:00 PM, Thursday, March 3

Social Justice Programming In The Children’s Department

More and more children’s books are tackling social justice issues. From homelessness to police brutality to the LGBTQ community, you can find a book in the children’s department that touches on those important issues.

Librarians know that ordering these books is important. But how do we share those books with our patrons? One way is through a variety of programs. The presenter will discuss three social justice programs she has successfully presented at the library–Tender Topics (a program for adults about using picturebooks to discuss sensitive topics), Social Justice Family Story Time (a family story time focused on important social issues such as, but not limited to, homelessness, poverty, the LGBTQ community), and Social Justice Book Club (a book club for 4th grade and up focused on topics similar to Social Justice Family Storytime). The presenter will explain why she decided to do these programs, how she plans them, how she switched from Zoom to in-person programs, and how the programs have been received. Attendees will leave knowing the reasons for having such programs, advice and resources for planning similar programs, and suggestions for handling negative responses.

Are you ready to share your passion for social justice with your patrons? Here’s your chance!


Maria Schmitt, Children’s Librarian, Wauwatosa Public Library (WI)

Dr. Jean Mendoza
Dr. Jean Mendoza
Portrait of Dr. Natalie Martinez
Dr. Natalie Martinez


12:00 PM, Friday, March 4

Keynote: Dr. Natalie Martinez And Dr. Jean Mendoza

Natalie Martinez, Ph.D., K’awaika-meh (Laguna Pueblo), has been an educator for 25 years in K-University settings. She sits on the Pueblo’s Education Priority Team, develops and publishes Indigenous-centric K-12 curriculum, and serves as a Lecturer at the University of New Mexico.

Jean Mendoza holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction and an M.Ed. in early childhood education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With Dr. Debbie Reese, she adapted Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz’  An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for young people. She is a co-editor of the blog American Indians in Children’s Literature.