2024 Power Up: A Leadership Conference For Youth Services Managers & Staff

Thursday Opening Keynote – Lucia M. Gonzalez

headshot of lucia gonzalez

Lucia M. Gonzalez started her career in library services to children in 1988 after receiving her Masters in Library Science from the University of South Florida.  Since then, she has worked in different capacities for the Miami-Dade Public Library System and the Broward County Library System where she served as Associate Director in charge of Outreach, Family Literacy, and Youth Services before going to the City of North Miami to become the City’s Library Director.  Lucia is the author of three award-winning children’s books: The Bossy Gallito, winner of the 1996 Pura Belpré Children’s Literature Honor Medal and part of New York Public Library’s 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know. Señor Cat’s Romance and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America, an Américas Award Commended Title. The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos, winner of the 2009 Pura Belpré Children’s Literature Honor Medal for narrative, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, Honor Book, and the Américas Award. Lucia is also Past-President of REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (2010-11), National Co-Chair of REFORMA’s Children and Young Adult Services Committee (2006-2010), two-time recipient of national Library Journal Movers & Shakers Award for her contributions in shaping the future of libraries, and the 2020-21 Past President of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a Division of the American Library Association.

Friday Closing Keynote – Mizuko (Mimi) Ito, Ph.D.

Headshot of Mini Mimi Ito is a leading researcher of technology and learning who has studied young people’s engagement with digital technology for thirty years in the United States and Japan. She is Director of the Connected Learning Lab and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning at the University of California, Irvine. She has two PhDs from Stanford University, in Education and Anthropology, and an undergraduate degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University. She had research appointments at Keio University and the University of Southern California before joining UC Irvine.

Her work centers on how to tap student interests and digital media to fuel learning that is engaging, relevant, inclusive, and socially connected. For over a decade, she directed research for the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative which invested $200 million in research and innovation. She then went on to establish the Connected Learning Lab at UC Irvine, and an affiliated nonprofit, the Connected Learning Alliance, to continue research, innovation, and social impact projects in technology and learning.

In addition to the MacArthur Foundation, she has been awarded grants by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Pivotal Ventures, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, Google, Intel Research, Microsoft Research, the Abe Fellowship Program, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and is the recipient of the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies from the American Educational Research Association.

She has authored and edited eight books, published by MIT, New York University, and Yale University Press as well as numerous articles and reports. Her co-authored book, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Youth Living and Learning with New Media is widely recognized as a foundational book in the field, and a tenth anniversary edition was released by MIT Press in 2019. Her work has been widely cited in academic literatures and has been featured in popular media outlets such as the New York Times, Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio. Her web site is at http://www.itofisher.com/mito.