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

headshot of lucia gonzalez

Thursday Opening Keynote – Lucia M. 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.

Friday Post-Conference Workshop
Taking a Stand for True Play

with Carissa Christner, Madison Public Library

Friday, March 22 2:00 – 4:00pm
at Madison Public Library
$100 (workshop only)

Would you like to reduce the amount of time spent planning programs for children AND increase the positive outcomes for participants? In this workshop, we will be discussing the various ways that Madison Public Library has embraced the Anji Play approach since 2016 and the benefits for staff, patrons and outreach partners. The workshop will include a tour of the Central Library children’s area play spaces as well as an opportunity for adult play during the workshop, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes!

By the end of this workshop, participants will have a deeper understanding of:

  • the Anji Play approach, started in the Kindergartens of Anji County in China
  • the difference between a “playful” program and a program designed for child-led play.
  • the powerful benefits of adults stepping back and letting kids take the lead in play.
  • how to create programs and spaces that encourage child-led play in both large and small libraries whether funded by a generous grant or making it work on a shoestring budget.

Headshot of CarissaCarissa is a self-described “playbrarian” at Madison Public Library in Madison, WI. When the founder of Anji Play, Ms. Cheng, came to Madison for a visit in 2016, Carissa had the good fortune to hear her speak and it changed her life.  She is now a passionate advocate for child-led play and constantly seeks ways to empower adults to step back and observe children at play closely and with deep curiosity. Carissa has been able to visit the kindergartens of Anji County, where Anji Play developed, three times and was a speaker at the First International True Play Conference.