Public Library Think Tank | The Future Is Theirs

Presented by Library Journal and School Library Journal, the 2019 Public Library Think Tank will convene public library leaders and directors, youth services and young adult librarians, along with other leading thinkers on the role of youth services, literacy, and learning trends. From input to engagement to full co-creation, the trend in libraries is an ever-deeper collaboration with the people we serve. Co-creation brings in new users, delivers more of what they want and need, and fosters a sense of welcome and ownership. Learn more about this strategic approach, and how to embed it in your organization from day one, empowering kids and teens to build skills and make a difference as they shape a stronger library and community.

Special group pricing available. Directors are encouraged to attend with their team or send a group for a unique team building experience. Contact us for group rates. Write to; and include “Public Library Think Tank” in the subject line.

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Thursday, March 7th, 2019 

10:00 AM—10:30 AM | Registration & Coffee

10:30 AM—10:45 AM | Welcome

Rebecca T. Miller, Editorial Director of Library Journal & School Library Journal
Ray Baker, Director, Miami-Dade Public Library

10:45 AM—11:45 AM | Morning Co-Keynote

Sarah Chadwick and Ryan Deitsch, contributors to Glimmer of Hope 

Two of the Parkland students who survived a mass shooting and helped create the March for Our Lives movement will discuss what they needed from the adults around them, how institutions can and should step up to support social and political change, and where they see the movement itself going.

11:50 AM—12:00 PM | Industry Spotlight

12:00 PM—1:00 PM | Lunch & Networking

1:00 PM—1:30 PM | Kid-Sourced Collections

Megan Schiebel, Head of Children's Services and Kayla Fontaine, Teen Librarian at Coventry, CT, public library, will present on kid-led collection development.

1:30 PM—1:40 PM | Industry Spotlight 

1:40 PM—2:10 PM | Building a Room of Their Own

Erik Berman, Coordinator of Services to Young Adults of Alameda County, CA, public library, will discuss how his teens worked with professional architects to design San Jose’s Teen HQ

2:10 PM—2:20 PM | Industry Spotlight

2:20 PM—2:50 PM | Youth-Led STEM Success

Christy Estrovitz, Manager of Youth Services at San Francisco Public Library, LJ’s 2018 Library of the Year, will share insights into how SFPL’s Youth Engaged in Library Leadership program, recruits teens to host STEM programming, build and present an original project, and win a scholarship to college for their efforts.

2:40 PM—3:10 PM | Break

3:10 PM—4:00 PM | Miami Teens as Art Leaders

Oscar A. Fuentes, Library Exhibitions and Programming Specialist, will present on Miami-Dade Public Library’s Teen Curatorial program, in which teens took over the library gallery with curatorial guidance and weekly critiques facilitated by the Art Services & Exhibitions Department of the Main Library, culminating in an exhibition of work curated and made by the young artists. Marlon Moore, Library Media Project Coordinator, will present on The Climate of Art exhibition of works created by youth at YOUmake West Kendall, who will also be involved in producing the event.

4:00 PM—4:10 PM | Industry Spotlight

4:10 PM—4:30 PM | Fifteen Years of Working Together

Randy Gatley, Community Librarian, Vancouver Public Library, will present on the library’s pioneering work in developing the Community-Led Libraries Toolkit with the Halifax, Toronto, and Regina public libraries, and its 15 years of experience working directly with socially excluded people in its communities on service prioritization and planning.

4:30 PM—5:00 PM | Co-Creation: The Method and Potential for Service Design

5:00 PM—6:00 PM | Cocktail Reception at the Miami-Dade Public Library

Friday, March 8th, 2019

9:00 AM—9:30 AM | Coffee & Reflection

9:30 AM—10:15 AM | Morning Keynote

LJ Librarian of the Year, Skye Patrick, Director, LA County Library

10:15 AM—10:25 AM | Industry Spotlight

10:25 AM—10:40 AM | Break

10:40 AM—11:20 AM | Leading by Letting Go

Library leaders reflect on enabling effective co-creation by giving up some traditional control. Speakers include LA County’s Skye Patrick and Kelvin Watson, Director of Florida’s Broward County Public Library. Moderated by Ray Baker, Director, Miami-Dade Public Library. 

11:20 AM—11:30 AM | Industry Spotlight

11:30 AM—12:00 PM | Closing Author Keynote

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Keynote Speakers   


Ray BakerRay Baker has been the Director of the Miami-Dade Public Library System since June 2017, previously serving as Interim Director and Assistant Director. He is responsible for oversight of a library system with 50 service locations and a service area that includes approximately 2.5 million residents. Mr. Baker is currently the Chair of the Florida Library Association’s Legislative and Advocacy Committee and is also the current President of the Board of Directors for the Southeast Florida Library and Information Network (SEFLIN). He holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida, a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Miami, and a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University.


Sarah ChadwickSarah Chadwick is a 17 year old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In combination with her peers, Sarah helped orchestrate a movement that quickly rose to international fame - commonly known as “March For Our Lives” a student-led push for gun reform. Although she is most commonly known for activism against gun violence, Sarah is also outspoken on other topics including minority and LGBT rights, especially being a queer teen herself. In the wake of tragedy, she has dedicated her life to giving a voice to those who can no longer speak for themselves. At only 17, she looks forward to continuing her activism and speaking out about topics she believes in.


Ryan DeitschRyan Deitsch is a co-founder of March For Our Lives and a Content Creator. Ryan was the founder of improv club at Stoneman Douglas and graduated in 2016. Following the tragedy, Deitsch went to Tallahassee and Washington D.C. with classmates and fellow MFOL organizers to lobby his representatives. 


Skye Patrick was appointed LA County Library Director on February 1, 2016. She was previously Broward County Library’s Director and held leadership roles at Queens Public Library in New York and San Francisco Public Library. As the Library Director, Patrick brings a fresh enthusiasm and attitude to her position. From the start of her tenure, she engaged the community with a series of Visioning Sessions—a concept first conceived at Broward—which invited the public to meet with her to discuss what they’d envision their local library to offer. She has made it her mission to break down barriers and increase access for all by introducing the iCount equity initiative, which ensures that LA County Library makes a conscious effort in designing services and programs that address the needs of the diverse community it serves. Under her leadership, local libraries are intentionally designing programs in systematic ways and Library staff is empowered to address issues with a more consistent and comprehensive approach.


Session Speakers

Erik BermanErik Berman is the Coordinator of Services to Young Adults for the Alameda County Library system, Columnist for VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates), and the Teen Chair of CLA’s Youth Service Interest Group. A 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker and a 2015 Eureka! Leadership Institute Fellow, Erik has focused his efforts on increasing teen involvement and participation in the creation of teen programming and teen spaces.  Erik’s projects include the 2016 construction of the San José Public Library’s TeenHQ, a teen designed and constructed teen center and makerspace, and the creation of the Life Skills Academy workshops, a series of workshops designed to teach teens essential life and job skills.  In those rare cases he isn’t working, Erik can be found reading a prodigious amount of manga and trying not to start any more fires while cooking. 

Christy Estrovitz As the Youth Services Manager for the San Francisco Public Library, Christy Estrovitz leads programs and key initiatives for age birth to eighteen. She brings twenty years of public library experience working with youth and families. Known for building vibrant partnerships, presenting nationally, and developing innovative programs such as Summer Stride, YELL for Teen Leaders, and Talking with Kids about Race series. When not at the library, she can be found cycling the city with her family or hiking in a national park.


Kayla Fontaine MLS from Texas Woman’s University is the Teen Services Reference Librarian at Booth & Dimock Memorial Library in Coventry, CT. This April marks the end of her first year as a teen librarian, which was filled with major milestones like library laser tag, surviving her first summer reading program, and getting invited to present at this event! When she’s not throwing books and snacks (mainly snacks) at humans between the ages of 12 and 18, you can usually find her experimenting with the latest technology, watching everything on TV, and not reading nearly as much as she wishes she would.


Oscar Fuentes is the Library Exhibitions and Programming Specialist in the Art Services unit at the Miami-Dade Public Library. Oscar oversees art-related programming such as art tours, art lectures, art receptions, art workshops. Oscar also maintains the Library’s Permanent Art Collection. The collection tells Miami’s visual history and is displayed through the library system in six temporary art galleries at different branches where he rotates eye-catching art exhibits every four months. He is also a multidisciplinary artist in the Miami community; he spearheads a music project where he blends his poetry with jazz. He is also the author of three books of poetry, prose, and plays. He is also a facilitator for Literacy Redefined.


Marlon Moore - Library Media Project Coordinator




Meg Schiebel MA in Library & Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin Madison is the head of Children’s Services at the Booth Dimock Memorial Library in Coventry, CT. She is passionate about early literacy and creative ways to engage children and families in her community, beyond just the library walls. Meg has previously presented on music and movement based preschool programs, and community collaboration, and has won awards for her work in library publicity. When she’s not "elbow deep" in slime with the tweens or dancing with the toddlers, you can find Meg collecting craft supplies, talking about her cats, and playing tabletop games.


Hotel YVE Miami
146 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33132

Group Rate: $199.00



The participants at the Public Library Think Tank are those taking leadership in creating strong and effective programs and libraries, and envisioning the future vitality of libraries to best serve our communities. This includes but is not necessarily limited to public library children’s librarians, public library teen services librarians, school librarians in close collaboration with public libraries, branch managers, and public library directors. 

Interested in sponsoring this event? Please contact Advertising Director, Roy Futterman:

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