Library Safety & Security Pre-Con

Library Safety & Security Pre-Con - Nov. 8, 2023 


This one-day convening for library directors will precede Library Journal’s Directors’ Summit and will build on the learnings from our April 23 Library Safety Summit and Fall online library safety courses.  


This peer-led program will explore equity-centered and trauma-informed safety and security solutions for libraries, and will prioritize tangible, actionable information and networking, including facilitated breakout groups where attendees can discuss and workshop safety policies and procedures. More details to come! 


Who should attend: The pre-con is designed for director-level leaders in public and academic libraries but is open to any library professional with a stake or interest in library safety and security.  


Advisory Board Members:




First Name

Last Name


Austin Public Library, TX



Director of Libraries

Belvedere Tiburon Library, CA




Califa, CA



Assistant Director

Central Arkansas Library System, AR



Executive Director

Hoboken Public Library, NJ




Tulsa Public Library, OK




Wilmington Public Library, DE 





LJ is aware of Texas' decision to cut ties with the American Library Association. Over the years we have run into similar situations where a particular state in which LJ was planning to host an event adopted policies or laws that were in opposition to library values.  


LJ strongly believes that our colleagues in these states need our support the most, and the content and conversation at this year’s Summit in Houston will reflect that—along with other critical issues for challenging times. The show of solidarity with our Houston colleagues is particularly important right now, and we hope that attending library leaders will be able to offer their encouragement as well. 



Interested In Sponsoring? Please contact Advertising Director Roy Futterman:

Pre-Con Working Program 

8:00-9:00 AM Breakfast and Registration 


9:00-9:15 AM Opening Remarks  

John Middleton, Assistant Director, Houston Public Library, TX


9:15-10:00 AM Keynote Speaker  

10:00-11:05 AM Session 1: Restorative Justice: Applications for Library Safety 

Restorative justice is an approach to addressing harm and conflict that focuses on healing, repairing relationships, and promoting accountability. Led by a restorative justice expert, this session will detail the practical applications of the practice as a library safety tool. Facilitated discussion after the panel will aim to give library leaders concrete next steps to add restorative justice to their library safety toolkits.  

Stephen Jackson, Director of Equity and Anti-racism, Oak Park Public Library, IL


11:05-11:25 AM Break 


11:25-12:30 PM Session 2: Empathy and Security: Community Relationships to Support Safety 

This panel will highlight the roles of empathy and relationships to compassionate   security work, ranging from dealing with individual patrons to establishing official   partnerships. This panel will showcase different examples and explore community  relationships and partnerships—both formal and informal—that support safer   libraries and communities. A facilitated discussion will follow that will aim for the audience to leave with tangible ideas for safety-based community relationships to implement in their own libraries. 

Eddie Kristan, Adult Services Librarian, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL

Rob Simmons, Director of Social Services and Public Safety, Oak Park Public Library, IL 

Moderator: Annie Miskewitch, Executive Director, Schaumburg Township District Library, IL 


12:30-1:30 PM Lunch 


1:30-2:35 PM Session 3: Managing Crises Before, During, and After: Communications and Front Line Support 

How can leaders best communicate to staff and others about a crisis situation, and what should leaders keep in mind to support staff before, during, and after an   incident? How can leaders empower their teams, especially front-line staff, to  make decisions and manage certain safety concerns? This “nuts and bolts” panel will get into the details of how to lead staff through crises and crisis communications. Facilitated discussion will follow to allow the audience to brainstorm practical solutions and next steps for their own libraries. 

Sonia Alcantara-Antoine, CEO, Baltimore Public Library, MD

Lauren Comito, Neighborhood Library Supervisory, Brooklyn Public Library, NY 

Moderator: Mary Jo Giudice, Director, Dallas Public Library, TX


2:35-3:35 PM Facilitated Breakouts by Activity 

You will have the chance to join peers in informal breakout sessions to network and share what’s working (and not working) regarding safety and security in your library.  

Breakout Option 1: This is an opportunity for a facilitated Q&A with your peers. Ask questions that are top of mind and crowdsource solutions from each other during this small group discussion.  

Breakout Option 2: This is an opportunity to get into the details and workshop   your current policies and procedures. Please bring one or more of your current safety   policies or procedures for which you’d like feedback. 


Hallie Rich, Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal 

Dr. Jennifer Tullos, Director of Online Courses, Library Journal 


3:35-3:55 PM Break 


3:55-4:40 PM Session 4: Where We Started and Where We’re Going: Learnings and Updates Since April’s Safety Summit 

This panel will highlight progress, changes, and updates to library safety that three directors have made since the Public Library Safety Summit in Columbus, OH last April. Leaders will share insights they gained and new practices they have applied. They will discuss how things are going, what challenges they still face, and what lies ahead over the next year. A facilitated discussion will follow that will aim for the audience to leave with tangible ideas to apply at their own organizations.  

Mary Jo Giudice, Director, Dallas Public Library, TX

Bridget Quinn, President and CEO, Hartford Public Library, CT 

David Seckman, Director, Jeffersonville Township Public Library, IN 

Moderator: Lisa Peet, Executive Editor, Library Journal 


4:40-5:10 PM Session 5: The Balancing Acts of Safety: Security, Wellness, and Legislation 

A panel of Houston Public Library's Safety, Security, and Wellness taskforce will discuss the many balancing acts involved in maintaining a safe and compassionate library. This conversation will cover the complex tensions that can arise with these topics, including balancing local politics and state legislation, managing staff and the safety policies they might disagree with, and supporting staff mental and physical wellness alongside potentially traumatic situations. Facilitated discussion after the panel will allow the audience to examine how best to balance security issues based 
on their own needs. 

Moderator: Angela Craig, Executive Director, Charleston County Public Library, SC

5:10-5:30 PM Houston Public Library Safety Tour 



Sonia Alcántara-Antoine is the CEO of Baltimore County Public Library (MD) and is the president of the Public Library Association.  She was named as one of the Top 100 Women in Maryland.  Previously she was director of Newport News Public Library (VA).  Sonia is an American Library Association Spectrum Scholar, and holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Florida State University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Old Dominion University.       

Lauren Comito is a cape wearing, sword swinging, activist librarian in NYC. Lauren is currently Executive Director of Urban Librarians Unite and Branch Manager at the Leonard Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. She is committed to creating space for communities to connect and grow, whether in her neighborhood or among library workers.    

Jo Giudice has been director of Dallas Public Library for 10 years of her 19.5 year career at DPL. Starting as a branch manager, and working all aspects of public service around the system has given her great insight into the challenges staff face daily. She is proud to have received her MLIS from the University of South Carolina and her BS from the University of Florida. She is an avid hiker and would rather be outdoors with her two grandsons, Oscar & Wells. 



Annie Miskewitch has more than 30 years of experience in public libraries. From her start as an enthusiastic shelver to now serving as the passionate executive director of Schaumburg Township District Library, Annie has always been an ardent supporter of libraries and intellectual freedom, as well as public safety. Annie believes in the power libraries have to make a difference in one's life, and she is truly grateful to see how Schaumburg Library makes a difference daily.     


Bridget E. Quinn is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hartford Public Library. Prior to joining HPL in 2016, Ms. Quinn served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and Interim President/CEO of the Queens Public Library. She also served as the Executive Director of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system and has held leadership positions in libraries in New York, Iowa and Connecticut.     

David Seckman is the Director of the Jeffersonville Township Public Library in Southern Indiana.  He has been the Director at JTPL for 3 years and seeks out new ways for the library to engage and collaborate with the community.  David is passionate about promoting more kindness, gratitude, love, and joy in the world.       











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