Public Library Safety Summit

Public Library Safety Summit

Date: April 27-28, 2023 

Location: Columbus Metropolitan Library

96 S Grant Ave, 

Columbus, OH 43215


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Ensuring equitable and just service in an unprecedented environment of security threats has become one of the greatest challenges library directors have faced. How can public libraries provide physically and emotionally safer and more secure environments for staff and patrons while protecting their privacy and maintaining open, accessible, and welcoming spaces?


Library Journal invites library directors, safety and facilities heads and other stakeholders in library safety to join peers from major North American library systems to learn about best practices from within the library field.


Breakfast and lunch will be served on both days and a cocktail reception will end the first day’s program. Lots of networking time will be built into the event. Programming will end Friday noonish. Optional tours of new Columbus Metropolitan branches and/or security operations of affiliate institutions will be organized for those arriving early on Wednesday, April 26.


Who should attend: Library directors, chief librarians, security heads, HR leaders, facilities directors, public service leaders and other stakeholders in library safety. The event is designed by and for urban libraries with central libraries and branches in urban environments. However, libraries of all sizes and configurations are welcome!

There is no hotel block for this event.  A list of preferred hotels will be provided upon registration.


Advisory Board Members:

Library First Name Last Name Title
Austin Public Library Roosevelt Weeks Director of Libraries
Baltimore County Public Library Sonia Alcantara-Antoine Director
Brooklyn Public Library Nick Higgins Chief Librarian
Cleveland Public Library Felton Thomas Executive Director, CEO
Columbus Metropolitan Library Pat Losinski CEO
Denver Public Library Michelle Jeske City Librarian
Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library Paula Brehm-Heeger

Eva Jane Coombe

Library Director

Hartford Public Library Bridget Quinn President & CEO
Las Vegas-Clark County Library District Kelvin Watson Executive Director
Onondaga County Public Libraries Christian Zabriskie Executive Director
San Francisco Public Library Michael Lambert City Librarian

Hudson Valley Community College

Jessica Hoffman

Instruction Librarian/Event Producer



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Amy Acton, MD, MPH, is a physician and community leader who has spent over 30  years pursuing her passion for public health and wellness. 

Acton’s widely acclaimed leadership and inspiring guidance was seen in daily news conferences as COVID exploded in the spring of 2020, earning her a Profile in COVID  Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in 2021. In 2022 she was  named Woman of the Year for Ohio by USA Today for the significant impact she has had. 

A native of Youngstown in northeast Ohio, Acton received her master’s degree in public  health from Ohio State University and her medical degree from Northeastern Ohio  University College of Medicine. Under her leadership as state health director, Ohio created the first ODH deputy director position focused on  mobilizing federal and state resources to promote health equity, inclusion and opportunity for all Ohioans.






Susan Broman is the Assistant City Librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), which serves more than four million people—the largest and most diverse urban population of any library in the United States. Beyond her love of libraries, Susan also enjoys eating tacos, creating origami, learning about technology, discovering new music, trying out organizational systems, and exploring the art museums and galleries of her beloved Los Angeles.



Leticia Cotto is the Customer Experience Officer of the Hartford Public Library in Connecticut.  She has over 27 years of experience developing and delivering equitable access to quality programs and services in early childhood literacy, adult education and cultural programming, and computer literacy.  Before serving as CXO, Leticia managed one of the busiest branches in the system in addition to co-owning a coffee house and bookstore specializing in the sale of books by Latinx authors and about Latinx themes.  She holds master's degree in Organizational Management from the University of Saint Joseph.



Emma Karin is an activist-academic whose personal and professional life is driven by a commitment to social justice. She believes in people over property and profit and that libraries are a place of liberation.Her decision to pursue librarianship comes from a desire to serve communities by offering guidance, support, and quality resources and information.



Annie Kemmerling has worked for the Denver Public Library for just over 15 years in different branches and roles -- youth programming, reference librarian, branch manager, Manager of Innovation and Strategy, and now in her current role as Director of Neighborhood Services. A couple years into her professional career she pursued and completed her MBA from the University of Colorado. She believes in a strong sense of community and is constantly pursuing connections and relationships for the library to best serve and be a part of the Denver community.  In her free time, Anne enjoys yoga, exploring new restaurants, travel, in addition to random experiences



Since 2002, Pat Losinski has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. CML has 24 locations with 880 employees and an annual operating budget of $80M. Prior to joining CML, Pat worked for public library systems in Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Ohio and served on the state library boards in Illinois and Colorado. He is the past chair of the Urban Libraries Council’s Governing Board and a former Governing Board member of the International Federation of Library Associations headquartered in The Hague. Most recently, Pat is helping lead a $300M capital improvement plan for 20 new or remodeled library buildings. Columbus CEO magazine named him 2015 CEO of the Year in the large non-profit category. He was inducted into the 2021 Junior Achievement of Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame.



Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla is the Deputy Director of Darien Library (CT). Elisabeth received her master’s degree from Pratt Institute in 2011 and began working at Darien Library shortly after, first in the Children’s Library as a Children’s Collector, then as the Head of Children and Teen Services. In 2019, Elisabeth moved up to administration, where her ability to juggle multiple projects and priorities, first honed in youth services, comes in handy! When she’s not with her two young children, you can find her reading fantasy books with skilled heroines and romance novels with a lot of smolder.



Felton Thomas, Jr. has served as Executive Director of Cleveland Public Library (CPL) since January, 2009. As Director of Cleveland Public Library, Thomas has launched initiatives aimed at addressing community needs in the areas of access to technology, education, and economic development. Director Thomas’ awards and accomplishments include being named a “Mover and Shaker” by the Library Journal and being named a White House Champion of Change for Making in 2016. Felton is currently the Chair of the Digital Public Library of America board. He also serves as a trustee on the boards of DigitalC, University Circle Inc.,Cleveland Museum of Art and United Way of Greater Cleveland.



As executive director of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Kelvin Watson oversees 25 branches run by 600+ employees, spanning 8,000 square miles, with a budget of $77 million and a collection of 3.2 million items. Kelvin has brought innovative, award-winning leadership to Nevada’s largest library system and his deep experience in fundraising, technology, program development, and demonstrated success in addressing the digital divide has brought a new era to this library system. Regarded as one of the most highly respected thought leaders in the library industry, Kelvin has been credited, in multiple library management roles, with expanding his customer base through outreach efforts to underserved and diverse populations.



Wednesday, April 26

Optional Tour of the Thompson Library and Columbus Metropolitan Library. 

Time: 1:00 pm

Registration Required. Link to tour registration provided after event registration.


Author event at Columbus Metropolitan Library (Reading Room 2nd Floor) 

Time: 7:00 pm

Registration Required:

Thursday, April 27

8:00 - 9:00 AM


Breakfast and Registration

9:00 - 9:15 AM


Welcome Remarks


9:15 - 10:00 AM


Keynote: Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, former director of the Ohio Department of Health, president and CEO of RAPID 5

10:00 - 11:05 AM 


Safer Libraries for Staff and Patrons: Library Leadership Through a Trauma Informed Lens

A panel of library leaders moderated and facilitated by a social worker will discuss trauma-informed leadership techniques with the goal of helping both staff and patrons feel safe in the library. The panel will focus on practical, actionable ideas. Facilitated discussion following the panel will aim to give library leaders concrete next steps to lead in a trauma-informed manner.

11:05 - 11:25 AM



11:25 - 12:30 PM


Security Staffing Models: Police, Social Work, and Everything in Between

This panel will highlight different perspectives on security staffing, discussing the pros and cons of a range of models and their outcomes. We will also discuss how and why different security staffing decisions are made. Facilitated discussion after the panel will examine how staff can make security decisions based on their own needs.

12:30 - 1:30 PM



1:30 - 2:35 PM    


Debriefing After a Traumatic Event: Policies and Procedures

A panel of library administrators will discuss how they communicate with staff during and after a security incident. This conversation will focus not only on best practices but on communication procedures codified in library policy, and how these communication policies help protect staff. Facilitated discussion after the panel will allow the audience to brainstorm policies and procedures for their own libraries.

2:35 - 3:35  PM


Facilitated Breakouts by Job Function

3:35  - 3:55 PM



3:55 - 4:40 PM


De-escalation Training with Safe Passage Consulting

Safe Passage Consulting will give a de-escalation training on how to diffuse tense situations and prevent security incidents from escalating. This session will cover the importance of de-escalation in keeping staff and patrons safe and will use real-life examples from library settings to cater this training to the experiences of library employees. Attendees will leave the training with concrete strategies and next steps that they can take back to their libraries and share with all front-facing staff.

4:40 - 5:00 PM


CML staff present. Closing Remarks

5:00 - 6:00 PM


Cocktail Reception hosted by CML


Friday, April 28

8:00 - 8:30 AM



8:30 - 8:45 AM


Opening Remarks & Reflections

8:45 - 9:05 AM


Museum Staff Present

9:05 - 10:10 AM


Engaging with Tweens and Teens in Crisis (and Afterward)

A panel of experts on working with young adults outside the library profession will share insight from their own fields on how to manage and de-escalate situations involving tweens and teens in crisis. The panel will be moderated by a librarian and facilitated discussion after the panel will focus on how these insights from other fields can be put into practice in a library environment.

10:10 - 10:30 AM



10:30 - 11:35 AM


Community Outreach and Aligning Public Perception with Safety Realities 

This panel will discuss the optics of library safety and security, how to manage people who feel that the library space is not meeting their expectations and how community outreach can help patrons feel safe and welcome in the library. We will also discuss how to manage the library’s image in the wake of high-profile violent incidents and everyday security issues like disorderly or disruptive patrons. Facilitated discussion after the panel will allow attendees to reflect on what they want their libraries to look like in the eyes of the public, and how they can effectively use community outreach to send that message.

11:35 -12:45PM


Fast- Learning Sessions

12:45 - 1:00 PM 


Closing Remarks

1:00 PM 


Grab and Go and/or Networking Lunch















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