LJ & SLJ Public Library Youth Services Leadership Summit

Library Journal and School Library Journal are thrilled to announce that we will be hosting our annual Public Library Youth Services Leadership Summit in person on March 30 (full-day) and 31 (half-day) at Broward County Library in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


Registration is now open. See you in Florida!

About the Public Library Youth Services Summit

The people shaping the future of youth services are creating the future of libraries. 

In libraries large and small, a strong approach to youth services fuels the first, fundamental connection to the community. When libraries connect to kids and their parents, they create a relationship that lasts a lifetime. 

A strong strategy prioritizes early development around multiple literacies; connections that support and complement school curricula through programming; collections; and partnerships that inspire independent reading, thinking, and creation.  

Join us and youth services professionals and educators from across the country to learn about innovative, effective, and actionable best practices from the library leaders who are implementing them.


Who should attend:  Youth services librarians and staff, administrators, educators. Send your teams!!

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


By registering for this event, you are agreeing that Library Journal/School Library Journal may share your registration information with sponsors currently shown and future sponsors of this event. Click here to review our full Privacy Policy.

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Interested In Sponsoring? Please contact Advertising Director Roy Futterman: rfutterman@mediasourceinc.com


Need an invoice? Please contact jweinheimer@mediasourceinc.com


Thursday, March 30

8:30 - 9:00 AM | Staff-Guided Tour of Library


9:00 - 9:45 AM | Breakfast and Registration


9:45 - 10:00 AM | Welcome Remarks 


10:00 - 10:45 AM | Innovative Programming for Preschoolers
Learn about active and passive activities, environments, and programs that are inclusive and developmentally appropriate for your youngest patrons.
Pamela Hamllin, Family Literacy Specialist, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, MD
Laura Koenig, Team Leader of the Central Library’s Children’s Services, Boston Public Library, MA
Rachel Payne, Coordinator, Early Childhood Services, Brooklyn Public Library, NY


10:45 -10:55 AM | Industry Spotlight 1


10:55 - 11:05 AM | Break


11:05 - 11:45 AM | Censorship: An Organized Response

Well-organized book challenge campaigns from politicians and parents have left librarians feeling attacked and often powerless. Presenters will share tactical ways that libraries can prepare for—and respond to—challenges and the emotional trauma that comes with them. Attendees will share their experiences and learnings during a facilitated discussion that will follow. 

Jenn Cousins, Florida Freedom to Read Project

Jackson Gomes, Young Adult Internship Coordinator, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

Matthew Noe, Lead Collection & Knowledge Management Librarian, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA


11:45 - 12:10 PM | Facilitated Discussion on Censorship

Kiera Parrott, Director, Darien Library, CT 


12:10 - 12:20 PM | Industry Spotlight 2


12:20 - 1:30 PM | Lunch and Networking


1:30 - 2:15 PM Author Spotlight 


2:15 - 2:55 PM | LGBTQIA+ Programs and Services

Librarians from around the country will share what they are doing to more effectively serve this community. We’ll engage in a facilitated discussion after the session and you’ll glean actionable ideas from our presenters and attendees to take back to your library.

Rebecca Oxley, Branch Manager, District of Columbia Public Library

Jenna Spiering, Assistant Professor at the University of SoDuth Carolina iSchool, co-author of LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Children’s Librarianship: Queer-Positive Policies, Programs, and Practices (ABC-CLIO).

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2:55 - 3:20 PM | Facilitated Discussion on LGBTQIA+ Programs and Services
Kiera Parrott
, Director, Darien Library, CT 


3:20- 3:30 PM  Break 


3:30 - 4:10 | Creating Community: Nontraditional Outreach and Partnerships
We’ll explore creative approaches for connecting with, and serving, hard-to-reach communities that aren’t utilizing library services or programming, identifying  specific programs and supportive partners.

Maria Aguilar, Community Liaison, Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock, AR

Marlon Moore, Community Engagement Coordinator, Outreach and Mobile Services, Miami-Dade Public Library System, FL
Dr. Sharetta Remikie, Chief Equity and Community Engagement Officer of Broward County, Community Services Council of Broward County, FL

Georgette Spratling, Library Manager, Youth Services Librarian, and Program Coordinator, North Miami Public Library, FL

Facilitator: Meagan Albright, Alvin Sherman Library, North Florida University, FL 


4:10 - 4:50 PM | FAST LEARNING

From Drab to Fab: Redesigning Teen Spaces
Stephanie Kuhn, Medicine Hat Public Library, Alberta, CA

Little Leaders, Big Change Makers
Teresa Steinmeyer McKillop
, Palm Beach County Library System, FL

Big Feelings: How to Cope with Emotions That Can’t Be Ignored
LaTrisha Milton
, Houston Public Library, Tx

Not Your Typical Summer Camp: Engaging Youth in Social Justice
Isaiah West
, Teen Services Specialist, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, MD



4:50 - 5:00 PM | Industry Spotlight 3


5:00 - 5:10 PM | Closing Remarks


5:10 - 6:10 PM  |  Cocktail Reception Sponsored by The Friends of the Fort Lauderdale Libraries


Friday, March 31

8:30 - 9:00 AM | Breakfast & Reflection


9:00 - 9:40 AM | A Scientist’s Perspective on the Benefits of Reading Comics

Matteo Farinella, PhD, Scientific Multimedia Producer, Columbia University Zuckerman Institute, NY, and author of Neurocomic and other science comics.


9:40 - 10:20 AM | Real Reading: Graphic Novels and Audiobooks
Children and teens love them, librarians welcome them, but many parents, educators, and policy makers don’t consider them “real reading.” We’ll examine the data.  

Robin Brenner, Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline, MA, and editor, “No Flying No Tights” website.

Sarah Hashimoto, Editor, Library Journal

Facilitator: Florence Simmons, Associate Editor, School Library Journal 


10:20 - 10:30 AM | Industry Spotlight 4


10:30 - 11:10 AM | Trauma and Mental Health: What We Know, What We Can Do 

An overview of trauma-informed care and the opportunities libraries have in the area of trauma-responsive services. Included will be information about a  self-assessment tool to support your work. A facilitated discussion with attendees will cap the session. 

Rebecca L. Tolley, Director of Research & Instructional Services, Sherrod Library, East Tennessee State University, and author of A Trauma-Informed Approach to Library Services (ALA Editions)


11:10 - 11:35 AM | Facilitated Discussion on Trauma-and Mental Health–Informed Librarianship
Kiera Parrott
, Director, Darien Library, CT


11:35 AM - 12:05 PM | Equity in Summer Learning

Hear about a holistic framework and approach to designing programs that expand  learning opportunities for kids over the summer and beyond. 

LaKesha Kimbrough, Senior Director, Birth to High School Programs, Sunborgh Center for Community Engagement, Seattle, WA 


12:05 - 12:15 PM | Close


12:15 PM  |  Grab and Go Lunch and Networking





Matteo Farinella received a PhD in neuroscience from University College London in 2013. Since then he has been combining his scientific expertise with a lifelong passion for drawing. He is the author of Neurocomic (Nobrow 2013) and other educational comics, illustrations, and animations; for both children and adults. As a Columbia University's Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience (2016-2019) he studied the role of comics in science communication and their potential for increasing scientific literacy. Since 2019 he joined Columbia's Zuckerman Institute as a scientific multimedia producer.





María de Monservat Aguilar Dedicated Community Outreach Specialist with seven years of extensive experience as director of community affairs, public relations, community development and educational engagement, Adept at working with a wide variety of demographics and cultures seeking to elevate the social and educational status of the community. María has a been a voice for the Latin-x culture in her community, with a degree in International Commerce, and mother of two, María lives in Arkansas where she enjoys cycling and has her own business too.   



Robin Brenner is the Teen Librarian at the Public Library of Brookline in Massachusetts. When not presenting programs and providing reading guidance, she is an active member of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Robin has served on the Michael L. Printz, Margaret A. Edwards, Boston Globe-Horn Book, and the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. She is the editor in chief of the graphic novel review website, No Flying No Tights.



Pamela Archer Hamlin is the Family Literacy Specialist for the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (MD). For almost thirty years, Pam has worked in the early education field as an early childhood educator and administrator, teen parent resource and referral counselor, teacher/child care provider educator, and librarian. Currently, she works for the effective execution of library programs and services in support of children under the age of five and their caregivers. Pam was a member of the Association for Library Service to Children’s (ALSC) 2019 Newbery Book Award Committee, and previously served on their Early Childhood Services and Programs Committee.



Sarah Hashimoto is an editor at Library Journal, where she oversees audio, database, and professional media reviews. Sarah worked for many years as a branch manager and community engagement manager for Jackson District Library, in Jackson, Michigan. She is passionate about increasing digital equity and helping to reduce barriers to reading, listening, and discovering. She reads almost exclusively with her ears and has served on the Odyssey Award Committee, Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, and the Listen List Council. She is currently the Vice Chair for the RUSA’s Collection Development and Evaluation Section and reviews for AudioFile Magazine and Library Journal.



Laura Koenig has served as a branch children's librarian and teen librarian and is currently the Team Leader for Central Library Children's Services at the Boston Public Library. She leads a team with a strong focus on early literacy and early childhood library services.



Matthew Noe (he/him) is Lead Collection & Knowledge Management Librarian at Countway Library, Harvard Medical School, and a part-time instructor at the University of Kentucky in the School of Information Science. He is most well-known for work in comics librarianship, health sciences librarianship, and in particular, graphic medicine. Matthew was the 2021-2022 President of the American Library Association’s Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table. He is a founding board member, website editor, and Treasurer for the Graphic Medicine International Collective. You'll find his comics reviews in both Booklist and Diamond Bookshelf. At the local level, he is the Treasurer on the Worcester Public Library’s Board of Directors. You can often find him overcaffeinated, ranting about all manner of things on Twitter, or curled up with two dogs, a book, and not enough hands.



Rachel G. Payne is the coordinator of early childhood services at Brooklyn Public Library, where she leads BPL’s First Five Years initiative. She was a contributor to Reading with Babies, Toddlers, and Twos (Sourcebooks, 2013) and Library Services Birth to Five (Facet, 2015). She has written for many publications, including School Library Journal, where she authors the “First Steps” column. She chaired the 2016 Caldecott Award Committee. She has presented at conferences nationwide.



Jenna Spiering, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Science at the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on children’s and young adult literature, and specifically graphic novels and issues of censorship and selection of LGBTQ materials. Her recent publications have appeared in Study and Scrutiny: Research in Young Adult Literature, The International Journal of Young Adult Literature, and School Libraries Worldwide.



Georgette Spratling is the Library Manager & a Youth Services Librarian at the North Miami Public Library in North Miami, Fl. She is a mother of 2 daughters, an HBCU Alum (Florida A & M University), and a lover of all things science fiction and fantasy.  When she is not helping teens in the library to become a better version of themselves, you can find her traveling the globe and making memories with her friends and family.



Rebecca Tolley is an academic librarian whose book, A trauma informed approach to library services, has guided public, school, and academic libraries, as well as consortia and professional library associations in awareness, advocacy, and adoption of the trauma informed care framework. She publishes and presents on topics like empathy, grief, cognitive blinders, boundaries, and self-care in libraries, for library workers.


Isaiah West (he/him) is the Teen Services Specialist for the Prince George's County Memorial Library System (MD). He always focuses on empowering teens and developing strong community partnerships to ensure teen-friendly communities. You can find him over-caffeinated and dancing in his kitchen when he is not working.


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