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.

By registering for this event, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to Library Journal's Health & Safety Policy.

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 | Continental Breakfast and Registration (Gallery 6, 6th Floor)


9:45 - 10:00 AM | Welcome Remarks                                                                                        

Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal contributor, editorial alumni, and Summit producer

Allison Grubbs, Director, Broward County Libraries Division (via video)


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 Hamlin, 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 | Sponsor Spotlight-hoopla Digital

Sarah Helm, National Sales Manager


10:55 - 11:15 AM | Break


11:15 - 11:55 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. 

Jen Cousins, Florida Freedom to Read Project

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

James B. Jones, Library Regional Manager, Collection Management Services, Broward County (FL) Libraries Division

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


11:55 - 12:20 PM | Facilitated Discussion on Censorship

Kiera Parrott, Director, Darien Library, CT  


12:20 - 12:30 PM | Sponsor Spotlight-brainfuse                                                                                     

Jack Rothstein, Director, Library Services


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


1:30 - 2:10 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

Hal Patnott, Rainbow Services Librarian, Oak Park Public Library, IL

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


2:10 - 2:35 PM | Facilitated Discussion on LGBTQIA+ Programs and Services                        

Kiera Parott, Director, Darien Library, CT


2:40 - 3:25 | 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, Nova Southeastern University, FL  


3:25 - 3:40 PM | Break


3:40 -  3:50PM | Sponsor Spotlight-Baker & Taylor                                                                                    

Bobbie Bensur, Director, Children’s & Teen Services (CATS) and Paw Prints Publishing


3:50 - 4:50 PM | FAST LEARNING

No Escape!: Creating Programs that Keep Patrons Coming Back for More

Alli Boyer, Youth Services Associate/Teen Librarian, Cape Girardeau Public Library, Cape Girardeau, MO


Climate in Art 

Dayna Cortes, Library Media Project Specialist, Miami-Dade Public Library System, Miami, FL 


From Drab to Fab: Redesigning Teen Spaces

Stephanie Kuhn, Youth & Community Librarian, Medicine Hat Public Library, Alberta, CA


Little Leaders, Big Change Makers

Teresa Steinmeyer McKillop, Library Associate II, Children and Teen Services, Palm Beach County Library System, FL


Big Feelings: How to Cope with Emotions That Can’t Be Ignored

LaTrisha Milton, Youth and Family Services Manager, Houston Public Library, TX


Queer Reads Book Club

Cynthia Ryle, Youth Services Librarian, Waterbury Public Library, Waterbury, VT


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 - 5:00PM | Closing Remarks


5:00 - 6:00 PM | Cocktail Reception Sponsored by The Friends of the Fort Lauderdale Libraries (6th Floor)




Friday, March 31

8:30 - 9:00 AM | Continental 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 - 10:25 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 


10:25-10:40 AM | Break


10:40 - 11:20 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).


11:20 - 11:45 AM | Facilitated Discussion on Trauma-and Mental Health–Informed Librarianship

Kiera Parrott, Director, Darien Library, CT


11:45 AM - 12:30 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 in conversation with Daryl Grabarek.                            

12:30 - 12:35 PM | Close


12:35 - 1:35 PM | Grab-and-Go\Networking Lunch




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. Matteo is the author of Neurocomic (Nobrow, 2013) and other educational comics, illustrations, and animations for children and adults. As a Columbia University Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience (2016–2019), he studied the role of comics in science communication and their potential for increasing scientific literacy. In 2019, Matteo joined Columbia University's Zuckerman Institute as a scientific multimedia producer.





María de Monservat Aguilar is a Dedicated Community Outreach Specialist with the Central Arkansas Library System. She has extensive experience in community affairs, public relations, community development, and educational engagement. María has worked with varied demographics and cultural groups, seeking to elevate the social and educational status of the communities she engages with. She has been a voice for Latine culture in her community. Maria is the mother of two and enjoys cycling in her free time.



Meagan Albright is a Youth Services Librarian III at the Nova Southeastern University Alvin Sherman Library, a unique, joint-use library serving Broward County residents and NSU students, faculty, and staff. She leads a team of librarians developing diverse, engaging, donor-funded programming to meet the cultural, recreational, and educational needs of the local community and beyond.



My name is Alli Boyer and I am the Youth Services Associate at the Cape Girardeau Public Library. After graduating with my MLIS from San Jose State University in 2017, I first worked as a K-5 teacher librarian before getting into public libraries.  I started at CGPL in the Adult Services department in 2019, before moving to the Youth Services department.  I have a passion for teen programs and bridging the gap between young library patrons and life-long library users.



Robin Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Public Library of Brookline in Massachusetts. When not presenting programs and providing reading guidance, she is an active member of YALSA and has served on awards committees including the Michael L. Printz Award, Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. She is the editor-in-chief of the graphic novel review website No Flying No Tights.



Dayna Cortes is the Library Media Project Specialist for the YOUmake Miami makerspaces found inside the West Kendall and Miami Beach Regional libraries. She is an environmental artist and fashion designer who specializes in bridging together art and environmental sciences. Dayna is the creator of the Miami Dade Public Library System's three-time award-winning program Climate of Art. The program focuses on teaching climate literacy to library patrons through art.



Jen Cousins is the mother of four public school kids in Orlando, Florida, and a fierce advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. In 2021, she co-founded the grassroots Florida Freedom to Read Project alongside fellow Orange County mom Stephana Ferrell, to combat censorship in their school district. The Florida Freedom to Read Project rapidly grew to tackle censorship statewide and has collaborated with such national groups as PEN America, EveryLibrary, Brooklyn Public Library, and We Need Diverse Books. Locally, the Project has collaborated with Come Out With Pride Orlando, The Zebra Coalition, and The Orlando Strong Symposium, among other groups. Jen has testified before U.S. Congressman Jamie Raskin’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on the impact of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay”law, and has spoken before numerous school boards and the Florida State Board of Education, and at rallies in support of LGBTQIA+ rights. She was recently named one of the 11th Annual LGBTQIA+ Center Diversity Awards honorees.



When he arrived in the United States at the age of 10 from the Cape Verde Islands, Jackson Gomes embraced Brooklyn (NY) Public Library as a comfort zone. At 15, he found a job at the library and since then has graduated to a number of professional roles at Brooklyn Public, including the Today’s Teen Tomorrow’s Techies Coordinator. In that role, Jackson coordinates hands-on training, meaningful volunteer experiences, and internship opportunities in information technology for Brooklyn youth, ages 14-18. In 2020, Jackson took on the additional role as coordinator of the Librarians of Tomorrow Internship program.



Daryl Grabarek worked as an editor at School Library Journal for 20+ years and is currently a SLJ contributor and event planner. Previously, she worked in public, school, and academic libraries serving ages preschool through college.



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 its Early Childhood Services and Programs Committee.



Sarah Hashimoto is an editor at Library Journal, where she oversees audio, database, and professional media reviews. Previously, she worked for many years as a branch manager and community engagement manager for Jackson District Library, in Jackson, Michigan. Sarah 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. Sarah is currently the Vice-Chair for the RUSA’s Collection Development and Evaluation Section and reviews for AudioFile Magazine and Library Journal.



James B. Jones has more than 30 years of experience in working with collections in various capacities, including as project manager for opening-day collections of eight libraries. For the past five years, he has been the manager of collection management services. In this role, James is responsible for overseeing all aspects of collection management, including collections development, acquisitions, cataloging, metadata and digitization, interlibrary loans, archives, and special collections. James has served on the PLA Public Libraries Advisory Committee, the ALA LLAMA Mentoring Committee, and the ALA Emerging Trends Committee.



LaKesha Kimbrough is a certified Healing Centered Engagement practitioner and founder of LK Consulting & Coaching (LKCC), she has engaged in facilitation work since 2012, leading and co-leading workshops and training sessions that center healing and liberation. In 2020 she founded LKCC to deepen her commitment to supporting individuals and organizations on their journeys of transformation.  Her background working in education, supporting children, youth, young people, and their caregivers from birth through college as well as her study in social science with concentrations in history, political science and human development have gifted her the opportunity to work with a diverse array of communities and to do so in ways that honor where we have been, where we are, and where we hope to be.  LaKesha believes strongly in the power of story, connection, and shared learning.



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.



Stephanie Kuhn (MLIS) was born and raised in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, and has spent most of her library career working at her childhood library—the Medicine Hat Public Library—as the Youth & Community Librarian. Stephanie has a passion for working with teens and making the library a safe space for them. On her days off, you can find her on a leisurely walk with family, playing DnD with her friends, or curled up at home with a good book and cup of tea.



LaTrisha Milton is the Youth and Family Services Manager for the Houston (TX) Public Library System. She has been in the library field for more than 20 years.



Marlon Moore holds a Master of Science in Information Degree at Florida State University and Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Florida State University. Since coming to the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS), he has helped develop system-wide library initiatives including adult computer classes, robotics programs, Hackathons at the Library, drone education classes, immersive spatial computing technology, and college and career opportunities for students. Marlon has contributed to a number of award-winning programs including those that have received National Association of Counties (NACo) Awards; a 2019 FLA Library Innovation Award; and the 2020 Urban Libraries Council National Top Innovator Award. He is a proponent of creating innovative ways to connect the community to the library as well as educating at-risk teens through the use of music, fine arts, dance, multimedia production, and STEAM programming. Marlon currently serves as the Community Engagement Coordinator at the MDPLS. He regularly presents at national and international conferences and workshops.



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 well known for his 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 Matthew’s comics reviews in both Booklist and Diamond Bookshelf. At the local level, he is the Treasurer on the Worcester (MA) Public Library’s Board of Directors. You can often find Matthew overcaffeinated, ranting about all manner of things on Twitter, or curled up with two dogs, a book, and not enough hands.



Before becoming the Director of Darien Library (CT) in 2020, Kiera Parrott served as the Reviews and Production Director for Library Journal and School Library Journal. Kiera’s been a proud library worker since her teen years, working as a page for the Queensborough (NY) Public Library, as a reference assistant at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and as a senior librarian for the New York Public Library. She previously worked at Darien Library from 2008–2013 as a children’s/collection development librarian and as Head of Children’s Services. Kiera lives in Norwalk, CT, with her husband (also a librarian) and their two cats.



Rebecca Oxley (she/they) is the Branch Manager at the Rosedale Neighborhood Library of District of Columbia Public Library. She worked as a Librarian III for Prince George's County Memorial Library System in MD where she was a key member of the LGBTQ+ Team, co-founded The Butterfly Project connecting BIPOC trans women with library and community resources and services, and was a recipient of the Karen Holmes Flame Award for Trans Advocate of the Year in 2021. Prior to working in public libraries they were a K-8 School Librarian and Technology teacher with Prince George’s County Public Schools, and co-founded the Maryland State Black Eyed Susan Book Award for Graphic Novels Grades 4-6 and 6-9.



Hal Patnott is a children’s librarian who specializes in serving LGBTQIA+ young people and their allies. He is passionate about identity exploration through collaborative storytelling and imaginative play. Hal also collaborates with Collection Management librarians curating materials for all ages, including the library’s Transgender Resource Collection.



Rachel G. Payne is the coordinator of early childhood services at Brooklyn (NY) 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). Rachel has written for many publications, including School Library Journal, where she authors the “First Steps” column. She chaired the 2016 Caldecott Award Committee and has presented at conferences nationwide.



Dr. Sharettta Remikie is a culturally responsive visionary who holds BS, MBA, and Ed.D degrees. She has utilized her various professional roles and community activism to tackle the issue of health equity as a social justice issue. Dr. Remikie is a highly sought out national trainer, speaker, and subject matter expert on the topics of race, diversity, equity, inclusion, and women issues. She strives to add positive value to individuals and empower people in magnifying their narrative as a tool to building individual and community capacity. Dr. Remikie currently serves as the first Chief Equity and Community Engagement Officer for the Children Services Council of Broward County. She also holds the positions of Board Vice President (Broward Healthy Start Coalition, Inc.); Chairperson (Broward Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Community Action Group); Board President (Doula Community Coalition); Board Chair (BLK Men in Tech); and Board Vice President (Mainlands Five, Inc.). Dr. Remikie was inducted into the Broward County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2016. In 2021, the Broward Healthy Start Coalition named her as their Maternal Child Health Champion. Dr. Remikie was a 2022 South Florida Business & Wealth’s Diversity & Inclusion Award honoree, and recently named a 2023 Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies’ Mother of the Year honoree. She is a proud member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Of all her accomplishments the most cherished is being married to Raton, Sr.; mother to Khambrel, Khamisha, Natalie, Raton Jr., Rakeem, and the late Jonathan; and Nana to Jaylen, Dylan and Kamryn!



In the hometown of everyone’s favorite ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s, you can find Cynthia Ryle (she/they) inspiring local families in her role as the Youth Librarian. What some would deem a challenging group, Cynthia considers herself a guide for teens inside the Waterbury (VT) Public Library and beyond in her community. Her passion for working with teens has motivated her to become an award-winning Girl Scout and Scouts, BSA leader, specializing in leading DEI training for Scouts and Scout leaders across the state of Vermont.



Florence Simmons is an associate editor for  SLJ. She hails from sunny Florida, where she has held several editorial positions—from reviews editor at Taylor & Francis Group to reviewing children’s books at Booklist. She is also the founder of children's and YA reviews blog “Book Nerds Across America,” which has been running strong since 2010.



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 LGBTQIA+ 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. Jenna is a co-author of LGBTQIA+ inclusive Librarianship Queer-positive policies, programs, and practices. (ABC-CLIO)



Georgette Spratling is the Library Manager and a Youth Services Librarian at the North Miami Public Library in North Miami, FL. She is a mother of two 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.



Teresa Steinmeyer McKillop is passionate about facilitating people of any age to create impact on matters important to them. With a background in conservation and education, she specializes in environmental literacy. Her focus is to provide the opportunity for young voices to take shape as learning and understanding enhance through experience and engagement. 



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 such as empathy, grief, cognitive blinders, and boundaries, and on 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 overcaffeinated and dancing in his kitchen when he is not working.


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