LTC Advisors

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation recognize the following distinguished library professionals for their invaluable advise and guidance on the Libraries Transforming Communities: Facilitation Skills for Small and Rural Libraries initiative.


 

Judy BergeronAfter working nearly twenty years in the biological sciences, Judith Bergeron found her “outreach calling” in the Community Outreach and Education Program at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Now, as Smithville (TX) Public Library Director for eleven years, she has experience in coordinating and promoting community programs, including (but not limited to) Bookworms in the Park; National Endowment for the Arts Easy as ABC: Arts Bridging Community; National Endowment for the Humanities programming (such as Bridging Cultures and the Picturing America series); American Libraries Association programming (such as The American Dream starts @ your library, StoryCorps @ your library, and the Let’s Talk About It series); and various community reading programs. Judy is specifically qualified to participate in this project because her skill set includes a demonstrated ability to develop strong partnerships with many organizations that work in collaboration and cooperation to organize community events and programming. Her outreach also extends outward into the library community as she has represented small, rural libraries on state advisory boards and working panels, and has served as panelist and presenter at numerous professional association conferences.

 

Martin CarcassonSince 2003, Martín Carcasson, Ph.D., is a professor in the Communication Studies department of Colorado State University, the founder and director of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD), which was recently awarded a “Civvy” Award in Washington, D.C., as a national example of a best practice in civic collaboration and collective action. Carcasson also currently served as the chair of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Board of Directors. His research focuses on helping local communities address “wicked problems” more productively through improved public communication, community problem solving, and collaborative decision-making. The CPD is a practical, applied extension of his work, and functions as an impartial resource dedicated to enhancing local democracy in Northern Colorado. Dr. Carcasson and the CPD staff train students to serve as impartial facilitators, who then work with local governments, school boards, and community organizations to design, facilitate, and report on innovative projects and events on key community issues. Dr. Carcasson's research has been published in Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Communication Theory, National Civic Review, Colorado Municipalities, the International Journal of Conflict Resolution, and the Quarterly Journal of Speech.

 

Phillip CarterPhillip Carter is a public library director with nearly 10 years of public library experience - 5 of those years being in public library administration. Carter has worked in small and rural libraries his entire career with his first full-time library position serving as the reference librarian of the Carnegie Public Library of Clarksdale and Coahoma County. Being from the Mississippi Delta - categorically one of the poorest and most rural regions in the country - he has developed a passion for serving those that have few resources at their disposal. In his current role as library director Carter has worked to break down barriers to access for patrons including strengthening WiFi services, creating a system for homebound patrons to have authorized users to transact library business on their behalf, and eliminating overdue fines in the Lamar County Library System. Carter has served the Mississippi Library Association as Outreach Chairperson, Web Committee Co-Chairperson, and the Exhibit Hall Chairperson for the MLA Annual Conference. He was a recipient of the Peggy May Scholarship through the Mississippi Library Association during his MLIS which he received from the University of Southern Mississippi. Carter was also selected as 1 of 30 participants in the first cohort of the Mississippi Library Leadership Institute in 2013 and was selected as the 2018 ALA Emerging Leader participant for the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.


 

Suzette ChangSuzette V. Chang is the executive director of the Guthrie (OK) Public Library and founder and CEO of Thick Descriptions, based in Oklahoma City. She shares opportunities to build a broader community and leadership in humanity thinking by investing in individuals through cultural intelligence and scientific empowerment. From the perspectives of biology, culture, archeology and language she works with like-minded investors to disrupt the false perception that customary beliefs define human beings and is committed to shifting ineffective perspectives of social/scientific understandings within the context of health, culture, language, history and other spaces that impact the quality of human life.


 

Erica FreudenbergerErica Freudenberger is a promiscuous collaborator who works with libraries to create community-led change. Currently the outreach & engagement consultant at the Southern Adirondack Library System in New York, she formerly led the Red Hook (NY) Public Library, a finalist for Library Journal’s “Best Small Library Award.” She took part in the Re-envisioning Public Libraries pilot with the Aspen Institute, and was part of the American Library Association’s Libraries Transforming Communities cohort in 2014. She was named a 2016 Library Journal Mover & Shaker as a community builder.


 

Betty KnightonBetty Knighton has spent her career learning about and sharing civic engagement practices that build strong communities—in her home state of West Virginia and in other parts of the country. Knighton is currently a senior associate of the Kettering Foundation. Since her connection with the Foundation began in the early 1990s, she has been keenly interested in exploring the work of organizations that build capacity for civic life and active citizenship. Knighton is also vice-president of the National Issues Forums (NIF) Institute. She has worked within the NIF network to develop practices for incorporating nonpartisan deliberative discussions into the life of the community. For two decades, Knighton served as the director of the West Virginia Center for Civic Life, a nonprofit organization that promotes community-based discussions of issues that impact life in the state. She has worked to develop a collaborative network of educational, civic, faith-based, and governmental organizations that work with West Virginians to address public issues in democratic ways. Knighton's early career was spent in the classroom, teaching English in Kanawha County Schools and at the University of Charleston. She received her BA in English and Speech from Morris Harvey College and her MA in Humanities—with a concentration in Irish Studies—from Marshall University. 

 

Brittany OvertonBrittany Overton is the director of the Minot-Sleeper Library in Bristol, New Hampshire. In her 4+ years as director at the library, she has held annual candidates’ forums that serve as the primary source of information about candidates running for local election. She has also successfully hosted and helped to facilitate community conversations on a variety of topics in the Newfound Region of central New Hampshire. In 2019 she secured grant funding from the American Library Association to participate in American Creed: Community Conversations. This three-part series was orchestrated by the library and involved area partners including the National Writing Project in New Hampshire, and Newfound Regional High School. Community members were invited to participate in conversations about what it means to be an American. Overton received her master’s in Library and Information Science from Simmons College in 2016. Prior to her work as a librarian, Overton worked as a journalist for print newspapers across the country. Much of her community outreach and facilitation work that she does with the library today is informed by the work she did as a journalist for 8 years.

 

Robin WestphalRobin Westphal is state librarian for Missouri and has vast experience in public library administration. She currently is on Missouri’s Complete Count Committee and serves on Missouri Economic Development’s Broadband Leadership Team. Westphal is an active member of COSLA and Western Council of State Libraries. Westphal served as director of the Livingston County Library in Chillicothe, Missouri from 2005 to 2017 and director of the Johnson City (TN) Public Library before becoming Missouri’s state librarian. She has also worked in several public libraries in the Kansas City area. Westphal has served as president of both the Missouri Public Library Directors and Grand River Library Conference and helped draft the current Public Library Standards for Missouri. Westphal obtained a B.S. in Political Science from Kansas State University and completed a Master’s in Library Science from Emporia State University. She started her library career as part of the Johnson County (KS) library system. In additional to involvement in professional organizations, Westphal served on many community boards, including the Grand River YMCA board, Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce Board, Grand River Arts Council Board and Chillicothe Country Club Board. She served as president of both the Chillicothe Rotary Club and Chillicothe RII Board of Education.

 


The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation recognize the following distinguished library professionals for their invaluable advise and guidance on the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change initiative.


 
Cassandra BarnettCassandra Barnett has been a school librarian for 37 years in both elementary and secondary school libraries and has presented at state and national conferences on a variety of topics concerning school libraries. An active member of the American Association of School Librarians, she has served on committees both in ALA and AASL, been a member of the AASL Board of Directors, and is a past president of AASL. She is currently the program advisor for school libraries at the Arkansas Department of Education.
  Andrea BlackmanSince 2003, Andrea Blackman has coordinated Nashville Public Library's nationally recognized Civil Rights Room and Collection, after years of teaching and consulting in both Florida and Tennessee. During her tenure, she has led 10 successful oral history projects and managed the expansion of the library's public programming. She serves on the board of directors for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) and the Tennessee Historical Records Advisory Board.
 

Judy CalhounJudy Calhoun is the regional director of the Southeast Arkansas Public Library system. She started her career as the only librarian at a library in Star City, Ark., an industrial/farming town of 2,300 wedged between the forests of the Arkansas Timberlands and the rich farmland of the Arkansas Delta. Now, as the director of the Southeast Arkansas Public Library, she oversees Star City and eight other branches of the five-county system, several of which are still staffed by solo librarians. 


 
Cindy FesemyerCindy Fesemyer is the director of Columbus Public Library in Wisconsin. Librarianship is Fesemyer's second career, following 14 years in nonprofit administration and community organizing. Upon her 2012 graduation from UW-Madison SLIS, Fesemyer was pleased as punch to accept her position at the Columbus Public Library. Turns out community engagement is much more fun and effective as a public librarian, so she's never looking back.

 
Susan HildrethSusan Hildreth is the inaugural Gates-funded Professor of Practice at the Information School at the University of Washington. She also serves as the fellow for the Aspen Institute’s Forum on Communications and Society. She served as the executive director of the Peninsula Library System, the Pacific Library Partnership and the Califa Group from March 2015 through June 2016. Previously, she served as the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed position, from January 2011 through January 2015. Susan is the former Seattle Public Library city librarian and the state librarian of California, appointed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. She also served as the city librarian of the San Francisco Public Library and in other leadership positions in California public libraries. 

 
Nancy KranichNancy Kranich, a past president of ALA, founded and convenes ALA's Center for Civic Life and the Libraries Foster Community Engagement Membership Initiative Group, trained and practices as a public innovator with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, served on the board of the National Issues Forums Institute, and works with the Kettering Foundation to promote democratic practices through libraries and other organizations. She teaches community engagement, information policy and intellectual freedom at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information and works on special projects with the Rutgers University Libraries.
  Val RamosValeriano Ramos Jr. is director of strategic alliances and racial equity officer for Everyday Democracy, where he brings expertise and experience in public policy research and advocacy, higher education, program development, and community outreach and organizing. Before coming to Everyday Democracy, he was director of constituent services under former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz. He has worked with the Latino/Hispanic community in Connecticut for  many years, including Tu Voto Si Cuenta, Yale College, Guakia, Inc., and the Connecticut Association for United Spanish Action (C.A.U.S.A.).