National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment (2017-2019)
Research Committee Advisors
The NILPPA: Phase I Research Committee comprises two independent teams, each working to advance one of two core research questions.
Research Committee - Typologies Group
This group will explore the question: How can we characterize and categorize public programs offered by libraries today?
Jennifer Weil Arns
Jamie Campbell Naidoo
Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Ph.D. is the Foster-EBSCO Endowed Professor at The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies. A former elementary school librarian and public youth librarian, Naidoo’s research interests include library services to diverse populations and diversity in children’s print and digital media. He teaches courses in public librarianship, storytelling, youth programming, outreach to diverse populations, and materials and services for children, teens, and families.
The author of numerous books, research articles, book chapters, and professional publications related to library programs and services for specific culturally diverse groups, Naidoo regularly consults with nonprofit organizations to develop children’s media and educational curricula that authentically and accurately represent our culturally pluralistic society.
He also works with libraries and schools interested in serving the literacy needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) children/teens and LGBTQ families, and is actively involved in professional associations such as the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY), and The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA). In 2016, he was awarded the Achievement in Library Diversity Research Award by the American Library Association.
Research Committee - Competencies Group
This group will explore the question: What competencies and training are required for professionals worrking with library programming today?
Michele Besant is Associate Director at the iSchool, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest areas include community engagement and LIS education. She teaches a foundations course as well as courses in management and instruction; she also co-teaches (with Omar Poler) a summer Tribal Libraries, Archives and Museums course that is as part of an IMLS funded project in partnership with tribal librarians and other cultural workers.
She is the longtime advisor for the Jail Library Project, a collaboration of the Jail Library Group (an iSchool student organization), the Dane County Library Service, and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. She also serves on a task force working with UW Archives to build a campus-community LGBT archival collection.
Besant has degrees in English (AB, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana; MA University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Library and Information Studies (MA and PhD, University of Wisconsin).
Terrilyn Chun is the Deputy Director of Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon, where she leads the library’s public services, including all 19 public library locations and divisions that serve patrons directly in child care centers, schools, retirement facilities, shelters and other settings.
Previously she was the senior manager for Programming and Community Outreach and was responsible for development, resource allocation and evaluation of public programs for adults, youth and families. She coordinated Everybody Reads, the library’s One City/One Book community reading project from 2003-2016.
She received a degree in communication from Mills College in Oakland, California and her MLS from Emporia State University. She is a former member and chair of the American Library Association’s Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee and a former member of the Public Library Association’s Leadership Development Committee.
Miguel A. Figueroa
Miguel Figueroa heads the American Library Association (ALA) Center for the Future of Libraries. As the first director of the new Center, Figueroa is responsible for identifying and disseminating information on long term societal, technological, educational, demographic trends that may affect libraries and their future.
Figueroa served as Director of Member Programs for the American Theological Library Association in Chicago since June 2012, where he coordinated member recruitment, outreach and development, the cultivation of relationships with external partners, communications and publications and service to volunteer committees and interest groups. His work there included creating a joint leadership meeting for committees and member leaders, the introduction of outcome based evaluation, and serving on the ATLA executive leadership team.
From 2009 to 2012, Figueroa served as ALA Director of the Office for Diversity and Spectrum Scholarship Program and the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, where he coordinated member services, initiatives and programs, training and resource development, and relationships with external partners. As director, Figueroa oversaw the Spectrum Scholarship program, a national diversity recruitment program providing scholarships for Master’s and Doctorate degrees in library and information science, helped launch the $1 million Spectrum Scholarship fundraising campaign and secured over $1.5 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Institute for Museum and Library Services.
Prior to his work at ALA, Figueroa served as Network Services Coordinator at the Ehrman Medical Library at New York University from 2006 to 2009. From 2003-2006, he served as Associate Director of Publishing for Neal-Schuman Publishers in New York. There, he managed acquisitions and marketing for a leading publisher of library professional development materials, identifying emerging topics and author/experts in the library and information science profession. Figueroa received an M.A. in Information Resources and Library Science from the University of Arizona in 2003. In 2005, he was selected by Library Journal as a “Mover and Shaker.”
John B. Horrigan
John B. Horrigan is an independent consultant with a focus on technology adoption, digital inclusion, and evaluating the outcomes and impacts of programs designed to promote communications technology adoption and use. He has served as an Associate Director for Research at the Pew Research Center with a focus on libraries, communities, and technology adoption. Horrigan was part the leadership team at the Federal Communications Commission for the development of the National Broadband Plan and was responsible for the plan’s recommendations on broadband adoption.
He is a nationally recognized leader on home broadband adoption patterns, the impact of connectivity on individuals, and strategies for closing adoption gaps. At Pew, he authored reports on broadband adoption and lifelong learning and technology. As a consultant, Horrigan is author of landmark reports on Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. The reports, “The Essentials of Connectivity” and “Deepening Ties” demonstrate the impact of online access for low-income families with children and make recommendations on how to accelerate broadband adoption and usage.
Horrigan has a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Texas at Austin and his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia.
Bob Horton is chair of the Archives Center and assistant director for collections and archives at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Prior to joining the NMAH, he was associate deputy director for Library Services at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (2011-2015) and director of the Library, Publications and Collections Division of the Minnesota Historical Society (1997-2011). Areas of special interest are technology, digitization and project management; he has directed projects funded by, among others, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the National Digital Information and Infrastructure Preservation Program. Working with the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, he represented archival associations in the development of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA). The Library of Congress named Horton a “Digital Preservation Pioneer” in 2008. Recent publications include “History and Memory: the Reification of Meaning in the Archives,” (Essays in Honor of Mark Greene, forthcoming); “Great Expectations: Meeting the Needs of Online Audiences at the Archives Center,” Collections 12(2016).
Colleen Leddy, director of Stair Public Library in Morenci, Michigan, has a strong interest in public programming. She won grants to host the following programs, among others, Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journeys; Pushing the Limits; Prime Time Family Reading Time; “Picturing New York…in a tiny Midwest town” (ALA Picturing America); six Michigan Notable Book authors; and the Smithsonian Institution exhibit, “Barn Again! Celebrating an American Icon.” She hosted the first Human Library east of the Mississippi. While Director, Stair Public Library won the State Librarian’s Excellence Award, 2009; Leddy won the Community Partnership Award, Rural Libraries Conference, Library of Michigan, 2005. She wrote “Programming on a (Long, Colorful) Shoestring” for the ALA Programming Librarian website. Leddy is a Michigan State University graduate with a BA in Social Science, Multi-Disciplinary Program: Pre-Law. She is also a copy editor and columnist for the State Line Observer weekly newspaper in Morenci.
Dr. Annie Norman is State Librarian & Director of the Delaware Division of Libraries. Under her leadership, the Delaware Division of Libraries received the Delaware Quality Award of Merit and the Delaware Library Association Institutional Award in recognition of performance excellence principles and practices. During 2016, Dr. Norman was the first librarian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women. Watch her recent talk, TEDxWilmington Libraries and the American Dream.
Prof. Manju Prasad-Rao is associate professor and head of the Instructional Media Center (IMC) of the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library, Long Island University-LIU Post Campus. The IMC is of primary importance to students in education and library and information science. It is also the media library for the entire campus.
Prof. Prasad-Rao has Master’s degrees in English from Bangalore University, India; Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN; and Library and Information Science from Long Island University, NY. As a media professional, Prof. Prasad-Rao is committed to a non-linear, interactive, and interdisciplinary approach to learning. She provides in-depth technology demonstrations and workshops for students, in the School of Education, who are training to be K-12 teachers. As the exhibits coordinator for the library, she creates many original educational exhibits, coordinates faculty and guest exhibits and programs, and hosts national traveling exhibits. Prof. Prasad-Rao is also the Program Director for the Phi Delta Kappa Chapter 1524 at Long Island University. As a storyteller, dancer, and teacher of classical Indian dance forms, she offers several multimedia presentations with live music and dance on the Indian arts to museums and libraries in the area.
Kathy Rosa is director of ALA's Office for Research and Statistics, which provides leadership and expert advice to ALA staff, members, and the public on all matters related to research and statistics about libraries, librarians, and other library staff; represents the Association to Federal agencies on these issues; and initiates projects needed to expand the knowledge base of the field through research and the collection of useful statistics. Rosa holds a doctorate in Instructional Technology from the University of Houston and an MSLS from the University of Kentucky. In addition to her experience working in public libraries, Rosa has taught courses in library & Information Science and Instructional Technology.
Marsha L. Semmel
Marsha L. Semmel is an independent consultant working with foundations, museums, libraries, and other educational and cultural organizations on planning, leadership development, community engagement, and strategic partnerships. She currently serves as senior advisor to the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement in its SENCER (Science Engagement for New Civic Responsibilities) initiative and faculty in the Bank Street College of Education’s Graduate Program in Leadership in Museum Education.
From 2013-2015, Semmel was senior advisor to the Noyce Foundation’s Noyce Leadership Institute, a global executive development program for senior staff in informal science learning organizations. Semmel was the Director for Strategic Partnerships, Deputy for Museum Services, and Acting Director at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) from 2003-13. At the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from 1984-96, Semmel was Director, NEH Division of Public Programs, from 1993-96. She has been President and CEO of Conner Prairie, a history museum near Indianapolis, and President and CEO of the Women of the West Museum in Denver. Semmel has served on the boards of the American Alliance of Museums, the Colorado Digitization Program, and ArtTable and currently is a board member of the Institute for Learning Innovation, the Museum of Language Arts, and the Council of American Jewish Museums, as well as vice chair of the Arlington Arts Commission. Semmel is a member of The Museum Group, a consortium of museum consultants founded in 1995 by independent professionals who have held leadership positions in museums.
Sarah Goodwin Thiel
Sarah Goodwin Thiel is the Head of Community Engagement for University of Kansas Libraries and Coordinator of the Libraries Exhibition Program. Thiel and her team help to foster an environment of engaged scholarship within the KU Libraries and cultivate relationships with the wider community.
Thiel received training at the ALA-Harwood Public Innovators Lab in 2013. She holds a BA from Southern Illinois University and an MLIS from the University of Missouri.
Angel Ysaguirre has served as executive director of The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) since 2014.
Ysaguirre previously served as Deputy Commissioner for City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), where he participated in the creation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Cultural Plan, a framework to guide the city’s future cultural and economic growth. He worked with the Mayor’s Office, DCASE Commissioner Michelle Boone and a team of Directors to create a new Arts Programming Division within DCASE to enact parts of the Cultural Plan and establish the department’s strategy.
Ysaguirre has over 20 years of experience in philanthropy and arts and humanities, including at the IHC. He served as the IHC’s first Director of Programs, ushering in programs like The Odyssey Project and the series, Brown v Board 50 Years Later: Conversations on Race, Integration, and the Courts, that made the humanities accessible to a wider audience. His rich philanthropic experience includes serving as Program Officer with the McCormick Tribune Foundation, where he managed a portfolio that covered arts and arts education. He continued his philanthropic work as Director of Global Community Investing, Global Corporate Citizenship for The Boeing Company, where he managed the company’s grant making strategy domestically and internationally.
New Knowledge Organization, Ltd.
Dr. Barchas-Lichtenstein is a linguistic anthropologist at NewKnowledge. Since earning her Ph.D. from UCLA in 2013, she has developed content for instructional software and worked as a strategy consultant in media and health. She is particularly interested in how media circulates, and what that means for questions of both learning and representation. Her doctoral research focused on media circulation and socialization into the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Dr. Danter is a project manager and researcher with expertise in evaluation theory and practice. She began her career as a clinical social worker, focusing on community mental health. Since earning her Ph.D. in Quantitative Research, Evaluation, and Measurement in Education from The Ohio State University, Dr. Danter has conducted studies with US and international cultural organizations to improve operations, build capacity, and measure outcomes. She worked with the Institute for Learning Innovation and also currently serves an Adjunct faculty member at the George Washington University teaching an evaluation graduate course.
John Fraser, Ph.D., AIA, is a conservation psychologist, architect, and educator. He is founder and president of New Knowledge Organization Ltd., a non-profit research institute based in New York City. Dr. Fraser is Adjunct Assistant Professor in psychology at Hunter College CUNY, a Research Scientist and Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University, a Fellow of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Associate Editor—Operations for Curator, the Museum Journal, published by the California Academy of Sciences. Fraser studies the impact of social free-choice settings on identity development and how to motivate engagement in peace processes and the protection of nature. He has led national studies on public understanding of major social issues, including public perceptions of zoos and aquariums (Why Zoos and Aquariums Matter) and American adult beliefs about the value of children’s nature experiences. His work with libraries includes serving as co-PI on two Language of Conservation projects, leading the evaluation strategies for the national, NEH-funded Poetry in the Branches programs coordinated through Poets House, and developing a strategic framework for addressing peace traditions found in Muslim and Islamic verse. Additionally, he has worked with the Heart of Brooklyn, to explore how cultural and informal learning institutions can bring public value to a city.
Rebecca Joy Norlander
Rebecca Joy Norlander, Ph.D. is a researcher and analyst at New Knowledge Organization Ltd., with expertise in education and digital communication technologies. She focuses on and is certified in International Conflict Resolution and Building a Sustainable World, with a doctoral specialization in Transformative Social Change. Her interest areas and expertise also include human rights, advocacy, curriculum design, and digital activism. Norlander’s past experience includes work with the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, and Digital Democracy. She is also currently the Regional Representative (NYC) for Human Rights Educators USA.
Beverly Sheppard is the Director of City Learning Initiatives for New Knowledge Organization Ltd., joining the nonprofit after five successful years as President and CEO of the Institute for Learning Innovation, President and CEO of Old Sturbridge Village, four years as Acting Director/Deputy Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and a career in public service. Sheppard has authored seminal synthesis publications about how cultural institutions engage with learning in communities, including both the original and second edition of An Alliance of Spirit: Museum and School Partnerships (2010), Thriving in a Knowledge Age (2006), and two noted articles from 2010, “America’s Museums in the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science” and “Insistent Questions in Our Learning Age” for the Journal of Museum Education. Her recent work with NewKnowledge includes a project with Heart of Brooklyn, an exploration of how cultural and informal learning institutions can bring public value to a city, as well as a study of institutional collaboration with New York Hall of Science. Sheppard also currently works on strategic planning for the ‘Iolani Palace in Oahu and the U.S. Marshal’s Museum in Fort Worth, Arkansas.
American Library Association
Mary Davis Fournier
Mary Davis Fournier, Deputy Director of the ALA Public Programs Office, will direct this project. Her more than 15 years of experience in arts and humanities program management and grantmaking include direction of Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion, and Engage! Teens, Art and Civic Engagement projects, numerous Let’s Talk About It reading and discussion initiatives, LIVE! at your library, the We the People Bookshelf, and numerous other projects and partnerships. Fournier is the author of the One Book, One Community Planning Guide for Libraries (ALA Graphics, 2003). She has a M.Ed. in Education Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.A. in history and English literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Emily Plagman is the Project Manager for PLA’s performance measurement initiative, Project Outcome, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, overseeing its development and implementation. Prior to joining PLA, Emily worked as a project manager, at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, working on an ARRA grant to introduce new energy efficiency programming to the Chicagoland region. Emily received her Master’s in International Public Affairs from the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin and her Bachelor’s in Political Science at Marquette University.
Deb Robertson is the director of the American Library Association Public Programs Office. In her 30-year career, she has worked in the areas of nonprofit and association management, program development, fund-raising, grant making, professional development for librarians, publishing and public relations. She is the author of Cultural Programming for Libraries: Linking Libraries Communities and Culture (ALA, 2005) and has served as president of the board of trustees for her local public library, as well as co-chair for the library’s successful building referendum campaign. Robertson has a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.