NPS Podcast

Welcome to "Break Room Chats," the podcast of the LLAMA New Professionals Section. This monthly podcast covers issues of leadership and management for new LIS professionals, including interviews with prominent LLAMA/ALA leaders. 

Have suggested topics for Break Rooms Chats? Let us know via our survey here.

Listen to Break Room Chats on SoundCloud and iTunes



Episode 48: Committee Work As Leadership. Audio | Transcript
In this episode, podcast team member Jessica Kiebler speaks with Twanna Hodge from the University of Florida, Gina Levitan from Pace University and Joan Jocson-Singh from CUNY, Lehman College about librarians doing committee work. Together, they talk about their experiences as both leaders and supporting committee members, rejecting vocational awe (s/o to Fobazi Ettarh), and transferring skillsets across your work. Mentioned in this conversation is the book, How to Thrive as a Library Professional by Linda Miles and Susanne Markgren. You can find Twanna Hodge on Twitter @tkhodge19. You can find Gina Levitan via email at glevitan[at] and on Twitter @blinablevitan. You can find Joan Jocson-Singh on Twitter @zoe318 and on Instagram @extrememetallibrarian.

Episode 47: Community College Edition Part 2: Leading As A Department of One. Audio | Transcript
In this episode of our Community College Series, podcast team member Aisha Conner-Gaten chats with Eva Rios-Alvarado, she/her/hers, Assistant Professor and Equity and Outreach Librarian at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC). They talk about Eva's journey to community college work, supporting initiatives as a department with only one professional, and what faculty librarians experience on community college campuses. You can find Eva Rios-Alvarado on Twitter @EvaRiosAlvarado, #XicanaMLIS use #LISpaLaGente #LAallDay #POCinLIS. She is also a co-organizer for Librarians of Color Los Angeles, @LOCLAlibrarians. She is also hosting an ART+ FEM Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for Spring 2020 at Mt SAC.

Episode 46: ALA Midwinter 2020 Recommendations. Audio | Transcript
In this episode, the podcast team offers their recommendations for ALA Midwinter 2020 in Philadelphia. You can follow tweets from Midwinter using #alamw20 or @alamw.

Episode 45: Community College Edition Part 1: An Intro to the Landscape with Shamika Simpson. Audio | Transcript
Podcast Team Member Aisha Conner-Gaten interviews Shamika Simpson ​​on the will talk about the basic landscape of community colleges, specifically those based in California. They discuss both the benefits and challenges of the community college environment and tips for anyone pursuing a career in that area. You can find Shamika Simpson on Instagram at @LBCCLibrary or @LibraryShamika. She will also be presenting at the 7th Annual Active Learning Leaders Teaching Conference on January 25, 2020 at Palomar College on Using Flipgrid in Course Discussions.

Episode 44: Building a Mindful Practice & Leadership with Amanda M. Leftwich. Audio | Transcript
In this episode, Aisha Conner-Gaten interviews Amanda M. Leftwich of #MindfulinLIS ​​on building a mindfulness practice, leadership, and being a person of color in LIS. For more on mindfulness in LIS, check out Michelle Reale's Becoming a Reflective Librarian and Teacher. Amanda M. Leftwich can be found talking about mindfulness at @mindfulinLIS on Twitter​​ and Instagram and her Library Juice Academy course "Redefining Wellness for Librarians of Color" in April 2020.

Episode 43: State of the Community State of Community 2019 with Stephanie Van Ness, Heather James, and Aisha Conner-Gaten. Audio | Transcript
December 2019. In this episode, Heather James speaks with LLAMA NPCP Chair Stephanie Van Ness and Past Chair Aisha Conner-Gaten about the LLAMA/ALCTS/LITA merger and participating in NPCP.

Episode 42: Kyra Hahn & Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. August 2019. Librarian/activist Kyra Hahn (Douglas County Libraries) talks with Break Room Chats about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) that almost all librarians can be taking advantage of!

Episode 41: Dana Gee in the Archives. June 2019. Dana Gee talks with Elspeth about her experiences and her thoughts about term labor in archives.


Episode 13: Elizabeth Gibes. May 2016. In this episode, Heather James speaks with a Marquette University colleague, Research and Instruction Librarian Elizabeth Gibes, who is also a member of ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries). 

Episode 12: Sarah Neeri. Apr 2016. In this episode, Elspeth Olsen speaks with public librarian Sarah Neeri about ways to lead without being a manager, and some of the challenges and perks of working in a public library system. 

Episode 11: Special Issues. Mar 2016. In this episode, each of the podcast team members speaks briefly about issues close to their hearts. And we'd like to hear from YOU about issues close to yours. Take the survey at

Episode 10: Reed David. Feb 2016. In this episode, recorded at ALA Midwinter in Boston, Elspeth Olson talks to Reed David, the Cataloging Librarian for the University of Anchorage/Alaska Pacific University Consortium Library at the University of Alaska Anchorage. They speak about his career path, and what is involved in presenting at an ALA conference. 

Episode 9: Beth Crowley. Jan 2016. Elizabeth Davidson speaks to Beth Crowley, director of the EC Scranton Memorial Library in Madison, CT. They discuss public library management, Beth's transition from marketing to librarianship, and her involvement with the Connecticut Library Association.

ALA Midwinter 2016: Break Room Chats Recommendations. Jan 2016. The Break Room Chats team squeaks in ahead of ALA Midwinter 2016 with a few recommendations of sessions to attend at the conference. Hope to see you there!


Episode 7: Amanda Hornby. Dec 2015. In this episode, Heather James speaks to Amanda Hornby, Teaching & Learning Librarian / Geography Librarian at the University of Washington in Seattle. They discuss her current and previous roles in academic librarianship, as well as the concept of leading from the middle.

Episode 6: Mattie Taormina. Nov 2015. In this episode, Elspeth spoke with Mattie Taormina, who has held a number of varied positions in the library and archives world, including serving as Head of Public Services for Stanford Special Collections for nine years. They discussed the importance of communication, association involvement, and mentoring in developing as a leader and manager.

Episode 5: Drusilla Carter. Oct 2015. In this episode, Elizabeth Davidson speaks to Drusilla Carter, director of Willimantic Public Library in Connecticut, about running an urban library that serves a diverse population. Carter is also a board member of Bibliomation, a library consortium and open-source network.

Episode 4: Kate Conerton & Graphic Design. Sept 2015. Elspeth interviews Kate Conerton, and they discuss distance librarianship and taking the lead as a new librarian. Elizabeth talks about the use of graphic design in libraries and tools for non-designers.

Episode 3: Maureen Sullivan. Aug 2015. A conversation about leadership with Maureen Sullivan, Past-President of the American Library Association.

Episode 2: NPS Past, Present, and Future.  audio | transcript
In this episode, Elspeth speaks with the NPS Leadership Team at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, in June 2015. Past Chair Tyler Dzuba, current Chair Derrick Jefferson, and current Vice Chair Zara Wilkinson discuss the past, present, and future of the New Professionals Section.

Episode 1: Introduction.  audio | transcript
Welcome to Break Room Chats! Meet the hosts of the show (Elspeth Olson, Elizabeth Davidson, and Heather James) as they answer the questions that will be asked of interviewees in future episodes. July 2015.