Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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United Virtual 2022

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Session 1  |  Session 2  |  Session 3  |  Keynote 1

Session 1: Intellectual Freedom Challenges: How to Strengthen Your Library's Response

11:00 am Eastern | 10:00 am Central | 9:00 am Mountain | 8:00 am Pacific

In this session, we'll discuss how to develop a roadmap that will guide your response as a Board member, Trustee, Friend/Foundation member, or academic, working in tandem with your library staff when an intellectual freedom challenge arises. You'll learn how to succinctly articulate your library's policies, and ensure the library is speaking with one voice, effectively communicating internally and externally, and responding in a timely fashion.


Robyn Stein

Robyn L. Stein
President, Robyn L. Stein Group (RLSG)

Robyn established RLSG, an integrated marketing/communications consulting firm for nonprofits, in 2006. For more than 35 years, Robyn has worked to leverage impact, drive visibility and fundraise for issues ranging from the digital divide and the environment, to food insecurity, reproductive rights, and arts and justice. Clients include Harlem Stage, Planned Parenthood, City Harvest, and the American Library Association (ALA) where she consulted for nine years with incoming presidents, garnering attention for Banned Books Week, National Library Week, #eBooksForAll, and other key issues such as Supreme Court decisions and the digital divide. Her work also includes toolkits and workshops for ALSC (100th anniversary Mock Newbery Award Toolkit) and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. Robyn is an Adjunct Associate Professor at NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She earned an MBA from SUNY Binghamton and a BFA from the University of Colorado. An avid hiker, Robyn backpacks in upstate NY, Colorado and Utah in her spare time.

Cara Taback

Cara Taback
Founder/President Cantata Communications

Cara Taback, founder and presdient of Cantata Communciations, is dedicated to translating the mission and values of an organization into compelling content, conversations, and campaigns. She recently partnered with the American Library Association (ALA) on the Build America's Libraries Act and #eBooksForAll initiatives. As VP, Communications, Madison Square Garden (MSG), Cara conducted media trainings and helped develop what is now called the Garden of Dreams Foundation. Before starting Cantata Communications, Cara served as City Harvest’s Communications Director, where she assisted in guiding the renowned food rescue organization through its strategic plan. Cara has worked extensively with the New York City Marathon, North Shore Animal League, Bideawee, the KIND Foundation/Empatico, and Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. She served as writer/editorial assistant for MSG’s 125th anniversary book Garden of Dreams, City Harvest’s 100 Recipes from 100 Great New York Restaurants, and the New York Road Runner Club’s Complete Book of Running. She enjoys literacy volunteering and exploring scenic trails.


Session 2: Practical Policy Management: A Guide for Trustees

12:00 pm Eastern | 11:00 am Central | 10:00 am Mountain | 9:00 am Pacific

Policy is essential to smooth library operations, and ensuring equality of access for all patrons, but is often seen as an obstacle to progress or a difficult task to be accomplished once and never seen again. This program is designed to educate both library trustees and directors of the statutory responsibility of library trustees in creating policy, as well as practical steps for creating, maintaining, and managing effective policy, including ensuring collaboration between director, staff and board during the process. The program will also offer practical suggestions for policy creation, procedures for periodic policy evaluation, and ways to streamline the policy process.

Andrew Smith has been a trustee of Emporia Public Library in Kansas for six years and has served as Board Chair since 2020. Robin Newell has served as the Executive Director of the Emporia Public Library since 2015. Since 2016, they have spearheaded a complete revision of the Emporia Public Library policy, and have presented on this and related topics at the Kansas Library Association, the Association of Rural and Small Libraries and for the Kansas State Library.


Andrew Smith
School of Library and Information Management, Emporia State University

Andrew Smith is an Associate Professor in the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University in Kansas and served as a trustee of Emporia Public Library in Kansas for six years from 2016 to 2022. During this time, he and Robin Newell, the Executive Director of Emporia Public Library, spearheaded a complete revision of the Emporia Public Library policy and have presented on this and related topics at the Kansas Library Association, the Association of Rural and Small Libraries and for the Kansas State Library. His teaching responsibilities in Emporia include collection development and management, genealogy resources and techniques, multiple literacies in libraries, and international librarianship.

Robin Newell
Director, Emporia Public Library

Robin Newell, the Executive Director at the Emporia Public Library, has a passion for libraries and the people who frequent them. Her public library career spans twenty years in diverse roles in Georgia, Nebraska and Kansas including 14 years as a director. As a fellow and mentor of the Mountain Plains Library Association Leadership Institute and alumnus of the American Library Association Leadership Institute and the Nebraska Leadership Institute, Newell’s personal service goal is to provide opportunities for library staff to grow leadership skills and encourage engagement in community and professional organizations.

Newell is the past president of the Kansas Library Association, the Nebraska Library Association and the Mountain Plains Library Association.  She has been actively involved in leadership and community building for over 40 years and is an alumnus of chamber leadership programs in Fremont, York and Sarpy County, Nebraska and Emporia, Kansas where she served as a member of the Leadership Emporia/Step UP! team of facilitators. Newell is the past president of the Papillion, Nebraska and Emporia, Kansas Lions Club and the past president of the Emporia, Kansas Rotary Club.


Session 3: Diversity in Library Boards, Friend Groups, and Foundations: Successes and Struggles in Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Members

1:15 pm Eastern | 12:15 pm Central | 11:15 am Mountain | 10:15 am Pacific

Library boards, friend groups, and foundations have sought to recruit and retain diverse members, still some groups undoubtedly struggle. As a part of the 2022 ALA Emerging Leaders, we examine case studies, stories, and real-life examples of equity, diversity, and inclusion in library boards, friend groups, and foundations and how they are building and sustaining diverse memberships within their groups. Working with United for Libraries, our ultimate goal is to provide information and resources that will support Library Directors, Boards, Foundations, and Friends Groups in achieving this diversity, while at the same time highlighting some common struggles and success.


Bryan Duran
Materials Manager, San Francisco Public Library

Bryan Duran is the Materials Manager of San Francisco Public Library’s Main Art & Music / Business & Technology Department.


Jessica Kirk
Statewide Sharing and Engagement Coordinator, Arkansas State Library

Jessica Kirk is a coordinator for Statewide Sharing and Engagement at the Arkansas State Library. She works with libraries in Arkansas on resource sharing and engages with various stakeholders throughout the state to help them discover and connect with the resources they need. Her work has always been framed by how we impact and make positive change in our communities and supporting positive workplace culture. When not at the library, she enjoys casual outdoor excursions, staring at plants, and quality time with family.


Keynote 1: Library Workers are NOT Okay: How Trustees, Friends & Foundations Can Support the Health & Well-Being of Library Staff

2:30 pm Eastern | 1:30 pm Central | 12:30 pm Mountain | 11:30 am Pacific

The COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented number of censorship attempts, lack of funding/staff, and additional challenges have left many library workers at a crisis point. Learn how library boards/Trustees can support library workers, and what board members need to know about keeping library workers safe and healthy.  


Veronda J. Pitchford
Assistant Director, Califa Group

Veronda J. Pitchford is the Assistant Director for the Califa Group, a nonprofit library membership consortium representing 230 libraries in California. The Califa Group is committed to unleashing the impact of libraries. As part of her role, she serves as a strategic partner for several national grant projects, leads new business development and manages Infopeople, Califa’s national training arm that delivers online learning for library people.  

She is an active member of the American Library Association (ALA) and currently serves on the ALA Business Advisory group, and the Center for the Future of Libraries Advisory Group. She also served on the United for Libraries board for Trustees, Friends, and Foundations for almost ten years. 

Ari Z. Brooks
Executive Director, Friends of the Library, Montgomery County

Ari Z. Brooks is an experienced fundraiser and nonprofit manager having held leadership positions in three not-for-profit organizations for more than twenty-five years in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Her work has primarily focused on engaging and inspiring the community to provide volunteer and philanthropic support to worthy causes.

In her current role, she leads one of the largest Friends groups in the DC region. Her mission-driven focus strengthens and expands the community's role in supporting libraries and library workers in their efforts to provide innovative and relevant programs, services, and collections.

Chris Chanyasulkit
Trustee, Brookline (Mass.) Public Library

Chris Chanyasulkit is grounded in a strong belief in eliminating the structural barriers to equity for vulnerable populations. She holds leadership positions with local, state, regional and national governance and civic engagement organizations, working to promote racial, gender, and health equity. She served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Massachusetts Asian American Commission and the Commission on the Status of Women where she advocated for the needs of Asian Americans and Women throughout the Commonwealth.

In addition to her advocacy and scholarly pursuits, Dr. Chanyasulkit is President of the American Public Health Association (APHA), an elected Library Trustee of the Public Libraries of Brookline, a United for Libraries Board Member, a Brookline Community Emergency Response Team member, a Brookline Medical Reserve Corps member, and a Mentor Mom for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Parent Connection Program.

Patrick Stewart
CEO, Library Foundation SD

A seasoned Executive leader in the non-profit sector, Patrick Stewart possesses a strong foundation in building organizational capacity through strategic planning, development, capacity building, business modeling, board management, and strengthening areas of impact, evaluative documentation, and communication.

Currently, Patrick is the CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation, strengthening communities by supporting excellence in the San Diego Public Library system through philanthropy, advocacy, and outreach. Previously, he was Executive Director of Words Alive, San Diego's leading community-based literacy organization, providing vision and leadership to the programs and community that serves the more than 5,000 children and families served by Words Alive on a monthly basis throughout Southern California.

Rachel Fewell
Central Library Administrator, Denver Public Library

Rachel Fewell is the Central Library Administrator at Denver Public Library, where she coordinates programming and plans for the future of the Library. Her specialties include project management, change and organizational management, library collection development, and linked data. She currently serves as a Board member for the Golden Triangle Partnership of Denver, Colorado.

Christopher Platt
Director, Mono County Free Library

Christopher Platt is Director of the Mono County Free Library in Mammoth Lakes, California. He previously held several roles at New York Public Library from 2007-2018, including Chief Branch Library Officer, when he oversaw 88 neighborhood libraries across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Chris has served as a Board member for the Mono Arts Council since 2020.


Sylvia Bolivar

Sylvia Bolivar
Trustee, Prince George's County Memorial Library System

Sylvia Bolivar has been a member of the Board of Library Trustees since June 2008. She advises municipalities on community and economic development programs.  Prior to that, Sylvia served as Senior Advisor for Placed-Based Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In this capacity, she managed the Promise Zones Initiative working closely with local leaders to create jobs, improve educational outcomes, reduce violent crime and support overall economic growth and vitality. 




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