Libraries Are Essential

MAY 25, 2021
11:00 AM – 2:30 PM EDT

This inaugural program will offer U.S. Book Show attendees a broader look
at the challenges and opportunities libraries are embracing in 2021

Sponsored by

OverDrive

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Program I

Opening Remarks

Andrew Richard Albanese
Andrew Richard Albanese

PW Senior Writer Andrew Richard Albanese leads PW‘s library coverage. He has covered the publishing and information technology fields for more than 21 years, and is a former associate editor of American History at Oxford University Press, a former editor at Library Journal, and the author of ‘The Battle of $9.99: How Apple, Amazon and the Big Six Publishers Changed the E-Book Business Overnight.’

Sari Feldman
Sari Feldman

PW columnist Sari Feldman is the former executive director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Cleveland, Ohio, and a past president of both the Public Library Association (2009–2010) and the American Library Association (2015–2016).

Special Guests:
Tracie D. Hall
Tracie D. Hall

Tracie Hall is Executive Director of the American Library Association, since 2020. She has previously served as Director, Culture Program at Chicago’s Joyce Foundation, and is a former Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) for the City of Chicago where she oversaw the Arts and Creative Industries Division.

Julius C. Jefferson Jr.
Julius C. Jefferson, Jr.

Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., is currently president of the American Library Association. He is the Section Head of the Research and Library Services Section in the Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division at Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, where he leads a team of research librarians who provide public policy research assistance exclusively to Members of Congress and staff.

Patty Wong
Patty Wong

Patty Wong is currently City Librarian for the Santa Monica (CA) Public Library, and is the President-Elect for the American Library Association, set to take office in June 2021 at the ALA Annual Conference. Wong is a Library Journal Mover & Shaker and a recipient of the ALA Equality Award (2012). In addition to her role as board member for a number of nonprofit institutions, Wong is also adjunct faculty for the iSchool at San Jose State University, where she has taught since 2004.

Toward a New Normal in Libraries

No doubt, many Americans are weary of hearing the phrase “new normal.” But in the wake of a historic public health crisis, massive economic disruption, political chaos, and a long overdue social and racial justice awakening, one thing is clear: libraries cannot simply go back to what once passed for normal. In this discussion, R. David Lankes and Nicole A. Cooke, authors, educators, colleagues at the University of South Carolina and co-hosts of the PW-hosted Skillset Podcast will take stock of this unprecedented moment for libraries and librarians.

Nicole A. Cooke
Nicole A. Cooke

Nicole A. Cooke is the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair and an Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina. Cooke was awarded the ALA’s Equality award in 2016, and she was the 2019 ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award recipient. She has edited and authored several books, including Information Services to Diverse Populations (ABC-CLIO, 2016) and Fake News and Alternative Facts: Information Literacy in a Post-truth Era (ALA Editions, 2018).

R. David Lankes
R. David Lankes

R. David Lankes is director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Information Science and author of The Atlas of New Librarianship (MIT Press); and The New Librarianship Field Guide (MIT Press). Lankes is a passionate advocate for libraries and their essential role in today’s society, earning him the American Library Association’s Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship in 2016. He has been a visiting fellow at the National Library of Canada, the Harvard School of Education, and was the first fellow of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy.

Special Guest:
Crosby Kemper III
R. Crosby Kemper III

Crosby Kemper III is the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the independent federal agency that serves as the primary source of federal support for the nation’s museums and libraries. Prior to his role at IMLS, he served as director of the Kansas City Public Library, where he established the library as one of the city’s leading cultural destinations and a hub of community engagement.

If You Build It, Will They Come Back? The Future of Library Buildings Post-Covid-19

One of the library profession’s greatest triumphs was adapting their buildings to become more social spaces in the digital age. But is another great transformation in library spaces upon us? Will public health concerns change the way people use library spaces? Will fears of circulating materials linger, valid or not? What kind of upgrades and new policies will libraries need—ventilation systems, space limits, barriers and spit guards? And what about safety plans for library staff? From renovations to new construction, this panel will explore how librarians are envisioning the post-pandemic library space.

Tracy Strobel
Tracy Strobel

Tracy Strobel is executive director of the Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library. Among her accomplishments at CCPL, she as deputy director helped oversee the largest capital improvement program in the library’s history, replacing 10 branches and renovating 14 over seven years.

Felton Thomas
Felton Thomas

Felton Thomas is executive director of the Cleveland Public Library, where he is overseeing a 10-year, $100 million makeover of all 27 CPL branches.

Moderated by Sari Feldman

Break

1:00 – 2:30 PM Program II

A Reset for the Digital Library Market?

From its inception, the digital content market for libraries and publishers has been fraught with tension. But in the wake of the pandemic, libraries have seen a historic jump in digital circulation. The question is: what happens now? What have we learned from this past year of forced experimentation in the digital space? This discussion will explore the challenges and opportunities for libraries and publishers in the post-pandemic digital space.

Michael Blackwell
Michael Blackwell

Michael Blackwell is the director of the St. Mary’s County Library in Maryland, and an organizer of the ReadersFirst coalition. He has been one of the most vocal advocates for digital lending in public libraries.

Veronda Pitchford
Veronda Pitchford

Veronda Pitchford is Assistant Director of the Califa Group, a nonprofit membership consortium of libraries across California. She is co-founder and co-chair of the ALA’s ASCLA Consortial eBook Interest Group, and is the principal investigator for the IMLS-funded Libraries as Second Responders project, which will help train library staff to serve communities highly impacted by COVID-19.

Lisa Rosenblum
Lisa Rosenblum

Lisa Rosenblum is director of the King County Library System (WA). One of the busiest library systems in the country, KCLS has consistently ranks as one of the nation’s leaders in digital circulations.

Ramiro Salazar
Ramiro Salazar

Ramiro S. Salazar is director of the San Antonio Public Library (TX), responsible for the delivery of library services to almost 2 million residents in San Antonio and Bexar County, with a team of over 550 employees.

Special Guests:
Dr. Rachel Noorda
Rachel Noorda

Dr. Rachel Noorda is Director of Publishing and Assistant Professor of English at Portland State University. She holds a PhD degree in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling and has published numerous peer-reviewed research on various book publishing projects.

Kathi Inman Berens
Kathi Inman Berens

Dr. Kathi Inman Berens is Associate Professor of Publishing and Digital Humanities at Portland State University. Her book publishing-related consulting and scholarship includes survey work designed to shed light on consumer behavior.

Noorda and Berens will share insights from their recently released Project Panorama study Immersive Media & Books 2020.


Moderated by Andrew Richard Albanese

Closing Remarks

This brief discussion will focus on what’s happening at the federal, state, and local levels in terms of library funding and policy—and how library supporters can make sure their voices are heard at the federal, state, and local levels.

Special Guests:
Kathi Kromer
Kathi Kromer

Kathi Kromer is the Associate Executive Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the American Library Association (formerly known as the ALA Washington Office). As a powerful advocate for libraries and librarians in Washington, Kromer leads the ALA’s team of public policy experts in developing policy and implementing strategies to advance the work of America’s libraries.

John Chrastka
John Chrastka

John Chrastka is Executive Director and founder of EveryLibrary, the first and only national political action committee for libraries, working each election season to support dozens of local ballot initiatives in communities across the nation.

Closing Keynote

Eric Klinenberg
Eric Klinenberg

Eric Klinenberg is the Helen Gould Shepard Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University and the author of several critically acclaimed and bestselling books including Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life.

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