198: Imbolo Mbue

Steve chats with Imbolo Mbue, author of How Beautiful We Were and Behold the Dreamers, about how a library display helped inspire her to start writing, the characters and themes she tackles in her work, writing as catharsis, and what it’s like to get a phone call from Oprah.

IMBOLO MBUE is the author of the New York Times bestseller Behold the Dreamers, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. The novel has been translated into eleven languages, adapted into an opera and a stage play, and optioned for a miniseries.

Her new novel, How Beautiful We Were, was published in March 2021.

A native of Limbe, Cameroon, and a graduate of Rutgers and Columbia Universities, Mbue lives in New York.

Today’s show is brought to you by Syndetics Unbound, from ProQuest and LibraryThing. Syndetics Unbound helps public and academic libraries enrich their catalogs and discovery systems with high-interest elements, including cover images, summaries, author profiles, similar books, reviews, and more. Syndetics Unbound encourages serendipitous discovery and higher collection usage, and was recently awarded Platinum distinction in the LibraryWorks 2021 Modern Library Awards. To learn more about Syndetics Unbound, visit Syndetics.com. While there, be sure to visit their “News” tab to check out the Syndetics Unbound Blog for news and analysis, including a break-down of 2020’s most popular titles in public and academic libraries.

197: ALA Presidential Candidates 2021

Steve chats with the three 2021 candidates for American Library Association President: Stacey Aldrich, Ed Garcia, and Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada.

Read the transcript!

Stacey Aldrich has more than 20 years of library experience, and is currently the State Librarian of Hawaii. Prior to Hawaii, she served as the Deputy Secretary for the Office of Commonwealth Libraries in Pennsylvania and State Librarian of California. Stacey has also worked in public and academic libraries. In between, she took a detour to work as a Senior Associate at the futuring think tank of Coates & Jarratt, Inc., where she began to sharpen her futurist thinking skills. She was selected as a Mover and Shaker in the 2003 Library Journal Annual Movers and Shakers edition, and she received a LINK AMERICAS Foundation Knowledge Award for vision and leadership in the area of Digital Literacy in 2012. Always curious and always learning, she believes we all should have a little futurist in us so that we can create our preferred futures. Visit her Instagram to learn more about her campaign.

Ed Garcia is the Library Director at the Cranston Public Library in Cranston, RI, a position he has held since 2012. Ed is a proud graduate of the University of Rhode Island and received his MLIS in 2008. He is currently serving as a member of the Executive Board of the American Library Association and is a 3 term Councilor-at-Large on the ALA Council. He is a former ALA Emerging Leader (2010) and Library Journal Mover & Shaker (2010). Ed is very involved in library advocacy and is the current Legislative Action Chair for the Rhode Island Library Association. He is happily married with 16 year old twin sons. To learn more about his candidacy for ALA President visit www.edforala.com.

Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada is the Adult Services Assistant Manager at the Palos Verdes Library District in Southern California. She serves as the Executive Director and is a Past President of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA). Much of her professional work focuses on services to youth and promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in libraries, librarianship, and her local community. She lives in San Pedro, California with her poet husband, Chrisitan Hanz Lozada and their menagerie of pets. Find out more about Lessa and her vision for ALA at lessaforlibraries.com.

Today’s show is brought to you by Syndetics Unbound, from ProQuest and LibraryThing. Syndetics Unbound helps public and academic libraries enrich their catalogs and discovery systems with high-interest elements, including cover images, summaries, author profiles, similar books, reviews, and more. Syndetics Unbound encourages serendipitous discovery and higher collection usage, and was recently awarded Platinum distinction in the LibraryWorks 2021 Modern Library Awards. To learn more about Syndetics Unbound, visit Syndetics.com. While there, be sure to visit their “News” tab to check out the Syndetics Unbound Blog for news and analysis, including a break-down of 2020’s most popular titles in public and academic libraries.

196: Noah Lenstra

Steve chats with Noah Lenstra, author of Healthy Living at the Library, about the Let’s Move in Libraries initiative, why it’s important to work with community partners, examples of health literacy programming, and how libraries have adapted their programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noah Lenstra started Let’s Move in Libraries in 2016 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s School of Education, where he is an assistant professor of library and information science. His research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed publications, and in June 2020, his book Healthy Living at the Library was published by Libraries Unlimited. He earned his dissertation in 2016 from the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, where he also completed his MLIS. 

SHOW NOTES:

Healthy Living at the Library
Let’s Move
Let’s Move in Libraries
StoryWalk

195: Callan Bignoli and Lauren Stara

Steve chats with Callan Bignoli and Lauren Stara, authors of Responding to Rapid Change in Libraries: a User Experience Approach, about how they met and decided to write a book together, how the New York Public Library lions guided their thinking, and the myriad issues libraries need to consider to prepare for future change.

CALLAN BIGNOLI is the director of the library at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts. She gathers inspiration from everywhere to inform user-centered practices and push the profession forward. Callan studies and speaks about user experience design, library management, and social issues in technology, challenging students and colleagues to fight for a more just and human future. She tweets at @eminencefont and can be reached at callan.bignoli@gmail.com.


LAUREN STARA is a library building specialist with the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, helping public libraries around the Commonwealth improve their physical spaces. A registered architect and a librarian, she has worked in and/or consulted for libraries in eight US states, three Canadian provinces, and three Eastern European countries. She has taught at library schools in Canada and Bulgaria, and she speaks and presents frequently on library design, design thinking, and service design. Lauren can be reached at lauren.stara@gmail.com.

SHOW NOTES:

Responding to Rapid Change in Libraries: a User Experience Approach
Ambient Findability by Peter Morville
Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
“Vocational Awe and Librarianship: the Lies We Tell Ourselves” by Fobazi Ettarh | In The Library With The Lead Pipe
Library Space: A Planning Resource for Librarians

194: Carrie Rogers-Whitehead

Steve chats with Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, founder of Digital Respons-Ability, library consultant and author of Serving Teens and Adults on the Autism Spectrum: A Guide for Libraries, about her work with libraries, why she founded Digital Respons-Ability, using person-first language, and how libraries can better serve teens and adults on the autism spectrum.

Carrie Rogers-Whitehead worked in libraries for nearly a decade and now consults and trains with librarians around the nation. As a librarian in Utah, she created the first library program aimed at individuals on the spectrum in the state. She later expanded that work to teens and adults on the spectrum. Carrie is the author of the book Teen Fandom and Geek Programming and Digital Citizenship: Teaching and Practice from the Field (Rowman & Littlefield) She is the founder of Digital Respons-Ability, a mission-based company that educates students, parents and educators on digital citizenship. She continues to work with individuals with autism in her current work.

SHOW NOTES:

Serving Teens and Adults on the Autism Spectrum: A Guide for Libraries
Digital Respons-Ability

193: Kathleen Willis

Steve chats with Representative Kathleen Willis, who represents Illinois’s 77th District, about her past experience in libraries, her legislative priorities, the parts of writing a bill that Schoolhouse Rock doesn’t cover, and how library staff can successfully lobby for funding.

Kathleen Willis is serving her fourth term in the Illinois General Assembly as State Representative of the 77th District, which includes O’Hare Airport and portions of Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, Stone Park, and Wood Dale. Representative Willis now serves as leadership in the Illinois General Assembly as House Majority Conference Chair.

As a full-time state representative, Kathleen’s top priorities are to improve access to quality education, human services, prevent unfair property tax increases on local families, make our neighborhoods safer by keeping deadly assault weapons off our streets and out of the hands of criminals, and work to get Illinois’ state government and economy back on the right track. Representative Willis was the primary sponsor and instrumental in passing the Red Flag law, which is a gun violence prevention law that permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.

Kathleen has a bachelor’s degree in Human Services Administration from Elmhurst College and a master’s degree in Library and Information Services from the University of Illinois. She and her husband, Tom, reside in Addison.

192: Jeremy Shermak

Guest host Troy Swanson chats with journalism professor Jeremy Shermak, about the state of journalism, misinformation vs. disinformation, the collapse of local news, and the media literacy skills librarians need to understand.

Jeremy Shermak is a journalism professor and the faculty advisor to the student newspaper, Coast Report, at Orange Coast College. He earned his Ph.D. in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and previously studied journalism at the University of Missouri and Indiana University. He is a former journalist, managing editor and media analyst. His research interests include sports journalism, weather and climate communication, political communication, and journalism routines. You can follow him on Twitter @JeremyShermak.

Troy A. Swanson is Teaching & Learning Librarian and Library Department Chair at Moraine Valley Community College. He is also the President of the Moraine Valley Faculty Association. Troy is the author or editor of several books and articles including co-editor of Not Just Where to Click: Teaching Students How to Think About Information which received the Ilene F. Rockman Publication of the Year Award from ARCL’s Instruction Section. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on the management of technology policy in higher education. He served on ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force which issued the Framework for Information Literacy.  Over his tenure as a librarian and educator, Troy has won his campuses Master Teacher and Innovation of the Year awards, as well as the Proquest Innovation in College Librarianship award from ACRL. 

191: Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

Steve chats with Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, project lead for the Panorama Project, about what the project is, how he came to it, what libraries and publishers can learn about each other, and why he is optimistic about the future of reading.

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez is project lead for the Panorama Project. Previously, he was publisher & marketing director for Writer’s Digest; director, content strategy & audience development for Library Journal & School Library Journal; and founding director of programming & business development for Digital Book World. 

SHOW NOTES:

Panorama Project 

190: John Bracken

Steve chats with John Bracken, Executive Director at Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), about why he left the Knight Foundation to take on the challenge of the DPLA, how the DPLA works with its partners, and how DPLA is working to protect democracy and advance needed conversations about race.

John Bracken has served as executive director at Digital Public Library of America since December 2017. Previously John worked for nearly two decades as a philanthropic investor in digital media, media policy, and innovation. He most recently served as vice president for technology innovation at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he oversaw the Knight News Challenge, Knight’s Prototype Fund, and other efforts to improve the creation, curation, and accessibility of information. He previously managed technology and civic innovation programs at the MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. He has a master’s degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Pitzer College. He also serves on the board of the Illinois Humanities Council.

SHOW NOTES:

Digital Public Library of America
Circulating Ideas 44: Dan Cohen
Race, Power, and Curation: Launching the Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection | Register

189: Esther Safran Foer

Steve chats with Esther Safran Foer, the author of I Want You to Know We’re Still Here, about releasing a book during a pandemic, her time at Sixth & I, the exploration of her past leading to the writing of her memoir, and whether she sought writing advice from her sons.

Photo by Laura Ashbrook Photography

Esther Safran Foer was the CEO of Sixth & I, a center for arts, ideas, and religion. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Bert. They are the parents of Franklin, Jonathan, and Joshua, and the grandparents of six.

SHOW NOTES:

I Want You to Know We’re Still Here
Interview with Jonathan Safran Foer
Interview with Franklin Foer
Yizkor Books at NYPL
Library of Congress digital map collection
Sixth & I