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.


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

188: Shauntee Burns-Simpson

Steve chats with Shauntee Burns-Simpson, 2020-2022 President of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), about BCALA’s 50 anniversary, how libraries can help facilitate hard conversations about race, and inspirational African American librarians.

Shauntee Burns-Simpson is currently the Manager, School Support and Outreach at the New York Public Library (NYPL) where she has held several positions. She was formerly an Outreach Librarian for MyLibraryNYC and Outreach Specialist for HomeworkNYC. She has been a NYPL employee since 1996.

As a Young Adult Librarian Mrs. Burns- Simpson had a great interest in children and their education. She implemented programs that NYPL adopted as programming for young adults. Outreaching to schools and other community agencies is very important to her. In her career path she visits schools and community based organizations to talk about library resources, the importance of having a library card, and provides professional development opportunities to educators on using the library.

She is currently the President of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and is proud to hold the position during the organization’s 50th anniversary. She is the former Chair of ALA’s Committee on Diversity, member of the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) & the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) Train the Trainer project. Past President of the Reference Adult Services Section of the New York Library Association (NYLA) 2012-2013 and New York Black Librarians Caucus 2013-2015.

Mrs. Burns-Simpson holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Long Island University and a Masters of Information & Library Science from Queens College.

187: Troy Swanson

Steve chats with Troy Swanson, professor at Moraine Valley Community College, about his path to librarianship, how neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology can affect information literacy, and the chapter he co-wrote in Libraries Promoting Reflective Dialogue in a Time of Political Polarization.

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. 


Troy’s previous appearances on Circulating Ideas
Not Just Where to Click
Libraries Promoting Reflective Dialogue in a Time of Political Polarization

186: Stephen Krueger

Steve chats with Stephen Krueger, author of Supporting Trans People in Libraries, about his path to librarianship, why he felt the book was needed, how you can support trans staff and patrons, and his personal reactions to this year’s Library of the Year award winner.

Stephen G. Krueger (he/him or they/them) is the author of the book Supporting Trans People in Libraries and the founding member of the Gender Variant LIS Network. He has been working in various types of libraries on and off since high school, when he started at an all-volunteer public library in rural Vermont. He has since earned a BA in English from Warren Wilson College and an MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he is now the Scholarly Publishing Librarian at Dartmouth College. Outside of work, Stephen is an avid knitter and baker; he also enjoys watching figure skating and reading about polar history. Learn more about his work at www.stephengkrueger.com, or follow him on Twitter (@StephenGKrueger).


Supporting Trans People in Libraries
Trans Language Primer
Trans Inclusion in Libraries (Zotero group)
The Gender Variant LIS Network (GVLIS)
“On the 2020 Library of the Year Award” (Stephen’s blog)

185: Karen Keninger

Steve chats with Karen Keninger, Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled at the Library of Congress, about accommodations for the blind and print disabled community, what’s in the NLS’s collection, eligibility requirements, NLS network libraries, and how your library can help NLS’s mission.

Karen Keninger has served as the Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled at the Library of Congress since 2012. Prior to her appointment with the Library of Congress, Keninger served as Director of the Iowa Department for the Blind and as Regional Librarian at the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled. Her priorities for NLS focus on leveraging technology for a better reading experience and expanding content options for NLS patrons. Accomplishments to date include launching a braille eReader program; tripling the number of titles added to the collection annually; and implementing BARD Express and BARD Mobile apps.  Current initiatives include exploration of options for the next generation of talking books, including digital delivery and voice control; increasing access to visual content; expansion of the NLS patron base; relocation of NLS headquarters, and participation in the Marrakesh Treaty.


National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled
Marrakesh Treaty
Find your local network library

184: Matt Finch

Steve chats with strategy & foresight consultant Matt Finch about what scenario planning is and why libraries need to be doing it, some of the big ideas libraries need to be thinking about, working remotely during a pandemic, and exploring Library Island.

Matt Finch is a strategy & foresight consultant at mechanicaldolphin.com and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland. He’s currently advising on the IMAJINE project for the future of regional inequality in Europe, and regularly serves as a facilitator on the scenarios programme at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School. From 2016-2017 he was the first ever Creative in Residence at the State Library of Queensland and a Creative/Researcher at British Library Labs.


Mechanical Dolphin
Arrows of Time activity
Gov Love: Leadership and Scenario Planning with Matt Finch
Circulating Ideas 1: Buffy Hamilton

183: January LaVoy

Steve chats with January LaVoy, actress and audiobook narrator, about her experience with libraries, how she finds the right voice for each audiobook she narrates, the care she takes in translating an author’s story in audio, and working with a little-known actress named Meryl Streep to bring Charlotte’s Web to life.

An Audiofile Magazine “Golden Voice” since May 2019, January LaVoy has an extensive body of work in both narration and commercial voiceover.  With hundreds of audiobook titles to her credit, she has received more than two dozen Earphones Awards, sixteen Audie Award nominations (including four wins), and was named Publishers Weekly’s “Audiobook Narrator of the Year” for 2013. Her voice has been heard in national campaigns for products such as Revlon, Toll House, United Health Care, Dannon, Asthma.com, Home Depot, and Obama for America.

182: Stacy Brown

Steve chats with Stacy Brown, librarian and 21st Century Learning Coordinator at The Davis Academy, about her family history in librarianship, how she’s adapted her work to life during a pandemic, and her book, The School Librarian’s Technology Playbook: Innovative Strategies for Teachers and Learners.

Stacy Brown is a librarian and the 21st Century Learning Coordinator at The Davis Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, where she manages two media centers in a kindergarten prep through eighth grade academic environment.  Recognized for creating a culture of innovation and for facilitating the integration of technology into the curriculum, she  leads Maker Monday for PreK through fifth grade, facilitates a fourth grade programming and robotics class and a fifth grade course focused on text-based programming languages, game design and 3D printing. She developed a sixth grade entrepreneurship and technology course, facilitates the coding curriculum, leads the student technology leadership program, Network Sherpas, and leads teachers’ professional development in the area of technology integration. Stacy earned her Master’s in Library and Information Sciences from Florida State University and her Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in French from The University of Texas at Austin. Stacy has led many initiatives focusing on 21st century learning skills. She has presented at numerous conferences, such as TCEA, SxSWEDU, ALA, TLA, GaETC, and more.  She currently serves on the boards for the Atlanta Area Technology Educators and Savvy Cyber Kids, Inc., and is the regional director of the Georgia technology competition for the Independent and Home School Region. Stacy is the author of the book The School Librarian’s Technology Playbook: Innovative Strategies for Teachers and Learners published by Libraries Unlimited in February 2020 and a contributor to the book entitled School Library Makerspaces in Action published by Libraries Unlimited in March 2018 as well asLibrary Technology Reports published May/June 2018 volume. Stacy inspires a thoughtful use of technology, an enthusiasm for reading, and a lifelong interest in learning through both her personal and professional achievements.


Circulating Ideas: 137 School Librarian Panel
The School Librarian’s Technology Playbook: Innovative Strategies for Teachers and Learners
The Davis Academy

181: Susan Elia MacNeal

Steve chats with Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie Hope series; the newest book in the series The King’s Justice is out now. Susan discusses how libraries inspired her career, how the Maggie Hope series came to be, and why she writes historical fiction.

Read the transcript!

Susan Elia MacNeal is the New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie Hope mysteries. MacNeal won the Barry Award and has been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, Agatha, Left Coast Crime, Dilys, and ITW Thriller awards. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.


Susan Elia MacNeal – Books

180: David Jarmul

Steve chats with David Jarmul, author of Not Exactly Retired: A Life-Changing Journey on the Road and in the Peace Corps, about his life in and out of the Peace Corps, including his time working in a library in Moldova.

David Jarmul is the author of Not Exactly Retired: A Life-Changing Journey on the Road and in the Peace Corps. A writer and world traveler whose blog has been read in more than 100 countries, he was previously the head of news and communications at Duke University for many years. He also held senior communications positions at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Academy of Sciences. An honors graduate of Brown University and past president of the D.C. Science Writers Association, he has worked as an editor for an international development organization, a writer for the Voice of America and a reporter for a business newspaper. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, where he met his wife, Champa, and with her in Moldova, Eastern Europe, where he worked at a public library, helping it to modernize its operations with limited resources. He and Champa live in Durham, N.C.


Not Exactly Retired: A Life-Changing Journey on the Road and in the Peace Corps