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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Can you “Help a Library Worker Out“? The EveryLibrary Institute is fundraising to support library workers, librarians, and staff who are facing unexpected financial difficulties because of the Coronavirus economic slowdown. As a national library 501c3 non-profit organization, the EveryLibrary Institute is in a unique position to quickly bring together donors from across the country and make grants to library workers who are part of our library family.