Grace M. Jackson-Brown is a professor for research and instruction at Missouri State University Libraries in Springfield, Missouri. She is chairperson of the Springfield African American Read-In and recipient of the 2014 Zora Neale Hurston Award for promoting African American literature and the Educational Partnership Award of the NAACP Springfield Chapter. Her career spans more than twenty-five years as an academic librarian, much of it devoted to library outreach diversity programming. She holds a master’s degree in library and information management from Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, and a PhD in mass communication from Indiana University–Bloomington.
Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator. A graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, she is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, Carnegie’s Maid, The Other Einstein, and Lady Clementine. All have been translated into multiple languages. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family.
Victoria Christopher Murray is an acclaimed author with more than one million books in print. She has written more than twenty novels, including Stand Your Ground, an NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Fiction and a Library Journal Best Book of the Year. She holds an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business.
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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.