SLJ Summit 2022

SLJ Summit 2022

Friday, Nov 4 - Sunday, Nov 6 

Minneapolis, MN 55403


Join us November 4-6—live and in person—for the 2022 SLJ Summit: “Advocacy in Action.”

Convening in Minneapolis, MN, the Summit will assemble school library leaders and community stakeholders to consider the challenges and opportunities surrounding top issues, from intellectual freedom and student mental health to the American Rescue Plan, the largest one-time federal investment in education.


9/29/22 REGISTRATION UPDATE: Due to limited capacity, school librarians and school library leaders are being prioritized for the remaining seats at this event. We welcome all interested public librarians and other community stakeholders to join the waitlist by registering below, we will notify you on or before 10/13/22 if you are confirmed for the event. Thank you for your patience.

All registrations submitted prior to Sept. 29 are confirmed


Rooted in SLJ’s leading coverage at the convergence of K-12 and libraries, the Summit—now in its 18th year—welcomes the community to gather in an especially critical time for the profession, and the students and families that you serve.


Stimulating keynotes will provide touchpoints for discussion and engagement at the event and beyond. Award-winning author and founder of We Need Diverse Books, Ellen Oh will help kick off the Summit, and on Sunday we’ll glean insight and inspiration from K.C. Boyd, 2022 School Librarian of the Year. 


Over the two-day program:

  • Glean actionable advice on building relationships to fight censorship, with resources and specific actions to take before a book challenge is made.

  • Learn from the experts about ESSER funding opportunities for libraries, followed by an interactive workshop to help attendees develop related strategies to take to their communities and better integrate library services with district goals, including SEL.

  • Learn how to support student mental health through bibliocounseling, developed by a school librarian and social worker, with tips on leading book club discussions.

  • Celebrate books with a panel featuring Native American creators.


This year, attendees will get a chance to take the mic in lightning sessions, fast-paced five-minute presentations on a topic of their choice.


Got an idea to present at the SLJ Summit? Send us a proposal.


If you require an invoice or need information on group rates, please email us at


Attendance is open to those taking leadership in creating strong and effective school libraries.


By registering for this event, you are agreeing that Library Journal/School Library Journal may share your registration information with sponsors currently shown and future sponsors of this event. Click here to review our full Privacy Policy.

By registering for this event, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to Library Journal's Health & Safety Policy.

Interested In Sponsoring? Please contact Advertising Director Roy Futterman:


FRIDAY, NOV 4 - Pre Conference Events


3:00 - 5:00 PM Focus Groups


6:00 - 7:00 PM Cocktail Reception Sponsored by Mackin

LOCATION: Regency Ball Room (2nd Floor)





LOCATION: Boundary Waters (4th Floor)


9:45 AM Welcome

LOCATION: Great Lakes A,B &C (4th Floor)

Kathy Ishizuka, Editor in Chief, School Library Journal, Partnerships & Innovation Director Library Journal, School Library Journal

Randal Heise, Co-Owner, Mackin


10:00 - 10:30 AM Opening Keynote: ELLEN OH "Here There Be Activists"

School librarians are on the front lines fighting the battle against book bans, soft censorship, misinformation, and prejudice. Their role is more important than ever, says award-winning author, and co-founder of We Need Diverse Book, Ellen Oh. In this war to protect all of our children, we must all be activists fighting for a better future.

Ellen Oh, award-winning author of middle-grade and YA books, including Finding Junie Kim, The Dragon Egg Princess, and “The Spirit Hunters” series (HarperCollins/Harper); co-founder of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books


10:30 - 11:15 AM Fighting Back Against Censorship Strategies and Resources to Battle Book Bans 

This conversation about the censorship crisis facing school libraries and curriculum will center around advocacy and action–for the students, the library, and the classroom. The panel offers the perspective and expertise of those in the fight–a longtime school librarian, a teacher librarian who is also a school board member, an English teacher, and a representative of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. We will discuss how to build necessary relationships for support, how and why to report a complaint or challenge, what to do when the personal and professional impact these battles, and what resources are available to fend off challenges.

Elissa Malespina, Union High School Librarian 

Erika Long, Educator, Apple Teacher, Microsoft Innovative Educator

Gennella Graham, English teacher, Corinth High School, MS, member of NCTE Standing Committee Against Censorship

Moderated by Kara Yorio, Senior Editor, News, School Library Journal


11:15 - 11:35 PM BREAK - Visit Sponsors


11:35 - 11:55 AM Live with Pat Scales
In her popular SLJ column, “Scales on Censorship,” Pat Scales has been addressing reader  issues on  book challenges for over 10 years. The intellectual freedom advocate  takes the stage to field questions from the audience (and Twitter).

Pat R. Scales, former school librarian and former chair of ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee

Moderated by Becky Calzada, District Library Coordinator, Leander Independent School District 


11:55 AM - 12:40 PM I Can Do That: How Librarians Can Answer the Vision of ESSER Funding

Hear inspiring examples of how school districts and libraries have been able to align their strategic visions to the goals of the American Rescue Plan Act to receive federal ESSER funding (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) that helped transform programs, expanded services to students, and supported librarians’ professional growth.  You’ll get guidance on how your district can pursue federal, and other funding, too!  . Join in the conversation by posting your questions for the panel to a shared Google spreadsheet. Then, continue the conversation with your peers during  lunch (discussion prompts will be provided.)  The (optional) lunch conversation is perfect prep for the activity-based workshop that will follow where you’ll have the opportunity to start building a plan for seeking and receiving grant funds with guidance from our speakers. 

Heather Bassett, District Sales Manager, Gale; former Government Affairs Liaison and Policy Analyst, Albuquerque Public Schools

Deborah Froggatt, Director of Library Services, Boston Public Schools

Christy James, Library & Media Services, Charleston County  Schools

Jennifer Fritsch, Vice President, K12 Sales, Gale (introduction)


12:40 - 1:40 PM LUNCH




You Really Can Do it: Getting Started Planning for ESSER (and Other) Funding Opportunities

1:40 - 2:15 (Breakouts)

LOCATION: Great Lakes (4th floor)

2:15 - 2:30 (Facilitators’ Findings and Feedback)

Now that you’ve been inspired by how others have sought, received, and implemented federal funds in order to best support their school community, you’ll have the chance to begin to build your own plans for accessing and leveraging funds from the federal government and other sources. Your conversation about building support for and using funds will begin in small groups during lunch and continue afterwards. You will have the chance to ask the panelists about how they were able to access and utilize funds, consider language to use with different audiences when advocating for funding, and get advice and feedback from colleagues. You’ll leave the workshop with the beginnings of an action plan and be able to bring your ideas from the previous session to your own institution. 



Heather Bassett, District Sales Manager, Gale; former Government Affairs Liaison and Policy Analyst, Albuquerque Public Schools

Deborah Froggatt, Director of Library Services, Boston Public Schools

Christy James, Library & Media Services, Charleston County Schools

Linda Braun, Lead Facilitator, Learning Consultant



LOCATION: Lake Minnetonka (4th Floor)

A fast-paced tech session with award-winning library media specialist Karina Quilantan-Garza, also known online as Cue the Librarian. The interactive session will cover how to build relationships and tell our stories as a form of advocacy. Karina will help you explore embedded librarianship for a deeper understanding of defining our role as an instructional partner. She’ll explain how to build rapport with stakeholders to advocate for our profession. And she’ll lead you in ideas for leveraging technology and social media for community outreach and advocacy. 

Karina Quilantan-Garza, Middle School Library Media Specialist, Jaime Escalante Middle School


Manga 101

LOCATION: Lake Bedmiji (4th Floor)

In this session, you’ll learn about manga genres, major publishers, shelving and cataloging suggestions, and some programing ideas. You’ll also walk away with must-buy, tried-and-true series recommendations to get your collection started, as well as suggestions for newer series your readers will devour. Recommendations will include titles appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Sara Smith, Teacher-Librarian and Graphic Novel Reviewer, The Graphic Library


2:30 - 2:50 PM BREAK - Visit Sponsors


2:50 - 3:20 PM Teaching Media Literacy

K.C. Boyd, 2022 School Librarian of the Year, and News Literacy Project’s Shaelynn Farnsworth and Jill Hofmockel, will discuss strategies for teaching media literacy, along with lessons to help students identify misinformation.

K.C. Boyd, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Librarian and 2022 School Librarian of the Year

Shaelynn Farnsworth, Senior Director of Education Partnership Strategy, News Literacy Project

Melissa Thom, Teacher-Librarian, Bristow Middle School


3:20 - 4:15 PM Telling Our Stories: Native American Children’s Books Creators  

These indigenous artists chat about their creative processes and why accurate, lived-experience-driven Native books are important and necessary.

Dr. Brandon Hobson is a 2022 Guggenheim fellow. His short stories have won a Pushcart Prize and have appeared in The Best American Short Stories and McSweeney’s. He teaches creative writing at New Mexico State University and at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation tribe of Oklahoma. The Storyteller is his first book for young readers.

Dawn Quigley, Ph.D., author of Fancy Pants, her most recent “Jo Jo Makoons” (Heartdrum); citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, ND; educator and former Indian education program director.

Andrea L. Rogers, author of the forthcoming Man Made Monsters (Levine Querido); citizen of the Cherokee Nation; her stories have appeared in literary journals and several children’s literature anthologies.

Ari Tison, author of the debut novel Saints of the Household (Macmillan); Bribri (Indigenous Costa Rican) American- and African-descended poet and storyteller.

Moderated by Shelley Diaz, Reviews Editor, School Library Journal


4:15 - 5:00 PM Autographing Session

LOCATION: Great Lakes Lobby (4th Floor)



LOCATION: Boundary Waters (4th Floor)




7:45 - 8:30 AM BREAKFAST-Visit Sponsors 

LOCATION: Great Lakes (4th Floor)



LOCATION: Great Lakes (4th Floor)

Beth Brezenoff, Vice President of Publishing, Capstone Publishing


8:45 - 9:15 AM|OPENING KEYNOTE: K.C. BOYD: “We Gonna Be Alright”

The Washington, DC, public schools librarian and 2022 School Librarian of the Year, K.C. Boyd will address the obstacles faced by school librarians–from the disrespect of administrators and job threats to national book challenges–and how she and her peers have met the moment with grace, dexterity, and tenacity. She will speak about her advocacy, successes, and lessons learned along the way in a keynote that will inspire hope and a little more hard work.

Speaker: K.C. Boyd, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Librarian and 2022 School Librarian of the Year


9:15 - 10:00 AM|Town Hall with Tuscaloosa Superintendent Dr. Mike Daria 

When Mike Daria became superintendent of Tuscaloosa City Schools, one-third of third-graders in the system could not read. He soon learned that libraries didn’t have what kids needed – and the focus was on instruction, not a culture of loving to read. In this town hall discussion, Mike will share the details of the listening tour he conducted to understand and, ultimately, address the literacy gap in his school system, and he’ll share the way it elevated librarians’ voices in his administration. He’ll share how the district now uses innovative approaches to funding its initiatives, including ESSER funds to purchase books and other sources of funding to bring its programs beyond schools and into the community. Following Mike’s introduction to his system's work, the audience will be invited to join in a town hall discussion to problem solve issues librarians face, and he’ll spend time explaining how to “speak administrator.”

Dr. Mike Daria, Superintendent, Tuscaloosa City Schools

Introduced by Kathleen Paur, Vice President Content Sales, Follett

Moderated by Kara Yorio, Senior Editor, News, School Library Journal


10:00 - 10:20 AM BREAK - Visit Sponsors


10:20 - 11:05 AM|Books and Student Well-Being 

Overwhelming factors—from COVID-19 and climate change, to school safety and social media—have added pressure to young peoples’ lives and call for greater  mental health support.  Award-winning Author Ellen Oh joins school librarian IdaMae Craddock and school counselor Ouida Powe to discuss how authentic portrayals of mental health in children’s literature and greater awareness can help students during these times. Oh will also address the urgent need to destigmatize mental health issues among young people, while Craddock and Powe will describe their work developing a bibliotherapy program, facilitating student dialog about books through conversation or written exchange, and adding QR codes to books pointing to mental health resources. 

IdaMae Craddock, Librarian, Community Lab School, an Albemarle County Public Schools charter school, Charlottesville, VA

Ouida Powe, Higher Ed Professional Specializing in Enrollment Management, College Access and Success

Ellen Oh, Award-winning author of middle-grade and YA books, including Finding Junie Kim, The Dragon Egg Princess, and “The Spirit Hunters” series (HarperCollins/Harper); co-founder of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books

Moderated by Kimberly Fakih, Senior Editor, Picture Books, School Library Journal


11:05 AM - 11:50 AM Lightning Sessions 

Attendees take the mic in these crowd-sourced sessions—fast-paced, five-minute presentations on a topic submitted in advance by audience members.

Christopher Harris, Genesee Valley (NY) BOCES
“Libraries. Today...Tomorrow”

Courtney Park, Howard Connect Academy, TN
“Power in Presentation: EOY Reports”

Gina Seymour, Islip (NY) High School
“Grounding our Students: A Wellness Collaboration between School Librarian and School Social Workers”

 Kristen Jacobson, Glenbrook South High School, IL
“Using surveys and focus groups to foster inclusion and equity in the Library”

Kristina Holzweiss, Syosset (NY) High School
“School Library Advocacy on the Homefront”

Tom Bober, Clayton (MO) School District
“5 Ways to Highlight Your Elementary Nonfiction in 5 Minutes”

 Lucas Maxwell, Glenthorne High School, London, UK
“Let’s Roll: Why You Should Be Playing Dungeons & Dragons in Your School Library”

Moderated by Cicely Lewis, 2021 School Librarian of the Year, founder of Read Woke


11:50 AM Closing Remarks






K.C. Boyd is currently a school librarian with the District of Columbia Public Schools System.  She has previously worked as the Lead Librarian for the East St. Louis School District #189 in East St. Louis, IL., a Area Library Coordinator for Chicago Public Schools and a District  Coordinator for the Mayor Daley Book Club for Middle School Students. She is a second generation educator and holds Master’s degrees in Library Information Science, Media Communications, and Education Leadership. Boyd is a National Ambassador representing the Washington D.C. area for Checkology Virtual Classroom and The News Literacy Project. She is currently the 2022 School Library Journal “Librarian of the Year.” A staunch advocate for school libraries, she is widely known and respected for her work with educating parents, teachers, and district officials on promoting leisure reading for children and teens. It is K.C. Boyd’s belief that all children, despite economic circumstance, have the right to read and should have access to books that reflect themselves and encourage inquiry.  She can be reached through her website:


Originally from New York City, Ellen Oh is a former adjunct college instructor and lawyer with an insatiable curiosity for ancient Asian history. She is an award-winning author of the middle grade novels Finding Junie Kim, Dragon Egg Princess, The Spirit Hunters, and its sequel, Island of the Monsters, and the YA fantasy trilogy The Prophecy Series: Prophecy, Warrior, and King (HarperCollins). She is the editor of WNDB’s middle grade anthology Flying Lessons and Other Stories, and the YA anthology A Thousand Beginnings and Endings. She is also a cofounder of We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diversity in children's literature. Ellen Oh lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her husband, three young adult children, two dogs, and has yet to satisfy her quest for a decent bagel. You can visit her online at


Heather Bassett is currently serving Albuquerque Public Schools as Government Affairs Liaison and Policy Analyst, enjoying the birds-eye-view of schools after spending almost twenty years in the high school social studies classroom and library. She holds a PhD from the University of New Mexico so she thinks research is fun and dreams of schools where all learners pursue their passions. She is a mother of three young adults who always make her day when they read a book or share an outdoor adventure with her.

Tom Bober is a school librarian, 2018 Library Journal Mover and Shaker, former Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress, and author of two books, Building News Literacy as well as his earlier title Elementary Educator's Guide to Primary Sources. He writes the Picture Book and Primary Sources blog posts for AASL’s KQ blog and hosts The Primary Source Podcast. Tom works with students and educators to promote the love of literacy, information literacy, and historical literacy.  
Linda W. Braun is the principal of LEO. Over the past 25 years she has provided project management, planning and evaluation, training, and consulting services to a variety of organizations. She is experienced in the management of large-scale multi-state projects and in the facilitation of ongoing virtual communities of practice.  Her clients include state, regional, and local libraries and non-profits. Linda has a Masters of Science Degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons University and a Masters of Education from Lesley University.  

Beth Brezenoff, Vice President of Publishing, Capstone Publishing


A 22 year veteran of Albemarle County Public Schools, IdaMae Craddock, M.Ed, is the librarian at Albemarle County’s Lab School. Winner of the Magna Award from the National Association of School Boards and Virginia's 2019 Librarian of the Year, her publishing credits include School Library Makerspaces in Action, Library Technology Report, School Library Connections and School Library Journal. Her research focuses on maker education and emerging technologies in libraries. She has a precocious daughter, an understanding husband, and a lazy dog named Peacha.


Mike Daria serves as the superintendent of the Tuscaloosa City Schools. The school system has 11,000 students and is located in Tuscaloosa. Prior to becoming superintendent in 2016, Daria served as an English teacher, assistant principal, principal, human resources director, and assistant superintendent. Daria graduated from The University of Alabama with a doctorate in educational leadership. He earned his National School Superintendents Certification from the American Association of School Administrators in 2019. Daria serves on various local agencies such as the Tuscaloosa Education Foundation and Junior Achievement of Tuscaloosa.


Shaelynn Farnsworth is the News Literacy Project’s senior director of education partnership strategy. Shaelynn has over 20 years of experience in education. She spent the first part of her career as a high school English teacher in Conrad, Iowa, where she reimagined teaching and learning in her classroom and became a leader in the convergence between literacy and technology. Shaelynn focused on developing student skills in information consumption, creating innovative ways for students to demonstrate understanding, and inspiring healthy skepticism in the digital age. She was recruited by a regional state education agency in Iowa, where she was a school improvement consultant for seven years. Shaelynn supported districts throughout Iowa in the areas of literacy, technology, AIW, and systemic change. She was a member of the state’s literacy, social studies, and technology leadership teams. Shaelynn holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English from the University of Northern Iowa.


Jennifer Fritsch has spent the last 24 years working to support K12 libraries and librarians all across North America. She is currently the Vice President of K12 Schools for Gale. During her tenure with Gale, she has partnered with local schools and districts, state level agencies, government and military entities, and US embassies around the world to positively impact all learners. She resides just north of Houston, Texas, is married to her extremely funny husband, Hans, and is the proud mother of Taylor and Caroline – young adult working women making their own positive impact.


Dr. Deborah Lang Froggatt is the newly retired Boston Public Schools Director of Library Services. A seventeen year veteran of BPS, she directed Boston Arts/Academy Fenway High School Library for the first nine. Her school library career and equitable access to them spans 25 years at elementary, middle and high school. Dr. Froggatt earned a BA in history from Miami University, an MA in  Education from Princeton Theological Seminary, an MLS from Southern Connecticut State University and a Ph.D from the Graduate school of Library Science at Simmons College. Research foci include the informationally underserved and school librarian performance evaluations for improved practice and advocacy for student access to effect school library programs.


Gennella Graham teaches AICE English Language (11th) and IGCSE First Language English (9th) at Corinth High School in Corinth, Mississippi. She has been a teacher for 23 years and started working with NCTE Standing Committee Against Censorship a year ago. Serving on this committee has taught her the importance of student voice and having choice. She credits her love for education to her mom who passed away before fulfilling her dream of becoming an educator, yet instilled that dream in her daughter. Gennella Graham is engaged to Jason Texada of Oxford, Mississippi, and plans to marry in July of 2023.


Dr. Christopher Harris is the Director of the School Library System for the Genesee Valley BOCES, an educational services agency supporting the libraries of 22 small, rural districts in Western NY. He was a participant in the first American Library Association Emerging Leaders program in 2007 and was honored as a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2008. In 2022, Dr. Harris was named a Senior Fellow for the American Library Association for school libraries and youth policy issues. In 2021, Dr. Harris became the project lead for the Libraries.Today IMLS National Leadership Grant. Dr. Harris received his Ed.D. from St. John Fisher College in 2018 with dissertation research on helping teachers become more confident teaching computer science. He is the author of numerous books on gaming and technology from Rosen Publishing.  

Randal Heise, Co-Owner, Mackin

Brandon Hobson is the author of four books for adults, including the acclaimed novel The Removed and the National Book Award finalist Where the Dead Sit Talking. In 2022 he was chosen as a Guggenheim fellow. He teaches creative writing at New Mexico State University and at the Institute of American Indian Arts and is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation Tribe of Oklahoma. Dr. Hobson lives in New Mexico with his wife and two kids.  

Kristen Holzweiss, Ed Tech Librarian, Syosset High School and 2015 SLJ School Librarian of the Year

Kristen Jacobson has been a high school librarian for 24 years and is also a PhD candidate in instructional technology. She is passionate about making library spaces, services, and resources usable and accessible to everyone.  

Christy James, MLIS, is the district library and media services coordinator for Charleston County School District. Prior to that she was a middle school librarian and classroom teacher for 20 years. She earned a bachelor's in Secondary Social Studies & Reading Education from Drake University and a master's in Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina. Christy James was selected as a member of ALA’s Policy Cohort 4. She's been recognized as a 2020 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Innovator and the 2018 F. William Summers Outstanding Alumni Award from the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina. Christy is passionate about equity and access and advocating for and promoting the value of school librarians.


Erika Long, MSIS, is a certified school librarian, currently serving as a consultant and library advocate. Erika is secretary/treasurer of AASL, was past president of Tennessee Library Association, and serves in ALA governance. She has guest blogged and co-authored the “Equity” chapter in Core Values in School Librarianship: Responding with Commitment and Courage (Libraries Unlimited 2021). Connect with her on Twitter @erikaslong and Instagram @notyomamaslibrarian.


Elissa Malespina is a school librarian and school board member from NJ. She is also a 2022 Library Journal Mover and Shaker and a 2022 Top 100 EdTech Influencers.

Raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, Lucas Maxwell has been working with youth in libraries for fifteen years. He is currently the librarian at Glenthorne High School in south London, UK. In 2017 he was named the UK's School Librarian of the Year by the School Library Association. In 2022 he won the UK's Teaching Champion Award by the UK Literacy Association. He is a writer and D&D Dungeon Master. His book "Let's Roll, Starting a Table Top Role Playing Game in Your Library" will be published by Facet in March 2023.  
Courtney Park is a Teacher Librarian, Howard Connect Academy Courtney Park has recently returned to the USA after being a librarian for 15 years in international schools around the world. She's settled in beautiful Chattanooga, TN - for now - and works at a new and innovative middle school on the south side. Courtney has served on the Leadership team for the Educational Collaborative for International Schools Library Team, and is currently representing her county's librarians on the Superintendent's Cabinet. She loves being a librarian, building Expert Lego sets, and exploring the world with her husband and their beautiful adopted daughter. You can follow her on Twitter at @parklibrarian.  

Ouida Powe is the school counselor for middle and high school students at the Community Lab School (Charlottesville, VA). Prior to accepting the post at the Lab School, she was a school counselor at Burley Middle School (Charlottesville, VA) for three years. Many years before Burley, she served as the International Baccalaureate (IB) Counselor and Counseling Chair at Eastside High School (Gainesville, FL), a well-decorated IB school at the time. The years between her School Counseling posts at Eastside and Burley were filled with various positions in postsecondary education in Gainesville and Jacksonville, Florida. As a higher ed professional, Ouida invested most of her time assisting students and families with the college search, application, and matriculation processes. After years of serving in various departments, she turned her attention to training professionals in the state of Florida who serve high school students before and during the transitions associated with postsecondary study.

Kathleen Paur, Vice President Content Sales, Follett  

Dawn Quigley is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, North Dakota. The first book in her Jo Jo Makoons (Heartdrum) chapter book series was selected as a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and American Indians in Children’s Literature, and received five starred reviews; it was also chosen as a Charlotte Huck Award Honor Book. Her debut YA novel, Apple in the Middle (North Dakota State University Press), was awarded an American Indian Youth Literature Honor. She is a PhD, education, university faculty member, and a former K–12 reading and English teacher, as well as Indian Education program codirector. You can find her online at

Karina Quilantan-Garza, or Mrs. Q. as her students like to call her, is an award-winning librarian, international and keynote presenter, and instructional designer from the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Her love for library media and edtech has allowed her to expand her library programs beyond the classroom and she loves finding innovative ways to keep her students and staff engaged in the learning process. When she isn’t saving the world one book at a time, she can be found connecting with educators on Twitter via @cuethelibrarian.  

Andrea L. Rogers is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and graduated with an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Her stories have appeared in several literary journals. In 2020, she published Mary and the Trail of Tears: A Cherokee Removal Survival Story (Capstone). Her work has also appeared in You Too? 25 Voices Share Their #METoo Stories (Inkyard Press), Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids (Heartdrum), and the anthology Allies (DK Children). Her picture book called, When We Gather, is forthcoming (Heartdrum).

Pat Scales is a retired middle and high school librarian in Greenville, South Carolina. She has also served as adjunct instructor of children’s and YA literature at Furman University (Greenville, SC), and has been a guest lecturer at universities across the nation. A first amendment advocate, she is a former chair of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, serves on the Board of Advisors of the National Coalition against Censorship, and is a Trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation. She is a past president of the Association of Library Service to Children and received the association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2011. She chaired the 1992 Newbery Award Committee, the 2003 Caldecott Award Committee, and the 2001 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award Committee. She writes for Book Links magazine and writes a bi-monthly column “Scales on Censorship” for School Library Journal. She is the author of Teaching Banned Books: 32 Guides for Children and Teens (ALA Editions); Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your School Library  (ALA Editions); Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books (ALA Editions); Defending Frequently Challenged Young Adult Books (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers); and Encourage Reading from the Start (ALA Editions).  
Author and national speaker, Gina Seymour is the library media specialist at Islip High School on Long Island (NY). Gina was named to Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers (2017) list as a “Change Agent” and named a 2019 AASL Social Media Superstar Finalist in the category of Social Justice Defender. She is author of Makers with a Cause: Creative Service Projects for Library Youth and numerous chapters and articles on the maker movement, compassionate making and inclusive makerspaces. Gina has served on numerous committees for ALA and YALSA and is an Adjunct Professor at St. John’s University (NY).  Gina shares her work, musings and reflections on her blog and on Twitter @ginaseymour.  
Sara Smith is about to start her 9th year as a high school Teacher Librarian of a rural district in California.  Previously, she taught English for 6 years. Her passion for manga began early in life when she was introduced to manga in junior high. Her 20,000+ book library collection currently includes over 3000 Graphic Novels including comic books, manga, and graphic literature. The section enjoys wide circulation amongst my students. When she's not feverishly reading and writing for The Graphic Library, you can catch her reviewing manga for Booklist Magazine.  

Melissa Thom, MA, (she/her) is a teacher librarian at Bristow Middle School in West Hartford, CT. She is the President of the Connecticut Association of School Librarians (CASL), and was a 2019 AASL Social Media Superstar Reader Leader finalist. Melissa was awarded the 2021 Outstanding Professional Award by the UCONN NEAG Alumni Board, and most recently was named a library journal mover and shaker. Her publications include an article in the School library journal about Makerspace and NGSS also known as the (next generation science standards), as well as an article in the October 2019 issue of School Library Connection entitled, Create a Culture of Reading.


Ari Tison is a Bribri (Indigenous Costa Rican) American- and African-descended poet and storyteller. Currently, she is the annual broadside editor for Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, where she gets to collaborate with the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts to bring incarcerated voices into the world. Saints of the Household (Macmillan) is her debut novel.  
A life-long Texas educator, Becky Calzada is a District Library Coordinator in Leander ISD which is located NW of Austin, Texas. Becky was recently selected to the fourth ALA Policy Corps cohort of library professionals dedicated to advocacy. She is also a member of the ALA Intellectual Freedom committee, an advisory member for The ALA Center for the Future of Libraries Advisory Group, on the Legislative Committee for TxLA, Past Chair for the TxASL, and co-founder of #FReadom Fighters. Becky can be followed on Twitter @becalzada.  

Formerly at BookOps, technical services for New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library, Shelley Diaz is the reviews editor at School Library Journal. She has worked in several areas of publishing, including stints at Penguin Young Readers and Scholastic, and was formerly a children’s and YA selector at BookOps, technical services for New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library. She currently adjuncts at Queens College, where she teaches young adult literature to future librarians.


Kimberly Olson Fakih is Senior Editor, Picture Books, at SLJ. In addition to being the children's book review editor at Kirkus Reviews from 1995-2000, she was the senior editor at, and executive books editor at iVillage. Her novel, Little Miseries, will be out in early 2023.  
Kathy Ishizuka is Editor in Chief of School Library Journal and directs partnerships and innovation for both SLJ and sister publication Library Journal. She has served on the board of trustees of the Freedom to Read Foundation (two terms) and the board of directors of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). In her partnership work, Ishizuka has spearheaded co-productions with NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English), the Children’s Book Council, Facing History & Ourselves, and We Need Diverse Books. She was named among FOLIO's Top Women in Media in 2019, A member of the Asian American Journalists Association and the Society of Professional Journalists, Ishizuka is a graduate of AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program. She has also served on the board of the National Forum on Libraries & Teens.  
Cicely Lewis, 2020 SLJ School Librarian of the Year, is an author and the media specialist at Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, GA. She launched Read Woke in 2017 in response to the shootings of young unarmed black people, the repeal of DACA, and the lack of diversity in YA lit. When she is not reading, you can find Cicely writing for her bi-monthly column in the School Library Journal where she shares her book recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @cicelythegreat or check out her blog CicelytheGreat.  
Kara Yorio, Senior Editor, News, School Library Journal  

Platinum Sponsors  





Gold Sponsors


Silver Sponsors








We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing