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PLA Member Spotlights: ALA Annual Conference 2023

by on June 14, 2023

PLA will host over 20 programs and preconferences during the ALA Annual Conference, June 22–27, 2023, in Chicago. We couldn’t be more excited to hear from PLA members and public library professionals on topics ranging from outcome data and library impact, to mental health resources, to digital literacy, and many more. Read below about three PLA members from across the country who will be coming to Chicago as presenters at #ALAAC23 programs next weekend!

Cathy Crosthwaite, Deputy Director, Sacramento Public Library

Cathy Crosthwaite is the Deputy Director for the Sacramento Public Library, a 28-Branch system. During her ten years in public libraries, she has focused on volunteer coordination, partnership building, project planning, and the expansion and training of outreach efforts for all public service staff. She initiated the effort to bring all-electric vehicles to Sacramento’s Mobile Services team and is always looking for more ways to bring library services to more Sacramento area communities.

“In our program, ‘Understanding Community by the Numbers,’ my colleague Kelly Clark and I will share our methods of using GIS mapping and demographic data to plan targeted outreach efforts. The program will start with SPL’s outreach evolution and then show how we utilize community statistics to help each branch best reach and serve its past, current, and future patrons. I came to libraries after years of working in the private industry and like many of our patrons, rediscovered the public library. I am passionate about helping people better understand the value of this incredible community asset that so many of us take for granted.”

Melody Dworak, Librarian, Iowa City Public Library

Melody Dworak is a librarian at the Iowa City Public Library. In her role as digital selector, Melody is eager to chat with other Annual attendees about e-book and audiobook licensing, as well as maximizing return on investment for these expensive collections. She’s also interested in talking to librarians about using data analysis for collection management.

Melody’s “Accessible Digital Libraries: Navigating Audiobook Apps with Low-Vision Patrons” talk, co-presented with web developer Alyssa Hanson, asks who libraries will leave behind if they sunset compact disc collections. They argue that librarians need to look for assistive technology solutions in their back pocket, providing for a more equitable audiobook experience for low-vision patrons.

Laci Sheldon, Youth Services Director, McIntosh Memorial Library, Wisconsin

Laci Sheldon is the Youth Services Director at McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua, Wisconsin. McIntosh has been named “Library of the Year 2022” by the Wisconsin Library Association.

“I am beyond honored to advocate for my small and rural library at ALA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition! Along with colleague, Trina Erickson, I will deliver insights and inspirations in our program about how-to develop transformation within communities of any size. I feel incredibly fortunate to have spearheaded several initiatives in my own community that have received state-wide recognition. I have discovered how unique opportunities exist for small, rural libraries to be prominent agents of change given earnest and sincere networking with traditional, and sometimes nontraditional, organizations. Come to ‘Transforming Communities: A Rural Library’s Story‘ to freshen your perspectives on what small libraries have to offer! Because, after all, transformation never ends!”