ESRT: Events


2022 NYLA Annual Conference

ESRT Sponsored Programs:

Combating Racism
Date: Thursday, November 3, 1:45 - 3:00 pm @ Broadway 1
Speakers: Kacper Jarecki, Queens Public Library; Tracy Allen, Middletown Thrall Library; Kelly Yim, New York Public Library & Jo-Ann Wong, New York Public Library
The Combatting Racism in Libraries webinar series was co-created by ESRT and PLS. This series was conducted virtually, and organized as several roundtable discussions with colleagues and experts in each session's topic. Topics that were covered included how race and racism affect our workplace, collection development, authors and stories, programming, creating community, and ESOL classrooms.

Reinventing Ethnic Library Services
Date: Thursday, November 4, 8:30 - 9:45 am @ Saratoga B3
Speakers: Fred Gitner, Queens Public Library; Tracy Allen, Middletown Thrall Library; Kelly Yim, New York Public Library & Jo-Ann Wong, New York Public Library
Since the library closing, the New Americans Program at Queens Public Library has fulfilled an important role in serving immigrant communities in Queens and elsewhere through a variety of virtual programs and services, including coping skills workshops, cultural programs, citizenship and immigration legal assistance, ESOL classes, census promotion and partnerships with other organizations.  The Combatting Racism in Libraries webinar series was co-created by ESRT and PLS. This series was conducted virtually, and organized as several roundtable discussions with colleagues and experts in each session's topic. Topics that were covered included how race and racism affect our workplace, collection development, authors and stories, programming, creating community, and ESOL classrooms.

Utica, NY: Views of Refugee Revitalization from a Documentary Filmmaker and a Journalist and Author
Date: Thursday, November 3, 4 - 5:15 pm @ Saratoga B3
Speakers: Susan Hartman, Journalist & Author, "City of Refugees" & Loch Phillipps, Director, "Utica: The Last Refuge"
"Utica: The Last Refuge" is a documentary film that tells the story of an upstate NY city that stands as a successful example of refugee resettlement; a story with many players- the refugees themselves, the agency that resettles them and the local residents who welcome them as our Newest Americans. "City of Refugees" is a recently published book that shows how an influx of refugees helped revive Utica, New York by telling the stories of three refugees who arrived from Somalia, Bosnia and Iraq, put down roots in a new city and worked to join their past and present to create a new life.

In this panel presentation including excerpts from the 2021 documentary, and from the stories told to the author, you will learn about the difficulties refugees face, the hopes and fears they bring with them and how they are helping to revitalize cities like Utica and others around the country.  Libraries, school, public and academic, can all play a role in the acculturation process.

Combating Racism in Libraries Webinar Series 2022

In collaboration with NYLA's Public Library Services (PLS) and IDEAS (Instruction, Development, Equity, and Access Section), we presented a five-part webinar series, "Combating Racism in Libraries: Creating Spaces to Educate and Inform Our Communities" from May 11 - June 8, 2022. The goal of the series is for libraries and library staff to learn, share, and discuss the historical and present day barriers that communities are facing regarding racism. 




Combating Racism in Libraries Webinar Series

In collaboration with NYLA's Public Library Services (PLS), we presented the six-part webinar series, "Combating Racism in Libraries: Creating Spaces to Educate and Inform Our Communities" from September 16 - October 21, 2020. The goal of the series is for libraries and library staff to learn, share, and discuss the historical and present day barriers that communities are facing regarding racism against the Black community. We hope you’ll join us to learn how we can combat racism together and create spaces for our communities to listen, learn, and grow.

Community and Communication in the Dialogue on American Racism - Past, Present & Future
The webinar series kicks off with a discussion of the cultural barriers that hamper many Americans from seeing how race and racism function in the United States, and explore strategies for breaking down those barriers and promoting greater racial equity and inclusivity among native-born and new Americans alike.
Speakers: Andrew Jackson, Chenthu Jayachandiran
Moderator: David Nochimson

Using Collection Development and Readers Advisory to Introduce Race Relations
Libraries are integral parts of helping community members shape their perspectives. As such, it is imperative that our methods for collection development and reader's advisory acknowledges the diversity of our society, thereby continuing to create empathy in our communities. During this discussion, we will talk about strategies and techniques that will be useful in developing collections without bias and personal prejudice.
Speakers: Robin Bradford, Becky Spratford
Moderator: Shauntee Burns
Host: Jo-Ann Wong

Inclusive Programming - Every Race, Every Month
We can all acknowledge and recognize the critical need for access to library and information resources, services, and technologies by all people, especially those in the BIPOC community. Underrepresented patrons may experience issues which limit their full, beneficial use of the library. Some of these issues may stem from a lack of full representation in important aspects of library programming. Our panelists will discuss how better to include EDI in library programming.
Speakers: Rose Dawson, Novella Ford, Shakira Smalls
Moderator: Kelly Yim

I Write about Race - a panel discussion
In our daily lives, we are often confronted with matters concerning race, but are not always given the language to articulate these concepts. Presenters of this panel discussion will talk about the need to write, publish, and supply books that honestly discuss race and racism. How can books be used to facilitate difficult dialogue?
Speakers: Jennifer Brown, Toni Coleman Brown, Dr. Ron Daniels
Moderator: Toni Coleman Brown

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in Human Resources & Microaggressions in the Workplace
In the workplace, implicit bias and microaggressions can inform our relations with our co-workers. To create a more equitable workforce, we need to better understand the implicit biases and barriers that are in place for many workers, including minorities and New Americans. As such, our panelists will discuss how all Americans can benefit from enacting EDI education and support in our work spaces. They will talk about their experiences, and offer tools and solutions that will help in creating a more inclusive and equitable workforce.
Speakers: Cici Holloway, Tamara King
Moderator: Manny Figueroa

Teaching Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and American Culture in ESOL Classrooms
In ESOL classrooms and courses, American culture is often used as a backdrop to learn a new language. However, in today's current climate, it is impossible to teach about and use American culture in the ESOL classroom without addressing race. In ESOL classrooms, this dynamic becomes more delicate, as we talk about race in relations to movements like Black Lives Matter, and also the discrimination that immigrants face on a daily basis. Our panelists will discuss how matters of race are addressed both in the classroom setting, and also at the professional development level for teachers.
Speakers: Andrea Honigsfeld, Shenzhan Liao
Moderator: Jo-Ann Wong

2020 NYLA Annual Conference

ESRT Sponsored Programs:

Developing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Training for Library Staff
Date: Thursday, November 5, 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Speakers: Manuel Figueroa, Queens Public Library; Jamia Williams, University of Rochester, Edward G. Miner Library; & Grace Riario, Ramapo Catskill Library System
Equity, diversity, and inclusion training for library staff has emerged as a critical strategy to develop the workforce of the future and for maximizing the performance of current staff. A successful EDI program seeks to meaningfully engage staff in an effort to create a workplace culture that is affirming, representative, and inclusive. Cultural competency is not an intuitive skill, and it requires ongoing diversity training at all levels to learn and develop the skills and comfort level needed in working with other cultures. EDI training serves to educate staff about how to work collaboratively with people from different backgrounds and to raise awareness regarding privilege, unconscious bias, and social justice. Panelists will present how their institutions have implemented equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) training for employees and share what they have learned in the process.


Refugee and Immigrant Experience in Comics
Date: On-Demand Program
Speakers: Jo-Ann Wong, Queens Public Library
In libraries, we daily encounter refugees and immigrants as patrons, who view the library as a safe space. However, the political climate has sparked fear towards these groups. Libraries can inspire empathy and understanding towards New Americans, by providing and merchandising comics that document their experiences. Libraries also can assist in affirming New Americans’ intersectional identities by purchasing comics in other languages besides English, and ones that reflect their past and present experiences. In addition, with many ESOL Conversation Groups operating virtually, these sessions can benefit from utilizing comics.

Serving New Immigrants Beyond the Basics
Date: On-Demand Program
Speakers: Indira Mukherjee, Queens Public Library & Adriana Blancarte-Hayward, New York Public Library
Migrating to a different country itself is an overwhelming and challenging process where people have to deal with diverse cultures, perhaps a new language. Finding basic help during this difficult time can make a meaningful difference in an immigrant family’s life. Public libraries are there to provide them with the necessary information, programs, and services to build new connections and start a new life.  The participatory session explores different strategies of library services that are not limited to finding other languages books or ESOL  classes for all ages or bilingual story hour for kids but taking it further with programs like driving classes and book clubs in different languages, introducing snacks from different countries and more.

Co-Sponsored Programs:

Build Your Own Diverse Coalition
Date: Friday, November 6, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Speakers: Emily Dowie, Pearl River Public Library; Jen Park, Ramapo Catskill Library System; Joanna Goldfarb, Ramapo Catskill Library System; Peyton Powell, Finkelstein Memorial Library; Sandra Echols, NYBLC; and Grace Riario, Ramapo Catskill Library System
The RCLS Coalition for Librarians of Color was created to bring together library workers of color from the Ramapo Catskill Library System. People of color in RCLS had long felt ignored, dismissed, and discriminated against. The points of actions of this coalition are as follows: to form a mentorship program to encourage support staff to become librarians; for group members to talk to directors, friends groups, and leaders at the system level about libraries sponsoring workers to go to library school; promoting diversity, social justice and undoing racism workshops for library staff; and making our presence felt at events like NYLA Advocacy Day to show legislators and others that diverse voices within librarianship are a force to be reckoned with. Despite the inevitable backlash against some members from supervisors and administrators, the support network forged by this coalition has been invaluable. Librarianship is overwhelmingly white. Librarians and support staff of color find ourselves faced with constant micro-aggressions in the library world. The only way to protect ourselves and pave the way for future generations is to form a powerful coalition of diverse voices.


Congrats! You're a Prison Librarian - Now What?
Date: On-Demand Program
Speaker: Andrea Snyder, Pioneer Library System
A panel of correctional facility librarians will share their experiences and how they are able to succeed at their job. Topics will include but are not limited to collection development, working with other facility staff, and programming. Leave the session feeling re-energized and ready to tackle the daily challenges that come with working in a correctional facility.

Diversity Audit Academic Library Special Collection
Date: On-Demand Program
Speakers: Tiffany Davis, Mount Saint May College
It is well known that the publishing industry is not representative of the diversity in our communities today. The 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey by Lee & Low Books revealed that the publishing workforce is overwhelmingly white, with 79% of respondents indicating that they were white/Caucasian. This lack of representation factors into which titles and authors are selected to be published, and trickles in to influence the diversity of our collections. We must, therefore, be cognizant of these issues when selecting and evaluating our collections. Previously the librarians at Mount Saint Mary College tried to tackle issues of insensitive and inaccurate representation of different groups as we became aware of them. It wasn’t until 2019 after completing Library Journal’s online course about diversity auditing did we consider a more systematic approach. We developed our own strategy for auditing for diversity, beginning with the Curriculum Material Center’s juvenile fiction collection.

Information and Media Literacy Skills for High School Students
Date: On-Demand Program
Speakers: Elizabeth Hartnett, Oneida Herkimer Madison BOCES; Janice Murray, Oneida Hermiker Madison BOCES; Kelly Moses, Marcellus High School; & Roma Matott, Tilton School, House of Good Shepherd
Information and media literacy are critically needed for high school students. We will show how one librarian used an online course on the freedom of information to teach these critical skills to students.

Library Closures: Representing the Unpresented 
Date: Friday, November 6, 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Speakers: Larissa Larrier, Brooklyn Public Library - East Flatbush
Capital improvements to aging public libraries are necessary for the integration of new services and features. Preparations for branch closures include the presence of bookmobiles but overlook the need for interim library spaces. Join the branch manager of the East Flatbush Library as she shares strategies to engage library administration in the planning of temporary library locations, discuss ways to advocate about broader community partnerships, and offer examples of spaces.


Pathways to Professional Diversity Through Library Internships
Date: Friday, November 6, 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Speakers: Cassie Guthrie, Greece Public Library & Andrea Snyder, Pioneer Library System
The Public Library Association’s (PLA) Inclusive Internship Initiative (III) offers paid, summer-long internships to high school students at their local public library. Over the course of the summer, each intern works with a library mentor on a community-based learning project. Through III, students from diverse backgrounds are introduced to careers in librarianship, library mentors practice leadership skills, and host libraries grow new audiences through outreach and programming. We believe this initiative can and should be adapted for New York State through the New York Library Association.





2019 NYLA Annual Conference

Cross-Cultural Communicators in Libraries
Date: Friday, November 15, 2019 at 11:00 am
Speakers: Mimi Lee, New Jersey State Library & Fred Gitner, Queens Library
This IMLS funded project will train Spanish-speaking bilingual library staff in communication effectiveness through interpreter training. Participants will complete webinars in cultural competence and a workshop teaching in interpretation skills. Learn about project goals and results to date.


LGBTQ+ Culture: Decoding the Alphabet Soup
Date: Friday, November 15, 2019 at 2:15 pm
Speaker: Jennifer Stickles, Olean Public Library
Want to be an ally but lack knowledge about the Queer community? This crash course on LGBTQQIP2SAA Culture will help. Yes, we'll explain what that stands for too.


Documenting the Immigrant Story Through Oral Histories and Images
Date: Friday, November 15, 2019 at 3:45 pm
Speakers: Natalie Milbrodt, Queens Library & Taina Evans, Brooklyn Public Library
Collecting stories and documenting narratives of new immigrants presents many challenges. In this presentation, we will learn about Brooklyn Public Library's Our Streets, Our Stories Oral History Project and the Queens Memory Project at Queens Library.


Does Your Story Match Your Data?
Date: Friday, November 15, 2019 at 3:45 pm
Speakers: Robert Drake, Nassau Library System & Grace Riario, Ramapo Catskill Library System
Library supporters and critics alike use data to back their advocacy messages. This program explores what data offers the strongest arguments or biggest concerns for library messaging.


Let's Talk 2030!
Date: Friday, November 15, 2019 at 3:45 pm
Join the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries and other library leaders for a discussion of the next steps in creating a sustainable future for library services in New York State.


Date: Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 9:30 am
Speakers: Thomas Vitale, Patterson Library; Valerie Acklin, Bellmore Memorial Library & Morgan Hoag, Albany Public Library
Burning to ask any question about the LGBTQIA experience in a library? Whether it's about staff, users, programs or collections you can ask us - no holds bar.


Role of Librarians in College Readiness
Date: Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 9:30 am
Speakers: Christi Sommerfeldt, Northern New York Library Network; Carl Andrews, Bronx Community College; Melissa Balk, Thousand Islands High School; Leanne Ellis, New York City Department of Education & Stephanie Pritchard, SUNY Oswego
The panel will discuss how school, public, and academic librarians can successfully work together to bridge information literacy gaps between high school and college, thereby supporting student success.


Share Your Story: Community Data and Conversation
Date: Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 9:30 am
Speakers: Jennifer Garcon, University of Pennsylvania & Piper Anderson, Create Forward, New York University
This two-part session focuses on engaging with our communities - exploring cultural community data preservation and how libraries can drive/generate conversation in their neighborhood.


Getting "Hard-to-Count" Immigrant Communities Counted in Census 2020
Date: Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 11 am
Speakers: Jeffrey Lambert, Quees Library; Davis Erin Anderson, Metropolitan New York Library Council; Greta Byrum, Digital Equity Laboratory; Jeff Behler, NY Regional Office, U.S. Census Bureau
A panel of professionals from government, non-profit, and library organizations will present strategies for addressing how public libraries can assist people living in "Hard-to-Count" immigrant communities to be counted in the 2020 census.




2018 NYLA Annual Conference

Literacy Success for the Entire Family
Speakers: Wilma Glover-Koomson, Haverstraw King's Daughters Public Library & Rosa Diaz, Lincoln Branch, Rochester Library
Most ESL programs follow universal-type curicula that does not always meet the economic and cultural needs of experiences of the individual. Explore hands-on, and effective programs that engage parents and children.
Program Materials


Serving Refugees: Working Together as a Community
Speakers: Evanna DiSalvo, Maplewood Community Library
Maplewood Community Library collaborates with various community partners that serve refugees. Learn about the many programs and services that are available in the Rochester area for that vulnerable population.


Wall Art: Brought to You by the Friends
Speakers: Patricia Loughan, Friends of the Plattsburgh Public Library; Bruce Tehan, Arnett Branch Library & Richmond Futch Jr., Arnett Branch Library
What a difference a mural can make, especially when it is designed and created together with your community! The Plattsburgh Public Library and the Arnett Branch of the Rochester Public Library teamed up with numerous artists in their respective communities, embarking on extensive public wall art projects that solicited both ideas and labor from their patrons. The results are dazzling and a testament to the power of creativity and vision.

Collaborating with Outside Art, an organization workiong to make Plattsburgh and arts destination, the Friends of PPL helped faciliate the volunteer effort to make ceramic tiles by hand to create the "Read and Grow! Dream Garden" mural based on a children's book. This vast undertaking has been a catalyst to move the library toward the concept of a make maker space. For an indoor mural, Arnett Branch patrons gave suggestions as to destinations when asked "where will the library take you?" Muralist Richmond Futch Jr. and two other Rochester artists also tackled the challenge of the building's concrete facade, bringing colorful book panels to life.




2017 NYLA Annual Conference


Cross-cultural Communication & Multicultural Competencies
Speakers: Bernadette Lopez-Fitzsimmons, Manhattan College
Emergent bilinguals (EBs), English Language Learners (ELLs), and International Students (ISs) have become a presence in libraries.  Adopting multicultural competencies can facilitate providing effective library services to this diverse population.


Immigration Assistance @ Your Library
Speaker: Janice Owen, US Citizenship and Immigration Services
The current immigration climate (detentions, deportations, DACA, etc.) has made it more confusing for the immigrant and for the information providers, such as libraries to offer the relevant and valuable information necessary for legalization.  Libraries that provide immigration classes and assistance are at a loss as to the kind of materials and resource to give to patrons who seek assistance now.


New Americans and U.S. Citizenship
Speakers: Evanna M DiSalvo, Maplewood Community Library & Janice Owen, USCIS
Public libraries can be a key place for immigrants to find the information, support and encouragement they need to begin their path towards U.S. citizenship. We can play a critical role in avoiding confusion about the process by which refugees and immigrants can become citizens.





2016 NYLA Annual Conference


Unpleasant Everyday Language, Microaggression
Speakers: Wilma Kakie Glover-Koomson, Haverstraw King's Daughters Public Library & Manuel Figueroa, Queens Library
Not meant to offend, we experience microaggressive language on a regular basis at the Library. It often results in unintended, uncomfortable, misunderstood, and grudging but offended reactions by the recipient. How does this impact service?
Program Materials


How Do I Say That?
Speakers: Sonia Wagner, LCSW, Mental Health Association of Rockland County, Inc. & Christy Blanchette, Valley Cottage Library
This workshop will equip front-line staff with helpful solutions for serving patrons with mental illness appropriately and sensitively.  As libraries are evolving into community places, library staff are being increasingly challenged to assist patrons who are struggling emotionally.  
Program Materials


September Membership Meeting at The Hispanic Society of America


ESRT at the Hispanic Society of AmericaThe Hispanic Society of America was founded in 1904 by Archer Milton Huntington (1870-1955) with the object of establishing a free, public museum and reference library for the study of the art and culture of the Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines. The collections of the Hispanic Society are unparalleled in their scope and quality outside of Spain, addressing nearly every aspect of culture in Spain, as well as a large part of Portugal and Latin America, into the 20th century.  With more than 900 paintings and 6,000 watercolors and drawings, the Hispanic Society offers a comprehensive survey of Spanish painting and drawing, including masterworks by El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, and Sorolla.

Thank you to Brigid Cahalan for arranging the visit, to our host and to our colleagues from REFORMA who joined us.

Take a look at the REFORMA Photo Gallery of the event.




2015 NYLA Annual Conference


Fifty Shades of Brown
Speaker:  Wilma Kakie Glover-Koomson; Haverstraw King’s Daughters Public Library
This program offered participants the knowledge to better understand the different needs, cultures, practices, and histories. Language, literary works from these diverse cultures, audio and visual (movies and art) materials requirements, display of materials, and the planning of literacy programs as well as scheduling of library programs that meet the needs of this diverse group were discussed during the session.
Program Materials
Multimedia Suggested List


Getting International Language Materials Your Customers Want!
Speakers: Fred Gitner - Queens Library & Irina Kuharets - Finkelstein Memorial Library
Where to find print, multimedia and e-Materials in the languages you need in order to provide the best customer service to your linguistically diverse populations? This program covered the various demands, type of formats (incl. e-books, e-magazines, etc.), language learning materials (ESOL & International Languages), and sources for materials (incl. best experiences in obtaining available materials).
Program Materials


Joint Meeting: D&O-NJLA + ESRT-NYLA

Participants (from left to right):

First Row: Tara Murphy, Galina Chernykh, Mimi Lee, Kate Baker, Judith Lin Hunt, Andrew Luck, Enola Romano
Second Row: Selina Sharmin, Manny Figueroa, Adrinana Blancarte-Hayward, Christal Blue, Jen Schuerman, Maria Gagliardi, Jill D’Amico, Paulette Doe Williams, Irina A. Kuharets, Kathleen Mollica, Brigid Cahalan
Third Row: Doreen Sullivan, Fred J. Gitner, Selwa Shamy, Robert Barbanell, Louisa Bann, Jeff Cupo, Allan Kleiman, Wilma Glover-Koomson


Thank you to NJ State Library, NJLA and Montclair Public Library for hosting the event. Have a look at the highlights and some great photos.