Social Responsibilities & Libraries: Speaker Series

Free Registration and CE credits. One CE credit per session.

The Social Responsibilities Group of NYLA's Developing Leaders Program is proud to sponsor a series of 5 webinars exploring how libraries of all types and sizes embody ALA's definition of the core value: Social Responsibility. Each session looks at a particular aspect of how Social Responsibility has a role in librarianship; themes include digital equity, collection development, library programs, and making public statements on current events. Register for a single session or attend the full series. Each panel is one hour and earns attendees 1 Continuing Education (CE) credit. Attendance and CE credits are free!   

Please register in advance, and come with questions. 


April 12, 11:00 am- Addressing Digital Equity: Theory and Practice 
April 19, 3:00 pm- Building a Socially Responsible Collection
April 26, 11:00 am- Empowering Your Community
May 3, 2:00 pm- Diverse Views and Discussions in Library Programs
May 10, 11:00 am- Directors Decide: Public Statements After George Floyd's Death

Series Evaluation Form AND CE Certificate Request Form


Addressing Digital Equity: Theory and Practice

April 12, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

When the pandemic hit, many libraries were suddenly struck by how vast the gaps in digital equity truly were in their communities. Learn from librarians who have been working on this issue for years as they talk about the theory and practice of making addressing digital equity a priority. Considering the ALA’s definition of “Social Responsibility” as a core value of librarianship, hear panelists discuss the ways in which digital equity is particularly critical to how libraries serve communities, and three panelists will offer their experiences implementing projects to address digital equity - including ideas for big budgets and small ones, and how collaboration with others can be your library’s best asset.


Brian Hildreth Executive Director, Southern Tier Library System

Brian Hildreth has been the Executive Director at Southern Tier Library System since 2013, and he has worked in rural public libraries since 2004. During his time at STLS he has partnered with library system staff, local libraries and government entities to improve broadband connectivity for community members. He believes all public libraries have the capacity, and responsibility, to bridge the digital divide by involving themselves in valuable community planning conversations. Brian currently serves on the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, and recently served as Chair of the Public Library System Directors Organization.

Scott Kushner Director, LaFayette Public Library

Kushner is director of the LaFayette Public Library, a semi-rural library that’s part of the OCPL library system in Central New York. Kushner is also a co-creator and co-chair of the Central New York Digital Inclusion coalition.

Amy K. Smith Head of Programs & Youth Services, Red Hook Public Library

The 2019 Winner of the PLS Moshier/Wynkoop Award for Distinguished Librarianship, Smith is happiest when she can be working in the Children’s Library making messes with preschoolers or in the Teen Room getting schooled in gaming. Serving Red Hook inventing inclusive programs and creative solutions to community problems, Smith feels quite certain she has the best job in the world.

Nick Tanzi Assistant Director, South Huntington Library

Nick Tanzi is the Assistant Director of the South Huntington Public Library in Suffolk County, NY. A nationally recognized library technology consultant, he is the author of the books Making the Most of Digital Collections Through Training and Outreach (2016) and Best Technologies for Public Libraries: Policies, Programs, and Services (2020). From 2019-2021, Tanzi served as the column editor for Public Library Magazine's "The Wired Library."


Building a Socially Responsible Collection

April 19, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Learn how to create a socially responsible collection at your library, that will allow patrons to access information on the many views and facts regarding critical problems in society. This panel will discuss different aspects of socially responsible collection building, such as diversity in format and viewpoint purchasing, and collections that support the elevation of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices.


Dr. Mary K Chelton Professor Emeritus, Queens College

Mary K. Chelton is a retired professor emeritus from Queens College GSLIS where she taught collection development for 15 plus years. She had been a public librarian doing YA and Adult services work in several states, and was one of the founders of VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES magazine.

Derek Ivie Youth Services Coordinator, Suffolk Cooperative Library System

Derek Ivie is the Youth Services Coordinator at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System in Bellport, NY. He has served on a number of award committees - most recently he chaired the 2020 Walter Dean Myers Award Committee for We Need Diverse Books. Outside of the library world you can find him enjoying a cold brew, reading YA novels, and co-hosting the pop culture centered podcast, A Bite Of.

Nicki Loder Stony Brook University Southampton Library

Nicki Loder (she/her) is a recent graduate from St. John’s University with a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Sciences and a full-time Supervisor at the Stony Brook University Southampton Library. Over the years, Nicki has presented on various topics, including diversity in youth literature, queer librarianship, and internet safety. When she's not planning her next presentation or assisting patrons, she can be found playing Dungeons and Dragons or Googling her last random thought with her cat, Arya Underfoot, and pup, Cannoli. 

Andrea Roberts Young Adult Library, Westhampton Free Library

Andrea Roberts is a young adult librarian at Westhampton Free Library and the young adult programmer. She is on the board of YASD and runs the Fran Romer Workshop. She is an avid reader of young adult and epic fantasy literature.

Jenna Thorn School Librarian, Orville A. Todd Middle School, Spackenkill, NY


Empowering Your Community

April 26, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

A facet of ALA’s core value of Social Responsibility is to help inform and educate the public, including helping them to engage and problem solve critical issues in society. This panel will discuss public education programs and services from three different libraries that worked to empower their community by: hosting programs to demystify local election and government processes to overcome barriers to running for office or participating in local government; services to support local businesses and owners in the community; and a joint program with a local nonprofit to educate and inform teens who were interested in becoming activists. Please come with questions so you can empower your own community.


Sal DiVincenzo Adult Services Librarian, Middle Country Public Library

Sal DiVincenzo is an Adult Services Librarian at Middle Country Public Library and a member of the Miller Business Center team where he has been assisting small business owners with their business research for 15 years. He’s coauthor of the book Supporting Local Businesses and Entrepreneurs in the Digital Age: The Public Librarian's Toolkit as well as cohost of the weekly MCPL Podcast. 

Courtney Greenblatt Young Adult Library, Great Neck Library

Courtney Greenblatt is the Young Adult Librarian at Great Neck Library in Great Neck, New York.  Courtney works with teens, families, and adult library users.  She maintains and builds new relationships with community partners, organizations, and guest experts for author visits, study skills, test prep, financial literacy, career exploration, and community service projects.  Transitioning to virtual programming during the pandemic, she teamed up with a local nonprofit to host a workshop that empowers teens with the tools to become Upstanders in their community.

Amy K. Smith Head of Programs and Youth Services, Red Hook Public Library

The 2019 Winner of the PLS Moshier/Wynkoop Award for Distinguished Librarianship, Smith is happiest when she can be working in the Children’s Library making messes with preschoolers or in the Teen Room getting schooled in gaming. Serving Red Hook inventing inclusive programs and creative solutions to community problems, Smith feels quite certain she has the best job in the world.


Diverse Views and Discussions in Library Programs

May 3, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Part of ALA’s core value of Social Responsibility lies in helping inform and educate the public in addressing critical problems in society, and encouraging them to examine the facts of, and many different views on, these problems. This panel will discuss successful initiatives taken with public library programming, partnerships with local schools, and an academic library One Read program, to help you learn how you can bring similar programs to your library. Come with questions on how you can create engaging and enlightening discussions at your library, from hosting them yourselves to allying with your local school, community volunteers, or committee at your academic institution.


Alexander Andrasik, Adult Services Librarian, Penn Yan Public Library

Alex Andrasik is the adult services librarian at Penn Yan Public Library in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  Alongside professional interests and responsibilities that include technology instruction, pop culture programming, and sustainability, he strives to incorporate racial justice and equity education into the library’s offerings.  PYPL’s efforts in this area are very much a work in progress, but represent an essential aspect of library service in every community, including rural places like the Finger Lakes.

Heather M. Cook Volunteer Circle Keeper/Facilitator, Penn Yan Public Library

Heather M. Cook (she/her/hers, White) lives on the unceded homeland of the Onöndowa’ga:’ /Seneca people of the Hodinöhsö:ni’ / Haudenosaunee Confederacy in the Seneca Lake watershed, in what is commonly called the Finger Lakes area of New York State. With a background in conflict transformation and circle processes, she works as a facilitator and trainer at Partners for Restorative Initiatives (PiRI) in Rochester, NY.  She stumbles her way through trying to become less racist, and seeks to do that work in community, and to take risks for the liberation of all beings.

Rosemary Farrell Senior Librarian, Programs & Engagement, The Nyack Library

Rosemary Farrell is the Senior Librarian for Programming and Community Engagement at Nyack Library in the Lower Hudson Valley where she has worked for over ten years in various departments and lived for the past eighteen. She works with her colleagues in Adult Services to offer a robust calendar of programs encompassing an array of topics from personal finance, health, politics and social justice, to trivia, local history, the arts and sustainability.The Nyack Library strives to work with other community organizations to provide materials and services to our diverse population.

Arielle Hessler Emerging Technologies Librarian, John Jermain Memorial Library

Arielle Hessler is the Emerging Technologies Librarian at John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor, NY. In addition to researching and implementing new technologies at her library, she runs programs from monthly trivia and game nights, to serious discussions such as a Film Club that tackles assumptions on race and culture. Her library also partners with the local school for a parent/teen program called Tough Topics, and an annual program called The Wagner Dialogues that invites panelists with diverse political, religious, or cultural viewpoints to speak with the community. 

Charlene V. Martoni Student Workforce Supervisor, University at Albany Libraries

Charlene Martoni is the Access Services Student Workforce Supervisor at the University at Albany Libraries. In addition to motivating and mentoring student employees and full-time staff, Charlene participates on the Libraries’ newly reinstated DEI Climate Committee. By adapting a workflow she had developed while chairing a One Read committee in New Paltz, NY, Charlene collaborated with her new colleagues at the University at Albany to trial a library-wide One Read of So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Charlene will share insights, strategies, and survey data to help participants prepare to facilitate book discussions with colleagues on topics ranging from race and culture to ability status and gender identity.

Lora Tucker Volunteer & Discussion Moderator, John Jermain Memorial Library

Lora René Tucker is Brooklyn born and Brooklyn Public Library raised.  Ms.Tucker’s career reflects over 30 years of racial and social justice activism; creating and teaching antiracism, diversity, and cultural empowerment. Lora, now living in Sag Harbor, recently facilitated John Jermain Library’s Film Club for Black History month, and its joint “Tough Topics” events with the Sag Harbor school district’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Lora is an active member and facilitator of Racial Justice East End, and presently facilitates poetry therapy workshops at Stonybrook/Southampton Hospital’s Wellness Institute. She published “Writes of Passage” and now writes about the “-isms” we endure. She is studying for her MFA at Stonybrook University, receiving an award for returning to academia at the age of 60 (And in the middle of a pandemic!)    


Directors Decide: Public Statements After George Floyd's Death

May 10, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

As part of their definition of the core value Social Responsibility, the ALA claims for itself the “willingness to take a position on current critical issues with the relationship to libraries and library service set forth in the position statement”. Learn the decision-making process these library directors went through as they considered whether and how their libraries would make public statements following the murder of George Floyd. Hear from directors of public libraries large, small, urban, rural and everything in between about the many factors involved in public libraries choosing to take potentially divisive public positions. 


Pauline Emery Director, Southeast Steuben County Library

Pauline Emery is the Director of the Southeast Steuben County Library located in Corning, NY. She received her M.L.S from the University at Buffalo and her B.A. in History from Elmira College and an Advanced Post-Grad. Certification in Public Library Administration from Long Island University.

Dawn Jardine Director, Red Hook Public Library

Dawn Jardine wandered into Red Hook Public Library 9 years ago and has yet to escape. Her philosophy of leadership is to be present, make it okay for people to make mistakes and encourage creativity, just not too loudly. 

Scott Jarzombeck Director, Albany Public Library

Scott Jarzombek is the Executive Director of the Albany Public Library, operating seven branches with a budget of $9.6 million and 146 staff. He also serves as an adjunct lecturer at the University at Albany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security & Cybersecurity.