Keynote Speaker

Renée Wilson-SimmonsRenée Wilson-Simmons, DrPH, is director of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Established in 1989, NCCP is one of the nation’s leading public policy research centers. The center conducts research and translates the findings into actionable recommendations that advocates and policymakers use to improve the lives and futures of low-income children and their families. Prior to NCCP, Renée was associate director of the Evidence-Based Practice Group at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, which is piloting a framework for engaging communities and public systems in efforts to improve child well-being that is being tested in Providence, Rhode Island; Salt Lake County, Utah; and Selma and Mobile, Alabama. Renée also served as the foundation’s senior associate for adolescent health and development. Prior to joining Casey, she was a senior scientist at Education Development Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she was responsible for the development and implementation of a range of projects that addressed the health and safety needs of young people living in high-poverty urban areas.
Sherri WinstonSherri Winston is the author of President of the Whole Fifth Grade (a Sunshine State Young Readers Award selection), President of the Whole Sixth Grade (a Kids’ Indie Next pick), President of the Whole Sixth Grade: Girl Code, The Sweetest Sound, and The Kayla Chronicles. She lives with her family in Florida. Sherri invites you to visit her online at


Rebekkah Smith AldrichRebekkah Smith Aldrich (MLS, LEED AP, CSBA) is a passionate advocate for public libraries because she knows that libraries can change the world. Rebekkah currently serves as the Coordinator for Library Sustainability at the Mid-Hudson Library System (NY) where she daily assists 66 public libraries in the areas of leadership, funding and facilities. Rebekkah holds an advanced certificate in Public Library Administration from the Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University; is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP); a certified Sustainable Building Advisor; the author of the Handbook for New Public Library Directors in New York State; co-author of the Handbook for Public Library Trustees in New York State and author of the forthcoming book Sustainable Thinking from ALA Editions. A founding member of the American Library Association’s Sustainability Roundtable, Rebekkah is proud of her work to help pass the 2015 ALA Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries. Named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker, Rebekkah is a frequent national presenter on the topic of leading libraries forward in smart, practical and effective ways.
Georgia ColemanA leader in the use of human-centered design in public libraries, Georgia Coleman is a champion for library services that enhance community connectedness and quality of life. She currently serves as Chief Customer Officer at the award-winning Richland Library in Columbia, SC, where she is responsible for public services and customer experience throughout the library system. Georgia was named an American Library Association Emerging Leader in 2008 and received Richland Library’s highest honor, the Helen Ann Rawlinson Leadership Award, in 2016.
Sue CvejanovichSue Cvejanovich, Assistant Director of Library Operations, has served in various roles in the Miami-Dade Public Library System and has contributed to its growth which has nearly doubled in size during her 27 years there. She began as a reference librarian in 1990 and currently oversees 50 library branches as well as MDPLS’s Digitization, YOUmedia, YOUmake, Bookmobile and Technobus services. Sue holds a BA from Simmons College in Boston and earned her MLIS from the University of Texas.
Debra GibsonDebra Rhodes Gibson is the Director of the St. Johns County Public Library System in St. Augustine, FL. She received her MLS degree from Western Michigan University, specializing in outreach services. Debra has worked in libraries in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and Texas prior to arriving in St. Johns County in 2007.
Debra believes that libraries deliver equal access to information and education for everyone, regardless of age, in our community.
Oscar FuentesOscar Fuentes is the Library Exhibitions and Programming Specialist in the Art Services unit. Oscar oversees art related programming such as art tours, art lectures, art receptions, art workshops. He also maintains the library’s Permanent Art Collection, which tells Miami’s visual history, displayed through the library system at six temporary art galleries in different branches where he rotates eye-catching art exhibits every four months. Oscar is also a multidisciplinary artist in the Miami community; he spearheads a music project where he blends his poetry with jazz. He is also the author of three books of poetry, prose and plays.
Nick HigginsAs Director of Outreach Services for the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), Nick Higgins directs a unique suite of services for older adults, people impacted by the justice system, immigrants, and individuals and families experiencing homelessness. He received his Master’s of Library Science from Pratt Institute and a BA in British Literature from Hunter College.
Erin HoopesErin Hoopes is Library Supervisor of the Philadelphia City Institute Branch, Free Library of Philadelphia. She began her career as a Young Adult Librarian for the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library system in Charlottesville, Virginia. Erin is passionate about programming, literature, and resources for teenagers, and organized the Free Library’s first Social Justice Symposium for Teens in 2016. She is currently working with a Youth Planning Committee to design the Library’s third annual Social Justice Symposium for Teens.
Brian KenneyBrian Kenney, Ph.D., has been the director of the White Plains Public Library (NY) since 2011 where he has been engaged in the re-engineering of service and renovation of the facility. In 2014, the library opened the Edge, an award-winning space for teens, and this month is launching the Hub, a facility for adults. Previously, he was editorial director of School Library Journal, Library Journal, and The Horn Book.
Lisa KroppLisa G. Kropp is the Director of the Lindenhurst Memorial Library in NY. She is a co-author of the Family Centered Handbook (ALA-Neal Schuman) and writes the First Steps column for School Library Journal. She received her MLS from Queens College, CUNY and her public library administration certificate from Long Island University. Ms. Kropp is an adjunct assistant professor for St. John’s University Department of Library and Information Science.
Sophie MaierSophie Maier has an MLS from the University of Kentucky and an M.A in Political Science from the University of Louisville. She has worked over fifteen years serving immigrants and refugees in Louisville, KY. This followed years serving youth in foster care in NYC and KY, and living abroad. In her position at LFPL she has created what are now system wide signature programs such as the English Conversation Club which provides the opportunity for volunteers to meet, greet and engage in conversation with language learners from a diverse population of immigrants and refugees with varying levels of English proficiency. Sophie was named a 2016 Library Journal Mover & Shaker.
Aaron MasonAaron B. Mason, the Director of Outreach & Programming Services at the Cleveland Public Library, leads and directs the Library’s public programming and educational initiatives for patrons of all ages from preschoolers through adults. Prior to his current position, Aaron headed the Business, Economics & Labor Department at the library’s downtown campus.
Aaron earned his B.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from Indiana University, Bloomington and Master’s in Library and Information Science from Kent State University. A life-long city resident, Aaron’s focus is improving the lives of the people he serves by providing innovative library programs that promote lifelong learning and the love of reading.
Robin NewellRobin Newell is the Executive Director at the Emporia Public Library in Emporia, Kansas. Her library career spans nineteen years in diverse roles in Georgia, Nebraska, and Kansas.
Newell is currently Vice President of the Kansas Library Association and Past President of the Nebraska Library Association. She is an alumnus of the first American Library Leadership Institute in 2013 and has attended and mentored at both the Nebraska Library Leadership Institute and the Mountain Plains Library Leadership Institute.
Bridget Quinn-CareyBridget Quinn-Carey is the CEO of the Hartford Public Library. Prior to joining HPL, Ms. Quinn-Carey served as the EVP/COO and Interim President/CEO of the Queens Library and as the Director of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. Ms. Quinn-Carey earned her BA from Binghamton University and she earned her MLS and MBA degrees from St. John’s University.
Angel TuckerAngel Tucker has worked in Youth Services at Johnson County Library for 14 years and currently serves as the Youth Services Manager–overseeing programming and outreach for ages birth to 18, parents and educators. She is the founder of elementia Johnson County Library’s nationally recognized visual and literary arts magazine for young adults and currently coordinates Race Project KC–an initiative that aims to bring students and teachers together to discuss the history of race in our country.
Jill YoungsJill Youngs is the Manager of the NOPL @Cicero Public Library, home of the LibraryFarm, a multi-faceted growing and learning place located in upstate New York. Over the past five years, the LibraryFarm has received national and international recognition as a unique collection, a focal point for local food literacy and more recently as one of the first public libraries to offer nature programming to children.
Jill received her MLS from Southern Connecticut State University and earned the Certified Public Library Administrator (CPLA) designation from the American Library Association.