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Headliners and Special Guests


Thursday Opener

All Facts Considered: A Conversation with an NPR Librarian

presented by Kee Malesky, NPR librarian and author, in conversation with Sasha Aslanian, MPR reporter and producer

Kee MaleskyIn nearly three decades as part of the National Public Radio (NPR) library team, Kee Malesky has cataloged and archived programs, performed background research, answered fact-checking questions, found experts, suggested story ideas, and provided guidance on grammar, usage, and pronunciation (but don’t blame her when someone says "nook-yoo-ler”). Kee coordinates the library’s internal News Wiki and has also worked on many special projects for NPR. She has received several awards in recognition of her contributions to the library profession, including the 2012 Dow Jones Leadership Award presented by the Special Libraries Association. In 2010, Kee published All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge, a compendium of interesting and unusual facts that she has accumulated during all those years answering questions for NPR reporters, editors, and hosts. She followed that volume with a second collection, Learn Something New Every Day: 365 Facts to Fulfill Your Life (Wiley 2012), which NPR’s special correspondent Susan Stamberg called, "A bon-bon of a book, crammed with delicious nuggets of information and morsels of amusement.”
Sasha AslanianSasha Aslanian is a metro reporter for Minnesota Public Radio News (MPR). She began as a daily news producer at MPR in 1992, in the days when they still cut reel-to-reel tape. From 2000 to 2008, she produced documentaries for American RadioWorks, the national documentary unit of American Public Media. She is the creator of MPR’s Young Reporters Series. Sasha has won awards named for famous newsmen: Edward R. Murrow, Lowell Thomas, Heywood Broun, and Eric Sevareid.

Friday Lunch

Surviving the Public: Customer Service the Unshelved Way

presented by Unshelved (aka Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes)

Tough customers got you down? Let us teach you how to stop worrying and learn to enjoy difficult people! Discover the Unshelved approach to customer service: The customer is seldom right. Most customer service interactions can be enjoyable if you have the right frame of mind. Or, failing that, at least you can have the last laugh.

Gene AmbaumGene Ambaum uses a pen name because he’s scared of his own shadow. He is so good at making fun of strange, difficult customers inUnshelved because he is the strangest, most difficult customer of all. He taught English overseas because no one there was in a position to criticize his spelling. He has also written a book about a cat that won’t use its litter box, Poopy Claws, and a post-zombie apocalypse parody,Fifty Shades of Brains. Follow @ambaum.
Bill BarnesBill Barnes loves librarians, show tunes, and meat. He can count his toes without taking off his shoes. Over the past eight years, he has tried to convince Gene that the meaning of "partnership” is doing what he says 99% of the time. He can often be seen wandering the floor at trade shows playing "The Final Countdown” on his ukulele, Death Adder. In his spare time, he draws Unshelved and writes a comic about the software industry, Not Invented Here. Follow @billba.

Friday Closer

Off-Label Uses for Books

presented by Erin McKean, lexicographer, author, and founder of

As defined by Ruth Krauss in her 1952 landmark dictionary, A Hole Is to Dig, "a book is to look at.” But books are good for much, much more. To borrow a term from the medical establishment, what are the "off-label” uses of books, and how can we encourage the off-label uses we approve of and discourage the off-label uses that are destructive?

Erin McKeanErin McKean likes to call herself a word evangelist. Previously, she was the editor in chief for American Dictionaries at Oxford University Press and the editor of the New Oxford American Dictionary, 2E. Her books include Weird and Wonderful Words, More Weird and Wonderful Words, Totally Weird and Wonderful Words, andThat’s Amore (which is also a collection of words). The Secret Lives of Dresses is her first novel and, really, her first book where the words are arranged in something other than alphabetical order. She recently moved from Chicago to the Bay Area, rants about dresses on her blog (A Dress A Day), and she’s actually really bad at Scrabble® (but surprisingly good at roller-skating).

Check out this TED Talks video with Erin McKean.

Special Guest Performances


Technology, Trust, and Transparency: A Conversation about Creating Healthy, Collaborative Cultures

presented by the Geek Girls (aka Nancy Lyons and Meghan Wilker)

Organizations have high expectations for how technology will transform their ability to collaborate, but collaboration doesn’t magically happen just because you buy software for it. Collaboration requires trust, trust is based on relationships, relationships are between people, and people? Well, they’re unpredictable.

Technology in general—and the internet and social media specifically—have changed the way we work. And not just by changing the medium through which we communicate, but the very nature of what we communicate, blurring the line between our personal and professional selves, and changing our expectations of each other.

Nancy Lyons and Meghan Wilker of the Geek Girls Guide will speak about the intersection of technology and humanity and the role of individuals and organizations in creating truly collaborative cultures.

The Geek Girls: Nancy Lyons and Meghan WilkerNancy Lyons works at the intersection of technology, community, and people. Her guiding philosophy is that a human-centered approach to technology is the only way to get results that make a difference. Nancy is president and CEO of Clockwork Active Media, a leading digital agency specializing in designing and developing business solutions for web, mobile, and other digital environments. She speaks nationally about work culture, social media, technology, and leadership.

Meghan Wilker specializes in using strategy, technology, and process to bring people and products together. Her public speaking, writing, and outreach prompt individuals and businesses to develop smart digital products. Whether she’s managing a team or mentoring students, she believes that technology creates endless opportunities to make life easier and to produce meaningful connections. Meghan is the vice president and managing director at Clockwork Active Media. She’s a contributing writer, creator of, and was named as a "Woman to Watch” by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.


Hidden in Plain Sight: Libraries Respond to the Aging of America

presented by Diantha D. Schull, author of 50+ Library Services: Innovation in Actionand former president of Libraries for the Future

Diantha will review the changing landscape of services for older adults. She will highlight innovations in libraries from Pima County, Arizona and Lee County, Florida, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Portland, Maine. From uses of social media and participatory programs to experiments with peer advisors and space design, the workshop will offer ideas and examples useful for professionals in both public and academic libraries.

Workshop participants will gain an understanding of how demographic trends are affecting libraries and librarianship—including staffing, organizational structures, collections, budgets, marketing, partnerships, and programming—and will be challenged to consider how their own institutions are responding to these trends. They will also learn about emerging principles for the new field of 50+ library practices.

Diantha D. SchullDiantha Dow Schull, principal and founder of DDSchull Associates, is an advisor to libraries, museums and foundations. She was formerly president of Libraries for the Future (LFF) and Americans for Libraries Council (ALC). Prior to joining LFF, Diantha was executive director of the French-American Foundation, director of exhibitions and education at the New York Public Library, director of interpretive programs at the Library of Congress, and assistant director of the Museum Aid Program of the New York State Council on the Arts. Diantha serves on the board of the Connecticut Humanities Council. She is the author of 50+ Library Services: Innovation in Action (ALA Editions, March 2013), co-editor ofBoomers and Beyond: Reconsidering the Role of Libraries (2010), the author of numerous articles on cultural institutions, and a frequent presenter at professional conferences. For more information, see


Brain Fitness

presented by Kathleen James, MELSA; Janet Kleckner, Anoka County Library; Laura McDermott, Ramsey County Library; RoseAnn Foreman, Saint Paul Public Library; and Angela Hunt, Carver County Library System

Brain Fitness ProjectWorried about your memory? This session will provide some tips on keeping your mind sharp; however, the focus is on the metro public libraries’ partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association to bring brain fitness information and hands-on options to anyone wanting to keep their brain sharp throughout their lives. Find out how the original LSTA project worked and how it continues in various forms throughout the metro public libraries. In the meantime, try Brain Exercise #7: Use your non-dominant hand for a day. The Brain Fitness program is featured in Diantha Schull’s book, 50+ Library Services: Innovation in Action.


How to Ban a Book: An Unshelved Primer

presented by Unshelved (aka Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes)

We are longtime opponents of censorship. In this talk, you will gain a deeper understanding of who you’re up against in the fight for intellectual freedom. We imagine that you have invited us to learn how to do a better job banning books from libraries. We give a thorough, detailed, and helpful training. We’ll tell you why to ban books, which books to challenge, who at the library to work with, what kind of approach you should take, and how to anticipate (and work around) a library’s standard response. We’ll also teach you the different types of secret censorship and how to use the library’s collection development policy to your advantage.


Author Talk with Historical Fiction Writer Mary Sharratt

presented by author Mary Sharratt

Join the Readers Advisory Round Table for a conversation with Mary Sharratt, award-winning author of historical fiction. Mary is a former resident of Minneapolis, currently living in Lancashire, England, and is the author of several books, including Summit Avenue and Daughters of the Witching Hill. She will talk about her newest book,Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen, and will facilitate a brief discussion of that same book. Mary will have copies of her books to sell and sign.

Mary SharrattMary Sharratt is an American writer who lives in the Pendle region of Lancashire, Northern England, the setting for her acclaimed 2010 novel, Daughters of the Witching Hill, which recasts the Pendle Witches of 1612 in their historical context as cunning folk and healers. Previously, Mary she lived for twelve years in Germany. This, along with her interest in sacred music and herbal medicine, inspired her to write her most recent novel, Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen, which explores the dramatic life of the 12th century Benedictine abbess, composer, polymath, and powerfrau. Winner of the 2005 WILLA Literary Award and a Minnesota Book Award Finalist, Mary is also the author of Summit Avenue (Coffee House 2000), The Real Minerva (Houghton Mifflin 2004), and The Vanishing Point (Houghton Mifflin 2006), and she co-edited the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit (Crocus Books 2006), which celebrates female anti-heroes—strong women who break all the rules. Her short fiction has been published in Twin Cities Noir (Akashic Books 2006) and Twin Cities Noir Expanded (Akashic Books 2013). Her most recent novel, Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen, was selected as a BOOK OF THE YEAR 2012 by Kirkus Reviews, January Magazine, and PBS WGBH Greater Boston.


Encore: Libraries, the Arts, and Older Adults

presented by Maura O’Malley, co-founder and president/CEO of Lifetime Arts, Inc.

This interactive presentation will introduce librarians and administrative staff to Lifetime Arts’ Creative Aging Libraries Project and its impact on library practice nationally. It includes an overview of current creative aging research and best practices with a focus on lifelong learning. The Creative Aging Toolkit for Public Libraries, Lifetime Arts Creative Aging Roster, and Lifetime Arts Affiliate Network will be featured. This session funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Maura O’MalleyMaura O’Malley is an arts specialist with more than thirty years of experience in program design and implementation, arts education policy and funding, and community cultural work. She has informed policy and created innovative programming for adults and children with the Westchester Arts Council, New York City Department of Education, Stamford Public Schools, and the Center for Arts Education, Studio in a School Association, Young Audiences of New York, and many other premiere arts and educational organizations. Maura graduated from Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and earned a Masters of Public Administration in arts policy and planning from New York University. She has served as a panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, The Bronx Council on the Arts, and ArtsWestchester; served on the Pelham Art Center Board of Directors and the New York Public Library Community Advisory Committee; and is an inaugural member of the Association of Teaching Artists’ Growth/Opportunity Working Group.

In 2008, Maura co-founded Lifetime Arts, Inc., a not for profit organization whose mission is to promote the creation, expansion, and sustainability of professionally conducted arts programs for older adults. Their signature program, The Creative Aging Libraries Project, serves over older adults through creative aging programs in libraries in Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas.


Finding the Fires that Burn Within: A Community-Based Framework for Developing Older Adult Services

presented by Joyce Yukawa, Associate Professor, St. Catherine University MLIS Program

The older adult population in the U.S. is highly diverse in its characteristics, interests, needs, and perspectives on the future. With the prospect of rapid increases in this population in the decades to come, libraries are planning and implementing a wide range of services that address work, health and wellness, financial planning, information technology, lifelong learning, and community connections. This workshop explores a community-based framework for developing older adult services that leverages community strengths, identifies key sustainability factors, and builds a learning environment that supports services to inform, inspire, and engage older adults as they strive to live fulfilling, productive, and independent lives.

Joyce YukawaJoyce Yukawa is an associate professor in the MLIS Program of St. Catherine University. She teaches courses on information seeking behavior, libraries and emerging technologies, information access services, and services to older adults. Her research and service focus on professional learning in blended environments, with emphasis on service learning in communities of practice. She has been a librarian in academic, public, and special libraries in the U.S. and Asia.


Connecting Kids and Poetry: Easy Ways to Grow Poetry Lovers

presented by Laura Purdie Salas, author

sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group

Turn your young patrons into poetry lovers through interactive poetry reading featuring call and response, sound effects, and actions. Invite teens to respond to poetry through art or performance. Give all the kids an opportunity to write their own poetry for library display. Laura will share practical techniques and booktalk a range of great poetry books from recent years so that you can enthusiastically and knowledgeably share your favorites with the just-right readers.

Laura Purdie Salas is the author of more than 100 books for kids, including Bookspeak! Poems about Books (Minnesota Book Award, NCTE Notable, and more) and A Leaf Can Be…. She loves to introduce kids to poetry and help them find poems they can relate to, no matter their age, mood, and personality. See more about Laura and her work at


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