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Project SET 2019: 2019 Annual Meeting Presentations

Project SET: Skills, Empowerment, Talent -- Class of 2019!

Massachusetts Library System is once again proud to present Ignite Session presentations crafted by our Project SET participants as part of our annual meeting program. Explore the links below to meet the 2019 SET participants, and discover the inspirational results of this six-month project, designed to cultivate presentation and leadership skills among your Massachusetts library colleagues.

Speaking Order:

Group 1- Librarians as Change Agents

  1. Nicole Cunha: "Natural Problem Solvers: Disabled Librarians and a World Not Built For Us"
  2. Carlina Arsenault: "The Power of Tween Fandom"
  3. Katie Klein: "Collaborate for Online Privacy"
  4. Sara Deignan: "Don’t Panic! How Libraries Can Prepare for the Challenge of Climate Change"
  5. Alexandra Pratt: "Ditching Dewey"

Group 2- Librarians as Bridge Builders

  1. Joel Newsome: "You Need To Get Out More: Keys to Effective Outreach"
  2. Marissa Monteiro: "Outreach The Easy Way"
  3. Amy Horning Loustau: "When Google Translate Isn’t Enough: Cultural Competency in reaching our Brazilian Patrons"
  4. Theresa Tangney: "A Library for All: Serving Quincy's Growing Asian Community"
  5. Evie Cordell: "Supporting First Generation Students in the Library"
  6. Courtney Michael: "The Grateful Manager"

Nicole Cunha Public Services Librarian, Newton Free Library

Natural Problem Solvers: Disabled Librarians and a World Not Built For Us”​

When discussing diversity in the library world, does disability ever cross your mind? Have you wondered where are the disabled librarians? This session is a crash course in: ways the disability community describes their fluctuating energy; statistics comparing disability and library community numbers; and models of disability. Inclusion of ALA policy and personal experience is also used to ground the presentation at the intersections.

Contact NICOLE:

Nicole Cunha (they/them/theirs) is relatively new to public libraries, working as a Public Service Librarian at the Newton Free Library. Prior to Newton, Nicole worked at the Earl Center for Learning and Innovation at Wheelock College (now part of BU) and Simmons University’s Beatley Library. In their role, Nicole facilitates technology and online privacy classes, introduces the community to the maker space, and staffs the reference desk, swapping hats whenever needed. When not at work, you can find Nicole reading (like any introvert), analyzing their favorite tv shows, spending time with their dog, or traveling. Nicole was born with Cerebral Palsy, and learning disabilities and processing disorders; they use this lived experience to speak their truth.

Slides from Nicole's presentation:

Katie Klein, Research Teaching and Learning Librarian, Rising Tide Charter Public School

Collaborate for Online Privacy”​

Katie Klein

Online privacy is a confusing and constantly changing field, but responsibility for protecting digital information falls disproportionately on individuals. How can school and public libraries help their students and patrons navigate this issue? Together. I’ll share collaboration tips and resources for developing a joint educational initiative about digital privacy.



Contact KATIE:

Katie KleinKatie Klein is the Librarian at Rising Tide Charter Public School. Before moving to Massachusetts in 2018, she was Librarian at a Maine public high school and a Virginia boarding school, managed the creation of a national transportation database for a nonprofit, and served two years in AmeriCorps VISTA. She earned her MLIS from Rutgers University in 2005.

Resources from Katie's presentation:

Alexandra Pratt, Children’s Librarian, West Tisbury Free Public Library

Ditching Dewey”​

Alexandra Pratt

Organizational systems aren’t neutral and we are all aware of the limitations and problematic nature of DDC. The West Tisbury Free Public Library has not only ditched Dewey for the Children’s Room but for adult non-fiction as well.

Contact Alexandra:

Alexandra PrattAlexandra Pratt (she/her/hers) took a part-time job at her local public library thinking it would be a relaxing place to sit and read on the weekends. (Insert wild librarian laughter here.) Nearly four years later she has worked in five out of six of the libraries on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. After spending a year as a Reference Librarian at the Vineyard Haven Library, she is now the Children’s Librarian at the West Tisbury Public Library and has received her MLIS from Syracuse University. She received her B.A in English Literature from Smith College in 2009.



Slides from Alexandra's presentation:

Marissa Monteiro, Outreach Coordinator, Leominster Public Library

Outreach The Easy Way”​

Marissa Monteiro

You want to find new ways to reach patrons, but you’re not sure if you have the time and resources for new programming. Fear not! By simply paying close attention to your community and iterating on ideas quickly, you can find an outreach strategy that works for your library.

Marissa MonteiroMarissa Monteiro created the Outreach Program at the Leominster Public Library in 2019. Previously she worked at the main circulation desk as her college summer job. She earned her BA in English Literature from the University of Southern California in 2010, taught dance in Seattle until 2017 and walked across Spain before coming home to Massachusetts last year.


Slides from Marissa's presentation:

Theresa Tangney, Head of Information and Research Services, Thomas Crane Public Library

A Library for All: Serving Quincy's Growing Asian Community

Theresa Tangney

Effectively engaging with underserved populations is a challenge that many library staff face.  Learn about the successes and challenges that the Thomas Crane Public Library has had trying to improve services to Asians, who represent over a quarter of Quincy’s total population.  This presentation will focus on using partnerships, programming, strategic planning and outreach as avenues to engagement.

Contact Theresa:

Theresa TangneyTheresa Tangney began her career at the Thomas Crane Public Library in 2006 at age 17, working as a library assistant while earning her bachelor’s degree. She became an adult services librarian after completing her MLS in 2014.  Earlier this year she stepped into her current role as Head of Information & Outreach Services.


Slides from Theresa's presentation:

Courtney Michael, Reference/Programming Librarian, Wayland Free Public Library

The Grateful Manager”​

Courtney Michael

Gratitude is an underutilized yet powerful management tool for battling library staff burnout and increasing employee engagement. Staff who feel appreciated are more motivated, empowered and may inspire their peers towards improved performance. This talk will outline free and effective strategies for using gratitude at work to improve organizational culture and, by extension, enhance the patron experience at our libraries. Thank you for listening!

Contact Courtney:

Courtney Michael

Courtney Michael is a Reference and Adult Programming Librarian at the Wayland Free Public Library, where she works to foster community among adults through educational and cultural enrichment programs. She holds an MLS in Archives and an MA in History from the University of Maryland. Before her recent pivot to the public library realm, Courtney worked as a project manager in the WGBH Archives, and as a digital archivist at Fidelity Investments.


Slides from Courtney's presentation:

Carlina Arsenault, Library Assistant- Children's Services, Northborough Free Library

The Power of Tween Fandom”​

Fandom is a popular topic today, although tween fandoms are often overlooked or viewed as unimportant by adults. There are more than twenty million tweens living in the United States and they are a large and underserved demographic in libraries. While many libraries have a robust offering of children’s programs, if tweens stop coming to the library after they age out, they are less likely to come back as teens and adults. This presentation will discuss what tween fandom is, what makes it unique, and how to tap into it to boost your program attendance.


Carlina Arsenault (she/her/hers) works as the Children’s Library Assistant at the Northborough Free Library where she offers services for children ages birth to twelve and their parents or caregivers. Her favorite parts of working in the children’s room include offering engaging programs and storytimes and helping to inspire a love of reading in young patrons through reader’s advisory. Before beginning her position at Northborough in 2018, she worked in the Library Media Center at Nashoba Regional High School. She began working in libraries as an undergraduate student at Bowdoin College, where she served as a Circulation Assistant while earning her B.A. in English and Romance Languages. She earned an M.A. in Children’s Literature and an M.F.A. in Writing for Children from Simmons College in 2016.


Resources from Carlina's presentation:

Sara Deignan, Children’s Librarian, Springfield City Library

Don’t Panic! How Libraries Can Prepare for the Challenge of Climate Change

Sara DeignanLibraries have strengths that will help them prepare to face the effects of climate change, such as community partnerships, planning and organizing skills, the ability to research reliable information, and the ability to connect patrons with resources. We can leverage these strengths to prepare for the future. Let’s be proactive!

Contact Sara:

Sara DeignanSara Deignan (she/hers) is the Supervisor of Springfield City Library’s Mason Square branch. She served as a Children’s Librarian at the Library’s central branch from 2015 up until quite recently. She has a BA in English from the University of Rhode Island, and an MLIS from the University of Rhode Island. Sara pursued a library career in an attempt to contribute positively to society through community service and literacy.

Resources from Sara's presentation:

Joel Newsome, Mobile Services Librarian, Worcester Public Library

You Need To Get Out More: Keys to Effective Outreach” ​

Joel NewsomeLibrary outreach is an important means of reaching non-users and addressing community needs. While most libraries have a desire to reach new users some struggle with venturing beyond their walls to meet would-be patrons where they’re at. By getting out more and applying these keys to effective outreach your library will be able to bridge gaps in service while increasing traffic at branch locations.

Contact Joel:

Joel NewsomeJoel Newsome (he/him/his) is a Mobile Services Librarian at the Worcester Public Library. Every day he drives one of two bookmobiles throughout the city to elementary schools, senior living facilities, public housing locations, after school programs and community events. He delights in serving patrons at more than 70 scheduled stops and is an enthusiastic proponent for outreach.


Slides from Joel's presentation:

Amy Horning Loustau, Assistant Children's Librarian, Medford Public Library

When Google Translate Isn’t Enough: Cultural Competency in reaching our Brazilian Patrons

Amy Horning Loustau

The Boston area is home to one of the largest Brazilian populations in the United States. Even if your library isn’t near Boston, you might still have a significant Brazilian population. This talk will share some facts about how libraries work in Brazil. If we understand our immigrant patrons’ frame of reference for libraries, we can serve them better. I will be doing a Fulbright in Brazil next year and plan to return and present my findings in late 2020 and beyond.

Contact Amy:

Amy Horning LoustauAmy Horning Loustau (she/hers) is a Children’s Librarian at the Medford Public Library. Her favorite part of the week is Toddler Storytime, which gives her an excuse to wear fun socks, and pondering new ways to reach out to immigrant patrons. Amy grew up in the Midwest before heading east; she has lived all over the world and is looking forward to continuing the wanderlust with a Fulbright in Brazil in February with an eye toward improving our outreach to our Brazilian patrons.

Slides from Amy's presentation:

Evie Cordell, First Year Expereince and Undergraduate Engagement Librarian, Northeastern University

Supporting First Generation Students in the Library

Evie Cordell

First Generation students make up a large part of today’s college campuses. This talk will explore a few of the challenges that first generation students face and the correlations seen in library usage. What can librarians do in order to address these challenges and help ensure first generation students success?

Contact Evie:

Evie CordellEvie Cordell (she/hers) is the First Year Experience and Undergraduate Engagement Librarian at Northeastern University. She is the liaison to the Writing Program, General Studies Program, Explore Program, ContiNUe Program, NUi.n. and several other First Year Programs. She also serves on the First Pages (Northeastern University's common reads program) committee and is a member of the FUNL (First Generation, Undocumented, Low-Income) Network at Northeastern. Evie holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Science in Library & Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her spare time Evie enjoys adding dresses to her vintage dress collection and eating baked goods.

Project SET Crew (MLS Staff)

Project SET Crew (MLS Staff)
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