Skip to Main Content

Project SET: Skills, Empowerment, Talent: 2017 Annual Meeting Presentations

Project SET: Skills, Empowerment, Talent -- Class of 2017!

group with 6 people seated in front and 8 people standing behind themMassachusetts 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 2017 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:

  1. Allison Keaney: "You Can Say Yes! Turning Library Service On Its Head"
  2. Danielle Masterson: "Impacting Your Community."
  3. Michelle Filleul: "Triage @ The Library"
  4. Alexander London: "Public Libraries and Genealogists: A Natural Partnership"
  5. Nicole Giroux: "Unplug It! Computerless S(T)EM Programming for Children"
  6. Kate Powers: "Tools, Not Toys: Libraries, Users, and the Pressure for Tech"
  7. Katie Beth Ryan: "Bridging the Gap: Faculty-Librarian Collaboration for First-Year Student Success"
  8. Natane Halasz: "From College to Community: Bringing College Students Into Public Libraries"
  9. Sara Kelso: "Next Level Tech for the Retirement Set"
  10. Linda St. Laurent: "Learning to Lead with Technology"
  11. C.M. Flynn: "Self-Care and Burnout Prevention for Information Professionals"
  12. Lizzy McGovern: "Culture, Co-op, Collaboration: How Pecha Kucha Can Transform Your Library's Culture of Learning"

Allison Keaney, Open Access Systems and Services Librarian, Stonehill College (N. Easton)

“You Can Say Yes! Turning Library Service On Its Head”

Allison KeaneyNegative stereotypes about libraries abound, but there are many changes that libraries can undertake that will help to change people’s perceptions. The Dover Town Library has spent the last eight years working to eliminate barriers and to create a welcoming space for both patrons and staff. Allison will describe some of the changes that allowed patrons and staff to hear “Yes” instead of “No.”

Contact Allison:

Allison KeaneyAllison Keaney is the Open Access Systems and Services Librarian at Stonehill College’s Macphaidin Library. This is a return to academic libraries, after about 10 years in public libraries. Allison’s favorite library topics are reader’s advisory, reference for genealogy, and shaking up the library world norms. She lives in Norton with her husband, two daughters, and four cats. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, working on her family tree, and geocaching.

Slides from Allison's presentation:

Danielle Masterson, Head of Youth Services, Flint Memorial Library (North Reading)

“Impacting Your Community”

Danielle MastersonHow can you make the biggest impact in your community? By working together! Find out what Collective Impact is and how you can use it to make a significant social change in your community.


Contact Danielle:

Danielle MastersonDanielle Masterson is the Head of Youth Services at the Flint Memorial Library in North Reading. She has been at the library for more than two years, after careers in journalism and elementary education. A townie, Danielle was born and raised in North Reading and still lives there with her husband and two dogs, Chloe and Rosie. She enjoys traveling to see family in England, listening to Robbie Williams and The Beatles, and drinking all the coffee.


Michelle Filleul, Head of Borrower Services, Reading Public Library

“Triage @ The Library”

Libraries are often understaffed and are required to do more with less. The Reading Public Library is no different. Yet through a collaborative planning process, the library was able to fully staff another desk. This allowed staff members to expand their roles without overstepping professional versus paraprofessional positions. It has led to an increased understanding of each division and an easy way to cross train.

Contact Michelle:

Michelle FilleulMichelle Filleul is the Head of Borrower Services at the Reading Public Library. She has been working there for fourteen years! She lives in North Andover with her husband, two daughters, and two guinea pigs. In her free time, she loves to listen to live music and think of different ways to keep libraries relevant in the 21st century.  



Slides from Michelle's presentation:

Alexander London, Reference Librarian, Worcester Public Library

“Public Libraries and Genealogists: A Natural Partnership”

Alexander LondonGenealogists are some of the most enthusiastic and dedicated library-users around, so it makes sense that public libraries would want to partner with them.  No matter the size of your library, or scope of your genealogy collection, a partnership with a genealogy club or organization can benefit both parties.  This presentation will discuss various types of partnerships, and discuss the experience of the Worcester Public Library, as well as other public libraries throughout the state.

Contact Alexander:

Alexander LondonAlexander London is a Reference Librarian at the Worcester Public Library, where he has worked for the last two and a half years.  His specific library focuses include genealogy, local history and technology user-instruction.  When he’s not working, Alex enjoys hiking and making (and eating) homemade pizza.  His favorite author is Terry Pratchett.


Slides from Alexander's presentation:

Nicole Giroux, Head of Children’s Services, Chelmsford Public Library

“Unplug It! Computerless S(T)EM Programming for Children”

Nicole GirouxChildren’s librarians often hesitate to add computer science to their programming lineups, yet computational thinking is a necessary 21st century skill set. Whether librarians fear not possessing the expertise to teach coding or worry about the cost of technological aids, their concerns are valid. Nicole will show, however, that by stripping computer science down to its basics, all children’s librarians can (and should!) incorporate ways for children to practice computational thinking during library programs. From storytime to after school, there are many opportunities to reinforce the basic skills of computer science in the library.

Contact Nicole:

Nicole GirouxNicole Giroux has served as Head of Children’s Services at the Chelmsford Public Library for the past year, returning to the Massachusetts library community after two years in Derry, NH, where she served on the board of the Children’s Librarians of New Hampshire (CHILIS). She began her library career at Topsfield Town Library while earning her M.L.S. and an M.A. in Children’s Literature from Simmons College. Nicole has presented on alternative storytime models, including Yoga Storytime and the Whole Book Approach, at various library conferences.


Slides from Nicole's presentation:

Kate Powers, Library Media Specialist, James M. Quinn Elementary School (Dartmouth)

“Tools, Not Toys: Libraries, Users, and the Pressure for Tech”

Kate PowersThere’s an app for that...and that...and that… In a world where an unplugged classroom or library is becoming a rarity, libraries need to be sure that the technology being used is really necessary: are we reaching for it because it is vital, or are we reaching for it simply because it is there? This presentation investigates the pervasive nature of technology and examines how it is commonly used. Using examples from real library life, Kate will offer methods and strategies librarians can use to determine whether or not technology is always necessary to meet a program’s objective.

Contact Kate:

Kate PowersKate Powers is the Library Media Specialist at the James M. Quinn Elementary School in Dartmouth, where her students have been named Best in State three times in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. In a previous life, she was a book editor focusing on nonfiction acquisitions. A Slytherin with Ravenclaw tendencies, Kate loves reading, writing, endurance running, craft beer, coffee, and traveling. Her favorite book is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and she believes Han Solo shot first.

Slides from Kate's presentation:

Katie Beth Ryan, Information Literacy Librarian, American International College (Springfield)

“Bridging the Gap: Faculty-Librarian Collaboration for First-Year Student Success”

Katie Beth RyanInformation literacy librarians are ready, willing, and equipped to help first-year college students find and evaluate resources and avoid plagiarism. But often, the only time librarians see these students are in “one-shot” instructional sessions, where many different IL skills must be taught in a limited amount of time. A strong relationship with instructors of first-year courses is essential to helping students thrive in introductory composition classes and beyond. This presentation will discuss steps to take for collaborative relationships with first-year faculty that will lay the groundwork for student success.

Contact Katie Beth:

Katie Beth Ryan

Katie Beth Ryan is an Information Literacy Librarian at American International College in Springfield. In this role, she is responsible for teaching information literacy classes and providing reference service to undergraduate and graduate students. She enjoys working with students and demystifying the research process. Originally from Missouri, Katie Beth now lives in Northfield, MA, and when she’s not driving on Interstate 91, she enjoys taking spin and Pilates classes, practicing yoga, hiking the White Mountains of

New Hampshire, and traveling.


Resources from Katie Beth's presentation:

Natane Halasz, Librarian, Fitchburg Public Library

"From College to Community: Bringing College Students into Public Libraries”

Natane HalaszCollege students are typically millennials, and millennials constitute a huge part of the US’s population. This session will highlight programming and resources that endeavor to attract this population to public libraries, before they even leave their college or university. Special focus will be on the launch of a MLS-designed LibGuide, intended for academic libraries, that gets grads thinking about all that is available to them at public libraries.

Contact Natane:

Natane HalaszNatane Halasz recently became Librarian at the Fitchburg Public Library, and prior to this appointment served as the InfoBar Evening Associate at Hampshire College’s Harold F. Johnson Library and Knowledge Commons. Her favorite library pursuits include picturebook art and design, recruiting underrepresented populations to the profession, and dreaming up and delivering events and programs. She lives in western MA with her husband, two young children, and a small fleet of pets.

Slides from Natane's presentation:

Sara Kelso, Head of Reference, Peabody Institute Main Library

“Next Level Tech for the Retirement Set”

Sara KelsoSeventy-seven million people are about to hit retirement age. But eighty percent of those people say they plan to work after retirement. Libraries can help this fastest growing sector of entrepreneurs leverage technology for success in their second act. This presentation will discuss the ways libraries can help aging adults build competitive technology skills needed to support long-term goals.

Contact Sara:

Sara KelsoSara Kelso is the Head of Reference at the Peabody Institute Main Library, where she has worked for just over one year managing reference services, print and digital collections, and technology classes for adults. She has been in public library service for eight years. A fairly recent transplant from the West Coast, Sara enjoys spending time with her partner exploring the beautiful outdoors, and the many historic and cultural sites New England has to offer.


Slides from Sara's presentation:

Linda St. Laurent, Learning to Lead with Technology, Cardinal Spellman High School (Brockton)

“Learning to Lead with Technology”

Linda St. LaurentAccess to knowledge in the internet age requires basic technology skills and the ability to evaluate information from a wide range of sources. Library professionals are challenged with developing their own technology skills and supporting environments that promote digital and media literacy. Learn about strategies to leverage technology as a tool for your professional growth.

Contact Linda:

Linda St. LaurentLinda St. Laurent is Director of the Library Learning Commons at Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton, MA. She has worked in various K-12 roles in education including science teacher and instructional technology specialist. Her Library Learning Commons passions include Makerspace and programming. Favorite hobbies include cooking, gardening and being outdoors.

Slides from Linda's presentation:

C.M. Flynn, Access & Discovery Librarian, Smith College & Reference and Instruction Librarian, Williston Northampton School

“Self-Care and Burnout Prevention for Information Professionals”

C.M. FlynnThe professional literature and anecdotal evidence suggests that many librarians experience occupational burnout at some point in their career. However, we are not necessarily given the tools to mediate this effect. In order to sustain ourselves long-term, Flynn will discuss self-care and burnout prevention strategies both on the individual and managerial levels. The session will focus on practical suggestions as well as encouraging ways to better support your staff members and colleagues alike.

Contact Flynn:

C.M. FlynnC.M. Flynn is an Access and Discovery Librarian at Smith College (Young Library) and a Reference and Instruction Librarian at the Williston Northampton School (Clapp Library). Their active library science interests include user-centered learning and creative pedagogy, as well as how to support underserved and underrepresented populations. They live in Northampton with their partner, and a small menagerie of animal friends. In their spare time, they enjoy rock climbing, hiking, and whimsical adventures.  

Productivity & Mindfulness Tools:

Mindfulness Exercises:
Other Helpful Tools:

Lizzy McGovern, Head of Children’s Services, Westwood Public Library

“Culture, Co-op, Collaboration: How Pecha Kucha Can Transform Your Library's Culture of Learning”

Lizzy McGovernLibraries are busy places, and because of this, much of our time is spent reflecting on the external action of how to provide better services and programs to the public we serve. Libraries can use cooperative learning models to facilitate the professional development of staff and the growth of new skills. By using the concept of a Pecha Kucha presentation, managers can jumpstart their library's learning culture and professional development program by showcasing the expertise that lies already at their fingertips.

Contact Lizzy:

Lizzy McGovernLizzy McGovern is the Head of Children’s Services at Westwood Public Library where she has been for 7 years. She a Hufflepuff who is passionate about Readers Advisory for all ages and new program initiatives that excite and inspire. Lizzy’s favorite activities outside of the library include memorizing poems (yes really), attempting to play the ukulele, eating french fries and milkshakes, being an avid Whoovian (10th Doctor forever), and insisting on calling Sarah Michelle Gellar “Buffy” regardless of how much time has passed.

Slides from Lizzy's presentation:

Project SET Crew (MLS Staff)

Project SET Crew (MLS Staff)
Project SET Previous Years