Meet the News Committee

Joel (Chair) is a public library director for the Illinois Prairie District Public Library, headquartered in Metamora, Illinois with five branch libraries in eight townships in Woodford County. He has a master’s in Library and Information Science from Dominican University and a bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Eureka College. Joel reviews for Library Journal and Library Media Connection and serves on the 2019 YALSA Morris Award Committee. He also serves as chair of this fine committee and on the ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee. Joel frequently acts in community theatre and has been a magician for twenty-six years. He met his fiance on May 4, 2017, proposed on May 5, 2018 and will get married on May 5, 2019.

Molly is the Early Literacy Coordinator at the Glenview Public Library in Glenview, Illinois. Before that, she was a Youth Services Librarian at the Fremont Public Library in Mundelein, Illinois and then a children’s reference assistant for over six years at Cook Park Public Library in Libertyville, Illinois.  Molly graduated with an MLIS from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and her undergraduate from Loyola University of Chicago. Molly will soon begin teaching a course at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee School of Information Studies as an adjunct instructor in the fall.

Thomas came to libraries later in life. This will be his third act career-wise. He was in marketing for a decade and corporate training for another decade and turned to public libraries to give more meaning to his work. Thomas has been on the news committee for two years doing mostly roundups of LGBTQ-related news. He is currently an assistant manager at one of the 63 branches in the Queens Library system: a fairly busy branch with 25,000 circ, 18,000 visits, and 9,000 program attendees per month. This has been busy year for Thomas, starting the organization’s first (in its 120-year history) LGBTQ + Allies employee group; they have hosted several all-day LGBTQ-themed events at various branches. They’ve also marched in the Queens pride parade with 55 people and their mobile library. Thomas is also on the board of trustees for his local village library on Long Island.

Brian is the head of the Information Delivery & Access Services Department (IDEAS) at the Northeastern University Libraries in Boston, MA, where he’s worked since 2005. Brian also does collection development & liaison work with the Philosophy/Religion Department. Before that he worked in the Harvard Library system full-time while he earned his MLS at Simmons College after earning an MTS at the Harvard Divinity School. Brian is fairly new to the GLBTRT, attracted by the recent emphasis on transgender issues. This is his first committee appointment for the round table, and he is looking forward to meeting and connecting with as many members as possible. Brian has been active in ALA since 2006, mostly in LLAMA, RUSA-STARS, and ACRL. He is a former section chair & board member within LLAMA. Brian enjoys discovering new restaurants and watching live theater and spending time with his spouse.

Katie is a Youth Librarian at the Grandville Branch of the Kent District Library System in Michigan where she coordinates Battle of the Books competitions, hosts STEAM programs and booktalks frequently. She’s been in the position for almost two years. Prior to working for KDL, Katie was a school librarian with schools in Grand Rapids, MI as well as in Chicago, IL for five years. She just finished a two-year term on the ALSC Membership Committee and is quite active with ALSC. Katie has written adult book reviews for Library Journal since 2011. She went to Dominican University for her MLIS and the College of Wooster for undergrad (BA in English). When Katie is not working, you can find her on the pickleball court, trying new restaurants with her dinner group or hanging out with her Goldendoodle puppy, Poppy.

Kara is the Liaison to the Collat School of Business at UAB Libraries. She’s been in the position for almost two years. In her current position, Kara gets to work with a broad and diverse population of students, faculty, and staff. Her professional experience is far-ranging. Her first job out of library school, was as an outreach librarian at the Braille & Talking Books Library in Daytona Beach, FL. Kara has also worked in a public library with teens. In addition to her MLIS from the University of Alabama, she also has a BA in Mass Comm and a BFA in Theatre from Auburn University. She was a 2014 Emerging Leader.

Sam identifies as non-binary, and their preferred pronouns are they/them/theirs or she/her/hers. Sam works in systems at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is proud to recently begin serving as the Chair of the Nevada College & Research Libraries for the Nevada Library Association. They’ve worked in a variety of roles, with a background in social work and counseling serving them well in Librarianship. They earned their MLIS from San Jose State University in 2011 and are currently working on a PhD in Education, concentration in Interaction and Media Sciences (aka human computer interaction) with the hope to identify evidence-based ways to leverage technology to increase literacy and assess services. Sam is an avid table top role player and board gamer, a computer nerd and a lover of all things sci-fi. They’ve been with their wonderful wife for 15 years, domestically partnered for 6 years, and married for 4 years.

elissa works as part of the Access and Information Services team at the University of Arizona. She has been in Tucson for about 2 1/2 years. Prior to her current job, Elissa was in interlibrary loan at UC Berkeley for about 17 years and worked as a page in the Northern UC storage facility for 4 years. In her job at the University of Arizona, Elissa works the late-night shift, 6 pm to 3 am (they are open 24/5)!

Tricia is the UX Librarian at Texas State University’s Alkek Library in San Marcos, TX. She came to librarianship after other degrees and careers – and loves it.  Tricia is currently having fun with games for learning while serving on the Educause Games and Learning Steering Committee and is hoping to become an allies training facilitator this summer.  She lives with her wife and cat (named Squirrel), loves to travel, hike, and kayak, is a mediocre woodworker, and terrible glassblower.

Anna is an assistant branch manager with the Johnson County Library in a suburban area of the Kansas City metro. She’s been with the system for just over a month. Anna is part of a management team that is working to open a new 18 million dollar library branch by August 5. She has an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a bachelor’s of literature from Missouri State University. Anna was an ALA Emerging Leader in 2016 and has been involved in round table work for about five years. She’s served as a social media liaison for two different library districts and loves generating content of all kinds.