Featured Speakers

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Kalahari Resort & Convention Center
1305 Kalahari Drive
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Additional Speakers

NOTE: WLA members and members of the Wisconsin library community-at-large, who are conference presenters, are not included in this listing. Nevertheless, their participation is critical to the success of our conference, and we are grateful for their participation! For contact information, members may consult the online directory at http://wla.memberclicks.net/. For non-member contact information, please refer to the printed Conference Booklet, which will be available at the conference and posted on the website as soon as it's available.

LindseyBeckerphotoLindsey Becker is the author of The Star Thief, her debut novel, published in April 2017 from Little Brown Books for Young Readers.

She is a lifelong Wisconsin resident, and currently lives in Paddock Lake with her husband, son and many pets.


amyclimerAmy Climer focuses on helping individuals and teams reach their capacity to be creative. Since 1995 she has worked with hundreds of groups teaching creativity, leadership and change, team development, and facilitation skills. She is the designer of Climer Cards, a tool used to evoke metaphors and generate ideas. She hosts The Deliberate Creative, a podcast designed to teach others how to lead innovation in teams. She has a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. In 2016, she received the Karl Rohnke Creativity Award from the Association for Experiential Education.

DrabinskiEmily Dabrinski is Coordinator of Library Instruction at Long Island University, Brooklyn, where she also serves as secretary of the Long Island University Faculty Federation. Drabinski edits Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, a book series from Library Juice Press/Litwin Books.


Ryan DowdRyan Dowd has worked in homeless shelters most of his career. He also trains libraries around the world on how to work with difficult homeless patrons and is the author of the upcoming ALA book, "The Librarian's Guide to Homelessness."




jennafriebelJenna Friebel
Originally from Wisconsin, Jenna now lives in Chicago and works at the Oak Park Public Library as a Materials Services Librarian. She is responsible for children’s and teen collection development. Additionally, she is currently serving on the 2018 YALSA Printz Award committee.

Matt IsaiaMatt Isaia is the Electronic Resources Librarian at University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. He received his Master's degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University with a specialization in Data and Knowledge Management. Matt's research paper was recently published in Library Philosophy and Practice, a journal that explores innovative library procedures, methods, and practices.


Sarah JoyntSarah Joynt
Sarah Joynt, has been Rochester (MN) Public Library’s Teen Librarian since 2013. She loves collaborating with teens and those who serve them to create programs and services to meet the unique needs of youth, and empowering teens to find their own voices. Sarah’s pronouns are she, her, and hers. 



Anna Haase KruegerAnna Haase Krueger is a children’s librarian for the Maplewood branch of Ramsey County (MN) Library and reviewer for School Library Journal who has been working in the field since 2009 and is passionate about early literacy and racial equity.




Tamara LeeTamara Lee is the children’s librarian for the New Brighton branch of the Ramsey County (MN) Library and has been working in the field since 2008. She is an ALA Spectrum scholar and is passionate about racial equity in the field of librarianship, early literacy, and diversity in children’s literature.



Amy LuedtkeAmy Luedtke has worked as a librarian for Hennepin County Library (HCL) since 1998 in a variety of positions, including children's librarian, teen librarian, and branch manager. Amy currently focuses on website usability and user testing and manages HCL's website content for youth and their caregivers. Amy earned her MLS at the University of Iowa.


DarcyDarcy Miller lives in Prairie du Sac, WI, with her husband, Ben, and two small children. Despite the fact that Ben has previously chaired the WLA Annual Conference, he is NOT the reason she is on the Friday panel, Authors on Authors: An Insider Look at Today's Middle Grade Fiction. If anything, he was a hindrance.

Darcy's first middle grade novel, Roll, was released by HarperCollins in May 2017. Her next book, Margot and Mateo Save the World, will be released in May 2018.

Bobbi NewmanBobbi Newman is a librarian, writer, consultant, and international speaker. She has been speaking since 2008 at local, national, and international events, from Iowa to Malaysia, covering topics such as the future of libraries, digital literacy, e-books, policy, and innovation and change. She is a Community Engagement and Outreach Specialist at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine where she helps public libraries meet the health information needs of their communities.

Rebecca Rachel OshlagRebecca and Rachel Oshlag
Rebecca is a retired special education teacher with a Ph. D. in educational psychology, and has presented storytelling workshops at the local, state, and national levels. Rebecca is one half of a mother-daughter storytelling team and has been telling stories for over 25 years and professionally as StoriesGalorious since 2010. StoriesGalorious has performed in public libraries throughout NY State for Summer Reading Programs, adult presentations, and special events.

Rachel, the other half of StoriesGalorious, holds an LMSW with specialization in working with children and adolescents. She has given demonstrations on learning and telling stories to beginning storytellers. She began storytelling as a child over 25 years ago as the result of the support and inspiration of a school librarian.

SallyJPla.HeadshotSally J. Pla is the author of The Someday Birds, an upper-middle-grade novel about a bird-loving boy on a life-changing journey. Her second novel, Stanley Will Probably Be Fine, will be published in February 2018. A picture book with Lee & Low, Benny, The Bad Day, & Me, will also be published in 2018. All her books feature neurodiverse characters as a matter of course.

nickpetrieNick Petrie received his MFA in fiction from the University of Washington and won a Hopwood Award for short fiction while an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. His first novel, The Drifter, was nominated for the 206 Edgar, International Thriller Writer Award, Barry Awards, all for Best First Novel and the 2016 Hammett Prize for Best Novel. He was also named one of Apple's 10 Writers to Read in 2017.  Nick Petrie is the 2017 Wisconsin Library Association Literary Award Winner and will be receiving his honor at this year's WLA Conference Awards Reception. He will also be part of the Literary Award program on Thursday at 4:50 p.m.


Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, works of historical fiction and nonfiction.

Her books have been awarded multiple Coretta Scott King Book Awards, Jane Addams Children’s Literature Honor citations, NAACP Image Award nominations, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor medal, several Parenting Publication Gold Medals, and American Library Association Notable Book citations.

Andrea was named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal, and is among “The 25 Most Influential People in Our Children’s Lives” cited by Children’s Health Magazine.

Andrea was selected to deliver the 2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture. This honor recognizes her significant contributions to literature for young people provided through a body of work that brings a deeper understanding of children’s books and their impact. 


Karen-Portrait-webKaren Rose
Karen Rose is a Principal consultant with Library Strategies, a consulting group of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Rose has over 15 years of experience in fundraising for a variety of institutions and organizations, including libraries, library foundations & Friends groups, higher education, museums, community development organizations and social service agencies. She also brings valuable experience working with public-private partnerships to address community-wide challenges such as school achievement, youth poverty and homelessness. Rose is passionate about library capital campaigns as opportunities to bring people and resources together to improve communities.

Steph RossoStephanie Rosso has been a web developer for over 10 years and has gathered rich experiences with non-profits, e-commerce, higher education and now libraries as a principal developer for Hennepin County Library (HCL). Stephanie helped establish in-house usability testing at the Library, and is focused on creating a rich and cohesive online experience for patrons. She earned her MLIS at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Jeffrey RussellJeffrey Russell, of Russell Consulting, Inc., specializes in guiding organizations in successfully responding to the challenges of continuous change.  With a focus on leading change, strategic thinking and planning, employee engagement surveys, leadership and performance management, Jeff has worked with organizations as diverse as Fortune 500 firms, nonprofits, the public sector and small family businesses. Jeff’s work with libraries includes individual libraries throughout Wisconsin and Illinois, and with a number of library systems in Wisconsin. Jeff is a frequent presenter at state, national and international conferences, including past WLA annual conferences, Wisconsin State SHRM Conferences, Minnesota State SHRM Conference, HR Florida State Conference, ATD International Conferences and Jamaica Employer’s Federation Conferences. Jeff received his Master’s Degree in Industrial Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he serves as an adjunct faculty member. Jeff and his life/work partner, Linda, have co-authored nine books. Titles include Leading Change Training, Change Basics, Strategic Planning Training, Strategic Planning 101, Engage Your Workforce and Fearless Performance Reviews (McGraw-Hill, 2014).

Marty SchreiberMartin J. Schreiber
Former Governor Martin J. Schreiber is one of the nation’s leading crusaders for Alzheimer’s caregivers. Including today’s event, he will have given more than 120 presentations by year’s end throughout Wisconsin as well as in Michigan and Florida. Marty uses humor and compassion as he shares lessons from his ongoing, decade-plus journey as caregiver. His book, My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver, is winning acclaim throughout Wisconsin and beyond. Prior to writing My Two Elaines – and while still caring for his wife at home – Marty helped the Alzheimer’s Association launch Operation Stronger Together in 2015. A multi-year awareness program, OST has led to a record number of calls from caregivers and families to the Alzheimer’s Association to connect them to important support services throughout Southeast Wisconsin. He also planted the seed for the development of the online Dementia-Friendly Employers Toolkit, which is now used by human resources departments and employee assistance programs. Marty has won several local and statewide awards for his advocacy work. 

Sarah ThomsonSarah L. Thomson

“No matter what I read, I hear echoes of it in my own writing. It's fun to see hints and shadows of the writers that I love coming out in my own prose.”

Sarah L. Thomson spent her formative years in Missouri and Wisconsin. She often notes that “sometime around the age of six or seven, I plunged into a book and never really came up for air.” Thomson delved into the epic saga of Middle Earth (Tolkien) and the wonders of Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain, along with classics by Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen.

During her college years, Thomson studied medieval literature and spent her junior year abroad at Oxford. After college, she took a job in New York in the publishing industry, where she would stay for ten years. Thomson worked her way to a senior editor position at HarperCollins Children’s Books. However, after writing her first book, The Dragon’s Son (2001), she stepped away from editing and took up writing full time. This involved leaving New York behind and making her new home in Portland, Maine.

Sarah L. Thomson is incredibly active in updating the blog elements of her website, from snapshots into her writing process to updates on author events and news.

Deadly Flowers is the first in Thomson’s series of adventures about ninjas in feudal Japan. Keep an eye out for Deadly Wish, the next book in the series.


jwestJessamyn West is a librarian and technologist living in rural Vermont. She studies and writes about the digital divide and solves technology problems for schools and libraries. Jessamyn has been speaking on the intersection of libraries, technology and politics since 2003.
Jessamyn is the author of Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide, and has written the Practical Technology column for Computers in Libraries magazine since 2008. She is a Fellow at Harvard’s Library Innovation Lab for 2016-2017.  Check out her long running professional blog Librarian.net.


Wildgen Michelle image006Michelle Wildgen is a writer, editor, and teacher in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to being an executive editor at the literary journal Tin House, Michelle is the author of the novels Bread and Butter: A Novel, But Not For Long and You’re Not You, and the editor of an anthology, “Food & Booze: A Tin House Literary Feast.” You’re Not You has been adapted for film, starring Hilary Swank and Emmy Rossum.


Williams Mita.

Mita Williams is a science librarian at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She's also a founding member of Hackforge, a community-minded hackerspace, and was, until recently, the lead of OpenDataWindsorEssex, an initiative to encourage the sharing of Open Data in the city. She’s been blogging since 1999 and still maintains three of them: Librarian of Things, The Magnetic North and A City To Live In.


Stu WilsonStu Wilson is a principal consultant with Library Strategies, a consulting group of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. He is the former executive director of The Friends of the Hennepin County Library, and has worked with and sat on numerous Library, Foundation, Friends and other nonprofit boards. As a consultant, he specializes in board development and trainings, as well as fundraising, strategic planning, and feasibility studies and capital campaigns.


Sarah ZettervallSara Zettervall, MLIS, MFA, is the founding consultant for Whole Person Librarianship, which applies social work concepts to library practice. Her experience includes leading innovative projects in public, academic, and school libraries and archives. She presents, trains and consults nationwide on library-social work collaboration.