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October 23-26, 2018
Radisson La Crosse and La Crosse Convention Center
200 Harborview Plaza
La Crosse, WI 54601

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 https://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.

madelynn fullMadelynn Austin Lehman is an Adult Programming Specialist at the Warren-Newport Public Library in Gurnee, Illinois. She has experience in a variety of fields and fascinations, including marketing, makeup artistry and of course, libraries. Throughout all of those domains is the underlying theme: she loves serving and understanding people. 


Browne KatelynKatelyn Browne works as the Youth Services Librarian at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA. Before moving to Iowa, Katelyn worked as a school librarian in a PreK-12 school. As a librarian and a scholar, Katelyn is interested in both the academic study of youth literature and the use of literature in classrooms, libraries, and homes. 


Matt Cashion’s novel, OUR 13th DIVORCE, won the 2017 Edna Ferber Fiction Award, judged by Robert Olmstead. His short story collection, Last Words of the Holy Ghost, won the 2015 Katherine Anne Porter Prize for short fiction. His first home was North Wilkesboro, NC, in the Blue Ridge mountains where he was born, where his first words were mumbled, where his father’s side of the family still lives and where some of his other writing is set. Prior to earning an MFA from the University of Oregon, Cashion was an award-winning journalist. After working with facts for two years, he graduated to other jobs such as piano-moving, bartending and 3rd shift convenience store clerking. He lives now in beautiful western Wisconsin, next to the Mississippi River, where he is happy to be employed as a professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He lives with Heather, his partner, and their many wild and domestic animals.

Garm MaryMary Garm is Administrator of the Lackawanna County Library System, based in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and she serves as Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Library Development. She is Past President of the Pennsylvania Library Association and Past Chair of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. She is recognized for setting and achieving high goals, building cooperative teams, and cultivating an environment of creativity and excellence. She is a strong promoter of communication, inclusiveness, and responsibility as hallmarks of a culture of visionary public service.

Mary has been married for 37 years to Fred, a recently retired educator. He has served more than 20 years on their local school board. They have a son and daughter-in-law and are the proud grandparents of two-year-old Ethan.

Gerth Sue headshot-smallSue Gerth is the Circulation Services Coordinator at the Marion Public Library in Marion, Iowa. She received her MLIS from the University of Iowa in 2015, and began her library career with a stint at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo as their Library Manager.

Sue is a big book nerd, so on her down time she reads a lot and has stacks of books at home and boxes in the basement. She’s also obsessed with The Dead Files on the Travel Channel, and her dream is to be part of a paranormal investigation; her family is full of paranormal fanatics, so it appears to be a family trait. She spends her time outside of the library crafting cocktails on the weekends with her long-time partner Lee, working out at Cedar Rapids CrossFit (where every day you feel the fear and do it anyway), spending time with her very large family and eating food. Oh—and talking about books to anyone who wants to listen.

Grabenstein ChrisChris Grabenstein is the New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics, Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race, The Island of Dr. Libris, the Welcome to Wonderland series, and many other books as well as the coauthor of numerous page turners with James Patterson, including the House of Robots and Treasure Hunters series. Chris lives in New York City. 

Grassi ReneeRenee Grassi, author, blogger, speaker, trainer, and accessibility advocate,  is a nationally recognized leader in inclusive library services and was named a 2012 Library Journal Mover & Shaker for her work in this area. Renee was a member of the ALSC Committee for Special Populations and their Caregivers and one of the founding Board Members of Illinois’s Targeting Autism Initiative. She was also a co-founding member of SNAILS—an Illinois networking group dedicated to developing more accessible libraries to children and teens with disabilities. In Minnesota where she lives and works, Renee is the Youth Services Manager at Dakota County Library in Dakota County. She chairs her Library’s new Accessibility Project Team and is also a member of MELSA’s Inclusive Services Committee. Renee considers herself an accessibility and equity advocate, working to help make libraries inclusive and welcoming to all. 

Hall Alexander candidAlexandra Hall's M.D. training includes a bachelor’s degree in Science Education from NYU, a medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, stints as teachers for both Kaplan and New York City Public Schools, a residency in Family Medicine at the University of Vermont and years on the stage in musical theater productions.  In her career as a physician, she migrated from full-scope family practice to college health, with emphases on Women’s, Sexual and Transgender health care, and began to speak, both regionally and nationally, on those topics.  She enjoyed teaching so much that she now serves as both a practicing physician and a Senior Lecturer of Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and continues her educational outreach, speaking to health professionals, educators, students and community groups about gender and sexuality.  

SS Me Head Shot 2Kathy Helgerson is the owner of SimpleSteps to Technology. She started her business three years ago tutoring and troubleshooting helping people with technology frustrations.

Today she strives to enrich, entertain and enhance the lives of the aging gracefully generation with the latest in technology including important companies MyndVR, CaptionCall, teleCalm, and Eversound. "I am blessed to witness our seniors in the Coulee Region come alive with "Smiles on their Faces" thanks to each of these businesses."

Her "simple" mission is encourage each and every one of our Senior Living Communities to embrace these amazing technologies making them available to their residents all day, every day.

Matthew JanzenMatthew Janzen, as a copywriter at a Milwaukee-based advertising agency, wrote ads for clients of all sizes and tax codes — but his passion was beer. So he quit his job, grabbed a camera, and hit the road to learn more about craft beer than he could gather from newspapers and liquor stores alone. Two years later, he published a book about breweries and the industries that supply them. Now, Matt’s on the road again, spreading the word about what he discovered, and continuing his mission to drink good beer made by people who give a damn about their communities. 
Facebook: @stateofcraftbeer Link: https://www.facebook.com/stateofcraftbeer/ 
Instagram: @stateofcraftbeer Link: https://www.instagram.com/stateofcraftbeer/ 

Dean Klinkenberg is on a mission to explore the rich history and diverse cultures of the Mississippi River Valley, from the Headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. He started chasing this idea in 2007 by spending a couple of days in the Quad Cities in January. This led to more days in the Quad Cities, which led to weeks along the river north of the Quad Cities, which led to the passage of a couple of years and a couple of sets of new tires before the publication of his first three books: the Quad Cities Travel Guide, the Lansing and Le Claire Guide and the Driftless Area Guide. He’s still going, well past 120,000 miles of driving the Great River Road plus dozens of river miles in big boats and canoes, and beyond guidebooks to fiction.

Klinkenberg grew up in the Midwest, developing wanderlust at an early age thanks in part to a family that took long summer road trips and couldn’t seem to settle in one place for more than two or three years. After finishing high school in southern Minnesota, he set aside his ambitions to become a professional bowler and went to college in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he discovered the joys of living in a Mississippi River town. He lives in St. Louis with his husband, John, and a parrot, Ra.

DARCY MILLER_COLORDarcy Miller is the author of Margot and Mateo Save the World and Roll. She lives in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, with her two children and librarian husband, along with two pigeons, two cats, and a dog named Snake. You can visit Darcy online at www.darcyamiller.com. She is @DarcyAMiller on Twitter, and @darcyannemiller on Instagram. 

Rach MollyMolly Rach has spent the last 17 years working in and learning about libraries. She is currently the Library Director for the Blairstown Public Library in Blairstown, Iowa. Molly completed her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2017.


Rech Becky 2018Becky Rech is a librarian at Hennepin County Library - Minneapolis Central. She is an advocate for libraries to connect with their communities wherever they are, including online with social media. She started her career as the director of a small public library in Western Wisconsin. She is a member of HCL's Social Media Team, in which she has participated in live readers' advisory sessions on Facebook, the live tweeting and streaming of events and the regular creation of content for HCL's social media streams. She also has been instrumental in creating Hennepin County Library's guidelines and best practices for social media strategy. She has presented at the Minnesota Library Association Conference and the Library Technology Conference about Instagram and a team approach to social media with the Hennepin County Library's Social Media Team. You can connect with her on Instagram as @SheReader and Twitter as @SheReads.

Spratford Becky

Becky Spratford is a Readers' Advisory Specialist in Illinois specializing in serving patrons ages 13 and up. She trains library staff all over the world on how to match books with readers through the local public library. She runs the critically acclaimed RA training blog RA for All and is on the Steering Committee of the Adult Reading Round Table. She is under contract to provide content for EBSCO’s NoveList database and writes reviews for Booklist. Becky is also known for her work with horror readers as the author of The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror, Second Edition [ALA Editions, 2012] and is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association. You can follow Becky on Twitter @RAforAll. 

jessica fullJessica Stalker is an Adult Services Librarian at the Warren Newport Public Library in Gurnee, Illinois.  She’s addicted to podcasts, audiobooks and countless other hobbies. Jessica has extensive library experience working with all age groups and is particularly excited about creating a well-rounded experience for patrons through good customer service. 

Standerfer Amanda profile pix 2015Amanda Standerfer’s passion is helping libraries advance so they can create meaningful impact in their communities. Since 2002, Amanda has served as a consultant and facilitator, working with libraries on strategic planning, fundraising, organizational development, and capacity building (check out Fast Forward Libraries). Currently, Amanda is the Program Officer for The Lumpkin Family Foundation based in central Illinois. She loves melding her library and philanthropy knowledge – a “philanthro-brarian.” Previously, she was Head of the Adult Division at the Decatur (Illinois) Public Library and the Director of the Helen Matthes Library in Effingham, Illinois.

Amanda is a frequent presenter at library and foundation conferences and workshops, as well as an instructor and guest speaker for LIS and business/management courses. Amanda has twice been elected to the Board of the Illinois Library Association (ILA), most recently completing a three-year term in 2016. Amanda was also selected as a member of the first class of Synergy: The Illinois Library Leadership Initiative and is one of only two librarians ever selected for participation in Leadership Illinois. Amanda holds a B.A. and an M.A. in history from Eastern Illinois University and an M.S. in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

You can find out more about Amanda on LinkedIn.

Mai Shoua VangMai Shoua Vang leads civic engagement activities at Cia Siab Inc., a non-profit organization working to build a culturally vibrant Hmoob community through anti-violence programming and services which she co-founded. In 2013, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She has applied her journalism and digital media training to publicity campaigns and strategies that support the empowerment of marginalized communities. During her time as the Community Impact Director at the Hmoob Cultural and Community Agency, she learned to create new possibilities for collaborative teaching and learning by providing culturally relevant programs and services. Mai Shoua has written and produced a number of presentations in collaboration with student and community organizers for the state-wide social justice coalition, Hmong United for Justice, in which she also co-founded. Her anti-violence work has led her around the world. In 2016, she was selected as a U.S. delegate to attend the first Global Hmong Women’s Summit in Thailand. Mai Shoua grew up in the La Crosse area and is the oldest of four children. In her free time, she taps into her creativity by writing and painting.

XongXong Xiong is the Executive Director of Cia Siab, Inc. in La Crosse, WI. She has been a long time member of the La Crosse community since her family resettled in the United States in 1987. She has a Bachelor's degree in Art and Philosophy, a Master's Degree in Education from the University of  La Crosse-Wisconsin (UW-L) and a Doctorate in Teaching and Learning from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with an emphasis in Language and Cultural Revitalization. Her research interests include International Indigenous People's Movement, Hmoob women's critical research frameworks, traditional Hmoob oral knowledge, Hmoob education, and globalization and its threat to diversity, Indigenous languages, and Indigenous cultures.