Youth Services Conference

March 30, 2023 all-day
Salt Fork Lodge and Conference Center
Cambridge, OH

Sponsored by the Ohio Library Council

At capacity; registration is closed. | Registration Deadline: 3/23/23

Registration Fees:
Member: $150* | Non-member: $300

*In order to qualify for the member rate, the registrant must be an Individual member of the Ohio Library Council.

Conference Overview: This conference is an opportunity to have focused conversations on library services for children and teens, including ways to address learning loss caused by the pandemic, how to bring more families into the library, and ways to build relationships with kids, parents/caregivers, teachers and other community partners.

What’s Included: Morning refreshments and lunch. All handouts, provided by presenters, will be available online through the OLC app. Print them prior to the conference, view them from your personal device during the event or view/download them after the event. All handouts will be available online for 30 days following the conference.

Continuing Education Credits: For those working toward their Ohio Public Librarian or Ohio Public Library Staff re-certification, this conference will count as six (6) contact hours of credit.

Hotel Accommodations: To reserve a room for Wed., March 29, please call the Salt Fork Park Lodge directly at 740-435-9000, mention that you are attending the OLC conference, and receive a special rate of $120/night (plus fees and taxes). Reservation Deadline: March 8, 2023.


9:30 a.m. | Registration and Continental breakfast

10 a.m. | Welcome and Introductions (Second Floor Ballroom)

  • Michelle Francis, Executive Director, Ohio Library Council
  • Kelsey DeCoste, Conference Chair, Lorain Public Library System

10:10 a.m. | General Session — Panel Discussion (Second Floor Ballroom)

Addressing Challenges Through Collection Development and Program Policies

The panel will share how they have handled recent material and program challenges and updated collection development and program policies to help with future challenges. Panelists will also have time to take questions related to challenges and policies from attendees. Michelle Francis, Executive Director of the Ohio Library Council will moderate.

  • Nick Tepe, Director, Athens County Public Libraries
  • Chaz Carey, Youth Services Librarian, Worthington Public Library
  • Sandra Hedlund Tunnell, President, Ashland Public Library Board of Trustees

11 a.m. | Break

11:15 a.m. | Breakout Sessions (choose one)

Session A Session B Session C
Wheelright Room Carriage Room Anvil Room
Taking Teen Programming to the Next Level Early Literacy & Speech Delays Post-Pandemic: How Librarians Can Help Foster Speech Development in Storytime Generations Together

12:15 p.m. | Lunch and networking by job responsibilities (Fourth Floor Balcony)

1 p.m. | Breakout Sessions (choose one)

Session A Session B Session C
Wheelright Room Carriage Room Anvil Room
Redefining Teen Volunteering Post-Pandemic The ABC Storytime Solution The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Public Library and School Partnerships

2 p.m. | Break

2:15 p.m. | Breakout Sessions (choose one)

Session A Session B Session C
Wheelright Room Carriage Room Anvil Room
Budget-Friendly Tween Programs Kindergarten Club: A School Readiness Program Reimagining Summer at Your Library

3:15 p.m. | Break

3:30 p.m. | Breakout Sessions (choose one)

Session A Session B Session C
Wheelright Room Carriage Room Anvil Room
Focusing on the Caregiver: Cultivating Caregiver Knowledge, Well-Being, and Community to Create a Strong Foundation for Very Young Children Supporting Kindergarten Readiness with Explore More Storytimes Expedition Club: Creating Engaging After-School Programming for Grades K–5

Session Descriptions

4:30 p.m. | Closing Remarks & Adjourn (Second Floor Ballroom)

Conference Planning Committee:

Kelsey DeCoste, Chair
Lorain Public Library System

Julia Boxler
Cuyahoga County Public Library

Alexx Burris
Upper Arlington Public Library

Laura Erwin
Chillicothe & Ross County Public Library

Julie Gannon
Greene County Public Library

Kathleen Mockensturm
Akron-Summit County Public Library

Julia Shaheen
Stark County District Library

Lisa Soper
Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library

PDC Liaison:
Jessica Smith, Marysville Public Library

Session Descriptions:

March 30, 2023
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Taking Teen Programming to the Next Level
Presenters: Gabriella Cajuste and Sarah Wright, Columbus Metropolitan Library

With all of the changes teens have faced over the last few years, programming must keep adapting to stay current. Join us to learn about Columbus Metropolitan Library’s newly updated Teen Programming Philosophy that focuses on the future while supporting soft skills. These guidelines assist staff across our branches in finding ways to help teens define and create a successful life pathway. Library staff use the philosophy to intentionally add elements to their programs that facilitate growth in communication, critical thinking, and collaboration skills while helping teens reflect on their own well-being. Then, discover the innovative ways library staff are implementing this philosophy to support youth. Get a glimpse of the library’s Discord server, hybrid programs, teen tech kits, virtual career panels, system-wide teen surveys, and more! Find out how our new focus on social emotional health including self-care and restorative practices has improved our support and relationships with teens in our communities.

Early Literacy & Speech Delays Post- Pandemic: How Librarians Can Help Foster Speech Development in Storytime
Presenters: Kelly Halleen, Medina County District Library and Megan Palasik, Speech-Language Pathologist, Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Do you have families or caregivers concerned about their young child’s speech? This interactive workshop will help you develop skills to foster speech development in storytime. Learn techniques from a Speech Language Pathologist and Children’s Librarian. Understand the latest research concerning post-pandemic developmental delays and updates to CDC milestones. Create partnerships with Ohio Help Me Grow, Ohio Early Intervention and local schools. The workshop will include songs, rhymes and activities that will enhance your early literacy based storytime to focus on speech development for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

Generations Together
Presenters: Mary Anne Russo and Dana Tirabassi, Hubbard Public Library

Connecting the generations provides mutual enjoyment and promotes well-being for people at both ends of the age spectrum. This presentation will offer insight into the benefits of intergenerational library programs, highlight collaborative programs conducted at an assisted living facility prior to the pandemic, and explore in detail the planning and implementation of the Reading Pals intergenerational book group conducted at Hubbard Public Library during the summer of 2022. Prior to the pandemic, our library had established a relationship with the assisted living facility in our community, successfully providing intergenerational programs on a regular basis. The pandemic brought those programs to an abrupt halt and caused social and emotional loss for people of all ages. Seeking a way to re-establish our collaboration, and to increase meaningful interaction among program participants, Hubbard Public Library devised the Reading Pals book group. For the four weeks of the program, assisted living residents visited the library where they met with patron families with school age children, read a picture book together and participated in related activities.

March 30, 2023
1-2 p.m.

Redefining Teen Volunteering Post-Pandemic
Presenter: Alexx Burris, Upper Arlington Public Library

Do you need new ideas to keep your teen volunteers engaged? Do you want to share your post-pandemic teen volunteer success or are you looking to start a teen volunteer program and don’t know where to start? This session will provide the opportunity to ask questions, share triumphs, and learn about meaningful ways to connect with your teen volunteers.

The ABC Storytime Solution
Presenters: Adriana Cunningham, Brown County Public Library

ABC Storytime was developed at the Brown County Public Library’s Mt. Orab branch in response to declining early-literacy skills due to the pandemic. The program began in September of 2021. By 2022, average attendance for storytime had increased by 72% since 2019, and growth continues to increase steadily into 2023. Feedback from families about their children’s kindergarten-readiness encouraged us to continue building and improving the ABC Storytime Solution, and it was included as an anchor program in the library’s application for an Ohio Department of Education Libraries Accelerating Learning (LAL) grant. The library was awarded an LAL grant ($249,572), which includes expanding the ABC Storytime Solution to all interested families at all Brown County Public Library locations. This session will provide specifics about the ABC Storytime Solution, including: tips for making storytime attendance a habit for families in your community; examples of the most effective storytime plans; and curriculum kits created to be used by families at home, as an extension of storytime sessions in the library.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Public Library and School Partnerships
Presenters: Angela Clock and Erika Hogan, Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library

What are some of the challenges and solutions to building strong and successful school partnerships? This session will discuss practical examples and strategies based on experiences with school visits to the library, librarian visits to schools, and other activities. Presenters will note benefits, barriers, challenges and solutions in addition to considering how partnering with school support organizations can create programming opportunities. From working with walkable schools to those further out of reach and collaborating with teachers, PTA, and related school support organizations, this session will address how common goals and mutual benefits can inform partnerships and enhance current programming. Plus, you’ll learn how this approach is ideal for those with limited resources and staff time at both schools and libraries.

March 30, 2023
2:15-3:15 p.m.

Budget-Friendly Tween Programs
Presenters: Anjanette Hook and Abby Lionberger, Greene County Public Library

Are you having issues involving tweens in your programs? They are too old for youth programs, but too young for teen programs. How do we include the age group of 9-13 year olds? This session will present successful and budget-friendly program ideas that you can implement back at your library. You will learn more about outreach to schools, book clubs to capture their interest, volunteens for the summer, and many other ideas. Learn how to get tweens involved and boost their attendance at your library.

Kindergarten Club: A School Readiness Program
Presenter: Amber Cristofaro, Dayton Metro Library

Join Dayton Metro Library to learn about the successful pilot of their collaborative school readiness program, Kindergarten Club. The program was developed to meet community needs in the area of learning loss caused by the pandemic, centered on relationships with stakeholders, and based in community collaboration. This program is intended for the families of children who are entering kindergarten in the upcoming school year. Find out how the program was designed, how participation from local schools and preschools was included, and how Dayton Metro Library is expanding the program using the Ohio Department of Education’s Libraries Accelerating Learning grant.

Reimagining Summer at Your Library
Presenters: Marianna DiGiacomo and Julia Shaheen, Stark County District Library

Are you responsible for implementing summer programming to combat learning loss and keep your community’s kids on track for school success? Do you want to find ways to ensure students and families get the equitable support they need to succeed? Learn how to cultivate community partnerships, leverage resources, and build relationships that will benefit children in vulnerable communities. Discover how open-ended activities can help you deliver programming designed to encourage creative thinking skills, strengthen reading, math, and science skills, while encouraging summer reading and learning through interactive, process-based activities. (Note: This Stark Library program received Honorable Mention at the 2022 ULC Innovation Awards).

March 30, 2023
3:30-4:30 p.m.

Focusing on the Caregiver: Cultivating Caregiver Knowledge, Well-Being, and Community to Create a Strong Foundation for Very Young Children
Presenter: Kathleen Campana and Michelle Baldini, Kent State University

Libraries recognize the importance of supporting children from day one with language, learning, and development, but there is less acknowledgement of the necessity of supporting their caregivers during this time. The first few years of a child’s life can be difficult and demanding for their caregivers; and caregivers, particularly those from underserved communities, often lack places to turn for support, advice, and understanding during this time. This can lead to stress and various mental health issues for the caregivers and potentially influence a child’s development and health. Project SHIELD, an IMLS grant, has explored the parenting experiences and needs of caregivers with young children, 0-24 months, from underserved communities, along with ways that some libraries are cultivating knowledge, well-being, and community for caregivers of very young children. Come learn about Project SHIELD’s findings and innovative, effective strategies for doing this work, particularly for caregivers from underserved groups.

Supporting Kindergarten Readiness with Explore More Storytimes
Presenters: Lisa Northeimer and Kate Shumaker, Worthington Libraries

In order to support a community of parents who chose not to send their children to preschool, Worthington Libraries developed a new model of storytime called Explore More. Learn about how adding activities after storytime can improve Kindergarten Readiness skills, enhance STEAM education, and overall better prepare preschoolers for their next adventure. Designed for children ages 2-5, but adaptable for younger audiences when needed, Explore More has served the Worthington Park Branch for 8.5 years. Preschoolers use fine motor skills with upside down coloring, develop math skills with counting and sorting, learn about food groups, and more in our interactive stations after a traditional storytime. Stations are typically themed and rotate weekly.

Expedition Club: Creating Engaging After-School Programming for Grades K–5
Presenter: Dani Weiser-Cline, Kingsville Public Library

This session will describe Expedition Club, an ongoing program created by Kingsville Public Library to address learning losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This afterschool program for elementary school aged children integrates literacy and maths skills with hands-on project-based STEM learning. Each six-week session of Expedition Club is built around a different theme and led by qualified educators from various backgrounds. The first part of this session will be a presentation of Expedition Club, its general design, examples of specific activities, and outcomes. You will learn best practices for determining community needs and interests, collaborating with local school districts, and creating a welcoming environment for homeschooling families. In the second part of this session, you will be guided through a brainstorming session to begin the process of creating a similar program at your library.