Wisconsin Libraries Transforming Communities (WLTC)
I have worked for the Winding Rivers Library System, in west central Wisconsin, since 1999. The first 11 years I served as the Continuing Education Consultant, planning workshops and other educational opportunities for member libraries. I became the director in 2011 and have had the privilege of working with amazing people throughout the years to restructure services to best meet the needs of libraries and member communities moving forward. I am honored and excited everyday to do this important work.
After graduating grad school I accepted the position of Digital Services Librarian at the Chesapeake Public Library in Chesapeake, Virginia. There I had the opportunity to work with staff in a seven building library system to incorporate emerging technology into the libraries and help build the library's social media presence. I moved back to Wisconsin and was Overnight Supervisor of College Library. From there I became the Technology Consultant with the Public Library Development Team at DPI for three years. Missing working with the public, I accepted the Director position at the Monona Public Library.
Jen Fait has been working in public libraries for twelve years and is currently the branch manager at the Milwaukee Public Library Bay View Branch. Previously, she was the Head of Youth & Family Services at the Kenosha Public Library, where she was also the youth services liaison to DPI for the Kenosha County Library System. She participated in the PLA Leadership Academy in winter 2017, developing a community-focused project related to family literacy, and has presented at various conferences about STEAM and technology programs for youth.
I first wanted to be a librarian after taking my class of seventh graders to Central Library of the Milwaukee Public Library system for research. I remember thinking, "those people look like they really like their jobs." I started at MPL in 1997 and worked there for 17 years, as a librarian, a branch manager, and the Technical Services Manager. In 2014 I became the director of the Milwaukee County Federated Library System. Finally, in 2017, I moved west and became the 13th director in the history of the Waukesha Public Library.
For the past 15 years, Leah has been at the IFLS Library System, which serves 53 public libraries in west central Wisconsin. She coordinates the continuing education offerings of the system and provides consulting to member libraries on a variety of topics, including youth services; helping libraries consider ways to be more accessible, welcoming, and inclusive; developing partnerships and collaboration; de-escalation techniques; and self-care. She has been involved in the Wisconsin Inclusive Services Institute, several Wisconsin Youth Services Institutes, and various committees and sections with the Wisconsin Library Association.
Adriana McCleer is the Community Partnerships Supervisor at Appleton Public Library where she oversees programs, community engagement, outreach, and partnerships related to adults and teens. Adriana earned her Master’s in Library Science from the University of Arizona and PhD in Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her approach to librarianship is asset-based, collaborative, and community-centered. This approach grew out of an AmeriCorps experience volunteering as a neighborhood librarian and has flourished working with forward-thinking libraries like Pima County Public Library and Appleton Public Library.
With an MLIS from UW Milwaukee, I started my career as a children's librarian, working first at Beaver Dam Community Library, then as a library media specialist at Waupaca’s Chain O' Lakes Elementary School, then back into public service as a children's librarian at New London Public Library. I took a respite from library service when my children were young and worked instead as a consultant for Apple Blossom Books in Oshkosh. From there, I took a position as Director of the Winneconne Public Library, where I've been working for 11 years.
Angela Noel serves as Director at Brodhead Memorial Public Library, where she has the pleasure of working with an amazing group of professionals, community organizations, and patrons. Prior to joining the world of libraries, Angela spent nearly 15 years working for a social justice nonprofit organization in Madison, where she learned the ins and outs of administration, human resources, management, budgeting and finance, facilities management, and the importance of work-life balance. Over the last 20+ years, Angela has worked in public, university, and school libraries in various roles. Angela holds a MLIS from UW-Milwaukee and a BA in English from UW-Madison.
Erin Menzel is a long time resident of Brodhead, with many connections to the community. For over 10 years she worked for the citizens of Brodhead as a 911 dispatcher and another 3 years at the Green County Sheriff’s Office. While working full time and raising three daughters she attended UW Platteville and graduated in 2016 with a Bachelors in Criminal Justice and Business Administration. During her time dispatching Erin witnessed the realities of substance use, bullying and dating violence. The totality of the county wide problems with these issues led Erin to yearn to do more for the people of Green County and Brodhead and joined Better Brodhead as the Community Service Coordinator in October of 2018. In 2019 Erin was elected to Brodhead City Council, is the chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, member of the BID Board and co-chair of Youth in Government committee. Currently Erin is working towards becoming a licensed Prevention Specialist.
I obtained my bachelor’s degree in social work from Viterbo University and later my master’s degree in social work with an emphasis in mental health from UW Madison. My work experience crosses the age span from toddlers to the elderly, those grieving various life losses, including the death of a loved one. Specialities include family systems, abuse and neglect, adjustment disorders, anxiety, depression, finding meaning, hospice/end of life care, grief and bereavement. Community outreach has been a life long passion of mine, personally and professionally.
I've worked at the LEPMPL for nearly 13 years, the last 6 as the Programming and Communications Manager. My team and I plan, promote, and staff all adult library programs and also take the lead on creating publicity materials for all library services. We’ve done a great job of increasing attendance (300% increase in the last few years) but we’re looking to make a more meaningful community impact with our programming.
I graduated with a Master's in Library Science from University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee in 2009, and worked as a Youth Services Librarian at Contra Costa County Library and Oakland Public Library in the San Francisco Bay Area from 2010-2016, relocating back to the Milwaukee area and working in Youth and Teen Library Services since 2016. I am a past or current member of the California Library Association (CLA), Wisconsin Library Association (WLA), Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Committee (MCTBA), and presented on Library Staff Training Strategies at the California Library Association Conference in 2013. I have experience in inclusive library services, early literacy education, library training and community outreach. I am currently the Teen Services and Outreach Librarian at Franklin Public Library in Franklin, WI.
I have spent the last few years working with a community substance misuse prevention coalition and our local health department. Our work is guided by community need, and brings together diverse perspectives to address health related goals in our city. Over the past few years have consisted of mobilizing volunteers through community coalition work to influence change and meet the health needs of our community.
I am a health educator, rather new to my position as the Drug-Free Community Coalition Coordinator for Volition Franklin within the City of Franklin Health Department. Volition Franklin is a coalition that works to prevent substance misuse within the Franklin community. My position is unique in that I am interacting with many different community members and stakeholders everyday to try and work together to bring educational initiatives to improve the health or our community.
I graduated with an MLIS from the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign in May of 2019 and started at Kenosha Public Library in June of 2019. Since then, I've met community digital and technology needs through technology appointments, classes, and keeping patrons curious through technology. One of my goals is to demystify technology for the community, and make it feel at home in their hands. I am excited to join this new initiative and engage with the community better.
- Manager of Community Engagement / College & Career Readiness
- Vice President of Linda Faye Foundation
- Head Coach Boys Varsity Basketball at Kenosha St. Joseph Catholic Academy
- Boys & Girls Club Board Member
- Long Term Substitute Teacher in Kenosha Unified School District
- Vice President of Wisconsin Evolution Basketball
- Co-Founder of Lincoln Park Live
- 8th Grade Science Teacher at Mitchell Middle School, Racine, Wisconsin in Racine Unified School District
Library director at the Lake Geneva Public Library since January 2017. Prior to Lake Geneva, I was the director at the Brigham Memorial Library in Sharon, a reference librarian at Waukesha Public Library, and the Business Liaison Librarian at the Barrington Area Library in Barrington, IL. Librarianship is my second career - I started working in marketing and event planning at the American Chamber of Commerce in Frankfurt, Germany and subsequent marketing work included positions at ThyssenKrupp, Herrmann Ultrasonics, and Walgreens.
I served as the Director of the Bensenville Community Public Library (IL) from 1981-2015. During that time I initiated and/or participated in many inter-agency organizations and projects, including the Bensenville Intergovernmental Group, the Bensenville Community Foundation, The Bensenville New American School (national) project, the Bensenville Community Youth Services Coalition, and a combined building project with Bensenville School District #2 . I also was involved in the Bensenville Rotary Club, the Bensenville Historical Society and the Bensenville Arts Council.
I have been the director of Marinette County Library System for twelve years now. The system is comprised of one mid-sized library and six branches throughout our very large, rural county. I am very interested in rural libraries and the role they play in their communities, so in 2015 I drove across the United States and interviewed rural librarians for my doctoral dissertation. Despite the fact that I didn't believe anyone actually read a dissertation, my work was named one of the top dissertations of 2017 by American Libraries Magazine. After earning my PhD, I began adjunct teaching at Louisiana State University and Chippewa Valley Technical College. I created original curriculum for both schools, and I'm particularly proud of the rural libraries class that I wrote up for LSU. As you can see, rural libraries are important to me, which is why I'm pleased to be able to partner with staff and community members in my smallest library.
I’m a new librarian at 58 years old! My professional life is broad and varied. A degree in Comp Sci, led me to work in IT, then later as an executive assistant for a nonprofit. When I became intrigued with “the trades” I changed gears and worked as a residential electrician for several years. After the housing market collapsed after 9/11, I got a factory job, going from welder to machinist to lead person to planner. When my job was eliminated in a corporate merger, I worked as a bridge tender, then library assistant, and finally librarian for Marinette County.
I am the Museum manager at the Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center, Library and Museum. I began my employment in 2009 and have served as an archivist and tribal librarian for the tribe. During this time, I have served on the Wisconsin Valley Library advisory board and as a board member of the Cooperative Children's Book Center with the University of Wisconsin- Madison, School of Education. My work experience and the relationships I have built has given me a passion for educating the public on finding appropriate materials for teaching about indigenous people. In 2017, I was nominated and selected as Wisconsin Indian Education Association “Friend of Indian Education of the Year.”
Jenna received a Masters in Library Studies from UW-Madison in 2015 and currently serves as the Adult Services Coordinator at the Monona Public Library. Previously she was the director of the Rio Community Library in central Wisconsin. Her experiences have focused on program development, community engagement, and public library management. Prior to her work in libraries, she spent ten years as a programming specialist and fundraiser in the non-profit community.
Nightclub doorman & bouncer, department store shipping & receiving clerk, on-air radio talent, public television actor, television broadcast equipment salesperson, varsity high school girls and boys golf coach, and high school special education teacher.
Kelly Allen is the Youth Services and Community Engagement at the Oregon Public Library. She manages the children and teen areas along with bringing the library out to the community. She strives to have collections, programs, and spaces that welcome and inspire young people to learn and grow. Her dream is to one day have a library bicycle that she can ride to outreach visits.
Amy Miller has worked for the Oregon School District since 2006. She currently is the Community Education & Recreation Director & the District Coordinator for Advanced Learning. Amy is the Co-Chair of the Oregon School District Wellness Committee. She is a member of the Oregon Area Wellness Coalition, OregonCARES community coalition and a member of the Dane County ATODA group. Amy is also a member of the Dane County Healthy Kids Collaborative Leadership team and is the current President of the Greater Dane County Advanced Learner Network.
I changed careers in 2015 from Early Childhood Education to Library Studies and received my MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in December of 2018. I have worked in several libraries in the South Central Library System, and joined the Platteville Public Library as the Outreach Coordinator in June of 2019. I enjoy working with the public and love being involved in the Platteville community.
Kelly Podach Francis
Kelly has over twenty years' experience working in higher education and supervising staff that range from student to professionals. Throughout her career, creating a sense of belonging for staff and students has been her top priority. As a first-generation college student herself, Kelly knows the positive impact that belonging can play in the success of a student. She has worked to create that in every position that she has held whether working within the four year university setting or with a private company in a public private partnership.
Leslie has a Bachelor's Degree in History and Classical Humanities from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and her Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Leslie has worked in Academic, Special, and Public libraries for almost a decade. She has been the Director of the Plymouth Public Library since May 2018. She specializes in Reference and Adult Services and has a particular interest in library technology and digital literacy.
I have been the Community Ed and Rec director for the Plymouth School district for the past 14 years. Prior to that, I worked in banking for 21 years. I love being an active participant in our small community and enjoy collaborating with the other local groups to find ways to meet the needs of our community.
I graduated from UW-La Crosse with a degree in Recreation Management. Since college, I have worked in special events and volunteer coordination. In my current position, at Generations, I manage all facility rentals from business meetings to weddings. I also coordinate the intergenerational programs that occur at our center.
Shortly after graduating from high school in 2000 I accepted a part-time job at the Rosemary Garfoot Public Library and enjoyed the work very much. Since the beginning of 2013 I have been a Library Director and I'm currently at the Brewer Public Library in Richland Center. I have been an online distance learner for all three of my library related degrees. Also, I'm proud to say that I got to be a part of the Inclusive Services Institute in 2018.
Stacy Pilla, Brewer Public Library
Chelsea Wunnicke is an Extension Educator in Richland County. As a member of UW-Madison Division of Extension Human Development and Relationships Institute, she provides community leadership development, delivers evidence-based education, and connects Richland County to University resources. This is done with an emphasis on impacting the top health needs of the community through systems-change, improving family functioning, and financial capabilities.
Kerry Pinkner is the Children’s Services Manager at the Waukesha Public Library. Prior to her current position, she was the Head of Youth Services at the Pauline Haass Public Library in Sussex. She participated in Wisconsin’s first iLead program in 2015 and the Leading Waukesha program in 2019. She has presented at WAPL and WLA conferences, and Power Up: A Leadership Conference for Youth Services. In addition to championing reading for all ages, she is passionate about collaborating with other organizations in the community to provide beneficial resources and services to the underserved.