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Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Jun 26 / Christine Illichmann

SLIS Alumnae Share Experiences and Knowledge at Allied Media Conference

The Allied Media Conference happens each summer in downtown Detroit. The event unites media-makers – those who create, share, participate in, or simply enjoy media in any form. Multiple alumnae participated in this year’s conference, including Alexis Tharp (MLIS ’13), Nakenya Lewis-Yarbrough (MLIS ’17), Shoshanna Wechter (MLIS ’11), Amanda Seppala (MLIS ’16), and Andrea Perez (MLIS ’05).

Alumnae Alexis Tharp and Andrea Perez co-presented “Soul of a Public Library” at the Allied Media Conference on Saturday, June 17 at 2 p.m. as part of the Radical Librarianship track. Alexis and Andrea presented with fellow librarians Kristy Cooper and Katie Dover-Taylor, all of whom were employed by the Westland Public Library. The presentation outlined their struggle in a toxic work environment and their efforts to create positive change in their workplace and community despite overwhelming resistance. They explained their termination from their jobs and provided updates on the current political and employment situation they face.

“I think our session went very well. For me, it gave a sense of closure for me with the whole Westland saga,” explained Andrea Perez. “Being at AMC always feels amazing, but it felt really healing this year. I loved seeing how much the Radical Librarianship Track has grown from just two years ago. It was hard to attract good sessions then. Now the track has expanded to include archives and museums.”

Nakenya Lewis-Yarbrough co-presented “Diversity in Youth Literature” with fellow youth librarian Katy Kramp from the Plymouth Public Library. The presentation discussed the importance of diversity in library collections so that young readers can see reflections of themselves in the literature they read. Recommended titles reflecting diversity in race, gender identity, learning and physical abilities were discussed and information for collection development planning to enhance collection diversity was shared.  Nakenya is the youth librarian at Belleville Area District Library where she merges her experience as an educator with her work in public libraries to encourage young readers and increase their awareness of diverse authors.

Thanks to Dr. Kafi Kumasi for the photographs of SLIS Alumnae at AMC!