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SWON Summer Planning Conference 2024
Session Descriptions
Summer Planning 2024 icon.png

Thursday, January 18th, 2024
9:00 - 4:30 pm EST

The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati
4015 Red Bank Rd
Cincinnati, Ohio  45227


10:00 am - 10:30 am


Adventure Begins at Your Library - Explore the CSLP 2024 Manual


Dig deep into the 2024 Collaborative Summer Library Program Manual! From artwork to program ideas, let's get ready for big ADVENTURES this summer!


Cari Hillman has nearly 20 years of marketing experience, though she uses assorted social media filters to make it look more like 5. She serves as the community engagement director for the MidPointe Library System, overseeing library marketing, system-wide programming and community partnership development. She assists on multiple local boards and committees, including Downtown Middletown Inc. and Women Enriching Lives. Additionally, she is the chair of the CSLP Social Media Committee. She hates Twitter, loves Instagram and dreams of enlisting TikTok celebrities in her library marketing campaign.


3:15 pm - 4:15pm


The Life that Books Built


Take an adventure into the entertainment world, fueled by books, media, and other resources at the local library.


Mark Borison is an actor, director, and producer. You’ve seen him lead campaigns for Pepsi, the NFL, Mentos, Nationwide Insurance, and so many more. You see him as the new voice of Jungle Jim’s International Markets for the Jungle Jim’s Podcast. You’ve watched him bathe in chili. Seriously, you watched that? And now you'll see him with the fine folks at SWON!



Session 1

10:40 - 11:30


Let's Have a Festival!: Large Event Program Planning




Does the thought of planning an event for over 100 people intimidate you? What about handling all the moving parts of working with multiple outside organizations? Learn about some large event programs that you patrons might enjoy, while also getting advice on how to make the planning and event run smoothly. From brainstorming the idea to the day of events,  we will cover planning documents, safety recommendations, finding possible partners, and handling any issues as they arise. There will be suggestions of ways to incorporate a large event into your Summer Reading programs, which are perfect for kick off or end of summer celebrations.


Morgan Lockard-Ellis is the Branch Manager of the Fort Thomas branch of the Campbell County Public Library in Kentucky. She earned her MLIS from the University of Kentucky in 2015 and has been working in public libraries since 2014. While her focus has been on adult and teen services, she has experience working collaboratively with children's and outreach services to create multi-generational programming that embraces all ages in the community. She has helped coordinate and plan large events including panel discussions, STEAM-themed festivals, teen after-hours programs, open houses, volunteer fairs, and even the grand opening of a new library building.


Tweens: Terrifying or Terrific? Programming for ages 10-14 (and beyond)


Room 1


From pop culture to gaming to week-long art camps, learn about different types of programs, techniques, and tactics that will draw in this hard-to-reach (and often-forgotten) age group.


Jill Frasher is a Youth Services Manager at Boone County Public Library. Prior to her management role, she worked as a Youth Services Librarian for 7 years at Kenton County Public Library. In her tenure there, she revitalized school age programming and was the first to implement tween-specific programming. She loves pop-culture, Broadway, and Taylor Swift.


Lunch and Learn at the Library: A Recipe for Success


Room 2


KCPL's Erlanger branch has started a Lunch and Learn series that draws 50-70 people each time it's held once per month, and patrons love it! The program has been going for about a year.  In this session we'll discuss where and how we find speakers, how the program is structured, costs to consider, and what we've learned along the way.


Mary Whitehurst Burkey is the large events programmer at the Erlanger branch of the Kenton County Public Library, where she has been for a year and a half.  Before moving back to her native state of Kentucky and entering the world of libraries, she spent more than a decade working in the museum field, mostly in Wisconsin. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two small children.  Mary holds an MA in Public History and a certificate in Museum Studies.


Engaging Customers & Building Relationships


Room 3


Learn how the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library increased engagement with customers during Discover Summer 2023 using the Wonder Wheel! We'll share quick and easy ideas for increasing library visits while building relationships with kids, teens, and adults. Then, get hands-on to make your own engagement tools to use at your library all year long.


Lisa Soper - Lisa has been working in youth services at public libraries for nearly 20 years. She received her BS in Biology from Ohio University, and her MLIS from Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis. After serving as a Children's Librarian at the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library for many years, Lisa moved into her current position as Youth Program Coordinator in 2016. In this role she enjoys connecting with and supporting CHPL staff on system-wide youth services programming, including Discover Summer. 


Rayya Crawford - After graduating from Wilmington College, Rayya began her professional career working in Cincinnati Public Schools through AmeriCorps and GearUP as a College and Career Advisor. She did 3 years of near-peer mentoring with 11th and 12th graders, helping create paths post-high school by connecting students and their families with resources. Rayya has been employed at the Cincinnati & Hamilton Public Library for 5 years, where she continues to work closely with and for the youth and often uses her toddler son as a point of reference in a lot of what she tries to accomplish.


Computational Thinking as an Early Literacy Building Block


Room 4


With the demand for STEM and Kindergarten Readiness programs constantly on the rise, bolster your early literacy programs with computational thinking (CT) practices! Based in computer science, CT introduces children to creative ways of thinking in order to solve problems and complete tasks in more organized ways. In this session, you'll learn the basics of CT, how to incorporate it into your existing programs in an age appropriate way, and how the Kenton County Public Library partnered with our local KET station to bring learning sessions based on PBS Kids' show Work It Out Wombats!, to Covington's families.


Lauren Brandstetter: Lauren is a children's programmer at the Kenton County Public Library, Covington Branch. Always interested in education, she has worked, taught and programmed for Great Parks of Hamilton County and the Girl Scouts before settling into libraries and receiving her Master's in Library Science from the University of Kentucky.


Emily Cornett: Emily graduated from NKU with a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education. Since then, she has taught preschool in the public school setting, worked as an Early Literacy Specialist at Boone County Public Library, and is currently an Early Childhood Education Specialist at KET, where her favorite part of the job is parent education and working with families of young children to help prepare them for school.


Session 2

11:40 - 12:30


Summer Reading: Camp Lane!




From excitement and nostalgia to exploration and intrigue, summer camp means something to everyone. Learn how one library system has taken the theme of summer camp and turned it into a multigenerational summer reading theme. Adventure with us into Camp Lane and get program ideas for your library that will satisfy patrons and staff alike!


Tess Catlin has been working as a Public Services Librarian at the Hamilton Lane Library for the past 12 years. She focuses on Adult Programming and Reference. As a kid, she often attended summer camp and also had a job working at a camp during her teenage years. She enjoys teaching patrons, community outreach and running the Lane Seed Library.  Outside the library, she can often be found volunteering with the Mason Community Players or being a wife and mom of two.


Cathy Hirsch spent 27 years working for Cincinnati Public Schools and raising a family before pursuing her degree in Library Science.  She has been the Children's Librarian at the Lane Librarie's Hamilton branch for 2 years.  Cathy attended scout camp as a child, was her son's Cub Scout leader and volunteered as program director for Cub Day/Twilight Camp for the Blue Jacket District in Dan Beard Council's for several years. When not at the library, she still enjoys pursuing outdoor adventures such as hiking and camping.

Building a Rapport with Teenagers


Room 1


Discuss how and why it’s important to foster a safe and welcoming space for teenagers to be themselves. We’ll share ideas for developing programs with the wants and needs of teenagers in mind.


Melissa Blackwell has been the Teen Services Librarian at the Pike County Public Library for the past three and a half years. She has two teenage boys: one a junior in high school and the other a freshman in college.


Trybrary - A Sorta New Concept


Room 2


The Trybrary encourages patrons to try something new. Materials are provided to get the patron started on a new hobby, activity, or skill for the month. The Trybrary was created to highlight the collection while enriching the patron’s experiences at their own leisure. Examples include cake decorating, dungeons and dragons, and bullet journaling. After a successful year of 12 different Trybraries, we are continuing into 2024 with 12 more topics that will keep patrons engaged and inspired. Join us as we share our journey with tips and ideas for your locations. 


Dorri Hegyi works at the Dayton Metro Library. She focuses on patron services, adult programming and keeping the displays refilled. Dorri has served at the library in a variety of positions including library aide, acquisitions clerk and children’s librarian and is currently the assistant manager at the Wilmington Stroop Branch.   


Nathan Forsha is an Information Services assistant at Dayton Metro Library. He has worked in small and large library systems with specialties in adult services, genealogy/local history, and technology. Nathan is certified as an Ohio Public Library Staff.


C You at the Park!


Room 3


A conversation to connect, collaborate, and find commonalities between parks and libraries. We’ll discuss how to identify commonalities between parks and libraries, ways to connect park and library services, and ideas for programs with potential for collaboration between parks and libraries.


Rhonda Ritzi is the Recreation Programs Coordinator at Kenton County Parks and Recreation. For the past 7 years, Rhonda has planned and implemented high-quality, diverse recreational programs, while enhancing her community by building partnerships throughout Northern Kentucky. Rhonda's passion for recreation can be traced back to Girl Scouts, having over 35 years of experience in outdoor programming, membership recruitment, leadership training and project management. She graduated from Morehead State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation with a minor in Health. She is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional through the National Recreation and Park Association.


Jennifer Beach is School Outreach Programmer at Kenton County Public Library, where she has been for 35 years. She has been providing sought-after in-school, after-school, library and community programs in a variety of settings including parks and other outdoor locations for more than 20 years. Jennifer excels at providing recreational programs that also provide educational content in a wide range of topics, notably those related to science and the environment. She cultivates collaborations with many community partners including Kenton County Parks and Recreation, local cities and parks districts, schools, educational organizations, and more. 

Jennifer is a Certified Master Environmental Educator through the Kentucky Environmental Education Council and is a credentialed trainer (Environmental Education Specialty) through the KY Governor’s Office of Early Childhood -Early Care and Education. She is a certified Training Facilitator for multiple environmental education curricula for early childhood through adult. Jennifer is currently serving as co-chair of the K-12 and Early Childhood Action Teams of the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education Board of Directors. This is her fifth term on the Board.

Session 3

2:20 - 3:30


Summer Reading Experts' Panel: Ideas, Information, and Banter




Join Elyse French in conversation with Jennifer Gooch, Kerry Rhoad, and Elaine Williams about all things Summer Reading.  Explore fresh ideas for summer programming, discover innovative initiatives from different library systems, and engage with panel experts boasting extensive experience in Summer Reading. Plus, get the chance to ask your burning questions during the discussion!


Elyse French, the current manager of the Union Township Branch in the Clermont County Public Library System, serves on many CCPL committees and currently chairs the 2024 Summer Reading Committee. Prior to her current role, Elyse served as the Assistant Team Leader (2016-2017) and later as the Team Leader (2017-2018) on the CHPL Summer Reading Committee."


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Making it Work in the Library


Room 1


Dungeons & Dragons continues to grow in popularity around the world! In this session, learn the game and go beyond the core rules to gain strategies, tips, and resources to best implement RPG programming in the library. Perfect for first-time players and experienced dungeon masters alike!


Jacob Crosen (he/him/his) is a Children Services Librarian with Dayton Metro Libraries. Coming from a background working in public education, Jacob has worked in libraries for the past five years, developing and implementing programs for patrons of all ages and backgrounds. Jacob's favorite color is green and his favorite books have pictures.


Graveside Tales: Hosting a Tombstone Trek


Room 2


Embark on a captivating journey through history and heritage with a summer cemetery tour.  In this session you'll learn how to plan, prepare and execute a cemetery tour as part of your summer programming.


Cierra Earl is a Local History and Genealogy Programmer at the Kenton County Public Library in Covington, KY. She has conducted tours of local cemeteries for the public, local community organizations, and for online audiences. Cierra Earl holds dual master's degrees, one in Public History and another in Library Science.


Crafting and Cozy Connections


Room 3


Crafting has actually shown to be quite therapeutic. Connecting with others in your community is so needed these days and showing hospitality makes everyone smile.  Hear about many craft ideas, meet other programmers and enjoy a cup of coffee. 


Jessica Markink has a background in sales and marketing.  She has lived and worked in three different continents and eleven  states. An interest in people, cultures, hospitality, learning new things, quilting and books have all been advantageous in her role of programming for the Boone County Public Library in Kentucky.


Summer Storytime Starters


Room 4


This session will help you get started on ideas for your summer storytimes. We’ll include some suggestions on books, songs/rhymes, and crafts or activities for both the Collaborative Summer Theme, “Adventure Begins at Your Library” and the iRead theme of “Read, Renew, Repeat.” You’ll also have an opportunity to share some of your exciting ideas with other attendees. 


Amber Cristofaro is the Early Literacy Coordinator for Dayton Metro Library. She has worked for Dayton Metro Library for 25+ years at a variety of locations. Amber earned her Bachelor of Science in Education, Early Childhood Education and Teaching, from the University of Cincinnati and her Master of Library and Information Science from Kent State University. As the Early Literacy Coordinator, Amber supports library staff systemwide in working with young children; coordinates the development of systemwide of early literacy programming and services for young children, their caregivers, and the educators who work with them; maintains relationships with schools, child care centers, educators, and families to provide services and resources that support their role as early literacy educators to young children; and participates in collaborative community initiatives that address improving school readiness, reading proficiency, and parent education. Some of her favorite projects from this past year include: Love Them Out Loud which distributed nearly 6,000 early literacy kits to families with infants, toddlers, & preschoolers via community partners and Kindergarten Club which brought over 500 rising kindergarteners and caregivers into the library for a series of school readiness programs.

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