Local Advisory Board Members
Member Services Librarian
Rhode Island Library Information Network for Kids, Warren, RI
Zach Berger is the Member Services Librarian for the Rhode Island Library Information Network for Kids (RILINK) and has over nine years of experience in school library media and library consortium services. He provides LibGuides consulting services, serves on the School Librarians of Rhode Island (SLRI) board, and is a member of the Resource Sharing Working Group of the Library of Rhode Island (LORI) network. Zach’s professional interests and strengths include technology, collaborative practice, consortium services, and resource sharing. He also works as a part-time reference librarian at Cranston Public Library.
Director, Education Programs
Rhode Island State Council for the Arts, Providence, RI
Sherilyn Brown is the Director of Education Programs for the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts where she oversees educational arts programming for children and teens. Brown also facilitates the GiveMe5 Program in collaboration with the RI Film and TV Office. GiveMe5 sponsors the statewide annual Media Teacher Lab, Teen Film Labs, and Teen Film Festival.
School Library Media Specialist and Department Chairperson
Barrington Public Schools, Barrington, RI
Suzanne Costa is the K-12 Library Department Chairperson for Barrington Public Schools and the School Library Media Specialist at Barrington High School. At Barrington High School she is involved in the transition to a 1:1 Chromebook environment and is interested in how technology can be used to improve teaching and learning within the secondary education setting. She recently completed her Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University.
Assistant Director and IT Coordinator
Cumberland Public Library, Cumberland, RI
Aaron Coutu is the Assistant Director and IT Coordinator for the Cumberland Public Library. His professional interests include young adult services, young adult literature, reference services, information literacy and user education, and technology. He currently serves as president of the Rhode Island Library Assoication and was a 2004 Library Journal Mover and Shaker. Additionally, Coutu is a per course instructor for URI's Graduate School of Library and Information Studies.
Digital Services Librarian
East Providence Public Library, East Providence, RI
Catherine Damiani is a recent MLIS graduate from the University of Rhode Island’s GSLIS program. She enjoys teaching and learning about digital literacy and emerging technologies as well as working in reference services. She began her first professional position in March 2015 as East Providence Public Library’s (RI) Digital Services Librarian where she currently works. As an active member in the American Library Association, Damiani currently serves on three ALA committees.
Library Media Specialist
Narragansett Elementary School, Narragansett, RI
Brien Jennings has worked as a school librarian for the Narragansett School system for the past thirteen years. He presented at the 2014 URI Summer Institute in Digital Literacy and has acted as a media technology consultant for the Harrington School of Communication and Media. In addition to his strong ties to URI and the Narragansett School system, he also has extensive experience in videography, media, broadcast journalism, photography,and film through his work as a freelance news videographer and photographer.
Youth Services Coordinator
Office of Library and Infomration Services (OLIS), Providence, RI
Danielle Margarida, the Youth Services Coordinator for OLIS, spent over 10 years as Head of Youth Services at Sharon Public Library in Massachusetts. In this capacity, she focused on building partnerships between the public library and preschools, public schools, and community groups, in an effort to expand and enhance library services for children of all ages. As the Youth Services Coordinator for OLIS, Margarida provides consultation and programs for children’s library services, children’s literacy, continuing education, and reading promotion programs.
Providence Public Library, Providence, RI
Jack Martin, Executive Director of the Providence Public Library, has over twenty-five years of public library experience including eleven years at the New York Public Library. His professional interests and experiences include implementing digital media and online programs, cultural and educational programming for all ages, non-profit work, and young adult library services. He is the past president of the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Assoication.
Chief of Library Services
Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS), Providence, RI
As Chief of Library Services at OLIS, Karen Mellor is responsible for the development of the master plan for library development as well as the coordination of interlibrary loan and resource sharing across the state. During her time at OLIS, she has worked on constructing both physical and virtual libraries, developing online resources/services, web development, and continuing education. She is invested in merging new technologies with traditional library services so that public libraries can thrive as community centers.
Library Media Specialist
Narragansett Pier Middle School, Narragansett, RI
As the Library Media Specialist at Narragansett Pier Middle School, Joan Mouradjian focuses on digital literacy instruction and programming in her school district’s community. She is a part of Narragansett Public School’s Digital Literacy Leadership Team, a 2015 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year, and a member of the Rhode Island Teen Book Award project.
Barrington Public Library, Barrington, RI
As the teen librarian at the Barrington Public Library, Tanya Paglia is committed to providing forward-thinking programs for her adolescent patrons. She currently runs a stop-motion club and is leveraging her position as a member of the Media Smart Librarian cohort to incorporate more media-based programming in her library.
Providence Children’s Film Festival, Providence, RI
Anisa Raoof has a wealth of experience and passion for psychology, art, design, community, and education. As Executive Director, she has worked to create sustainable, lasting partnerships with other Rhode Island organizations such as the Providence Children’s Museum, RIMOSA, RISD, and the Providence Community Library. These partnerships are, in part, an opportunity for the Providence Children’s Film Festival to strengthen their mission and presence in the Rhode Island community and provide various opportunities for media education, film programming, and starting conversations. In addition, Raoof is also the creator of Rhode Island’s online parenting resource KidoInfo.com. Her commitment to community and enhancing the lives of children across the state is evident in all of her ventures.
Library and Technology Integration Specialist
Rocky Hill School, East Greenwich, RI
Youth Services Coordinator
Providence Community Library
Cheryl Space is currently the Youth Services Coordinator for the Providence Community Library and has extensive experience in public library programming for children. She has served as the Youth Services Librarian for the Office of Library and Information Services and as the Coordinator for Children's Programming at the Providence Public Library. In 2006, Library Journal named her a Mover and Shaker in the area of Literacy and Learning.
Library Media Specialist
Paul Cuffee School, Middle and Upper
Jen Thomas has been a School Library Media Specialist for the past eight years. Her passion and dedication to education, technology, and media literacy have won her numerous awards, including the Web Seal of Excellence Award from the Massachusetts School Library Association and the Innovative Use of Technology Award from the School Librarians of Rhode Island. In addition, Jen is also a visiting lecturer for Bridgewater State’s Instructional Technology Program.
National Advisory Board Members
Senior Editor of Reviews and Teen Newsletter
School Library Journal, New York, NY
Shelley Diaz currently writes and edits for the School Library Journal, with her primary focus being reviews and the teen newsletter. Prior to her position at the School Library Journal, she had a career in publishing and worked for both Scholastic and Dial Books for Young Readers. She received her MLIS from Queen’s College and has extensive knowledge and experience with children’s and young adult literature as a writer, reader, educator, editor, and publisher.
Spark Media Project, Poughkeepsie, NY
Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt has been the Executive Director of Spark Media Project since 2007. In this position, she works to support partnerships between Spark Media Project and her community through workshops, exhibitions, and production services. Spark Media Project’s mission is to create hands-on educational opportunities for youth to develop their critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills through technology and media. NIcole’s experience prior to Spark Media Project includes nonprofit work, project management, and fundraising. She was a 2012 recipient of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce Forty under 40 award for young “movers and shakers”.
Michelle Ciulla Lipkin
National Association for Media Literacy Education, Cherry Hill, NJ
As the Executive Director for the National Association for Media Literacy Education, Michelle Ciulla Lipkin upholds the organization’s mission “to expand and improve the practice of media literacy education in the United States.” She has extensive experience in media and media literacy education, digital citizenship, and children’s television production. She serves on a number of media literacy and education committees and she lectures on media use and digital citizenship. Prior to earning her MFA in Media Arts from New York University, Michelle worked for Nickelodeon.
Director of Professional Development
Common Sense Education, San Francisco, CA
Kelly Mendoza develops multimedia professional development courses, videos, and trains educators on teaching digital citizenship, integrating technology into teaching, engaging parents, and helping students harness the potential of technology for learning. Mendoza also helped develop Common Sense’s K-12 Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum. Prior to Common Sense, through her work at the Media Education Lab at Temple University, Kelly produced education resources for PBS Frontline (Digital Nation and Growing Up Online), PBS Teachers, and taught undergraduate media and communication courses. She has a PhD in Media & Communication from Temple University.
Director of Education Technology
Catherine Cook School, Chicago, IL
Brian Puerling is an educator, curriculum consultant, and co-author of Teaching in the Digital Age: Smart Tools for Age 3 to Grade 3. In 2010 he received the PBS Innovative Educator Award and the PBS Teacher’s Choice Award. As the Catherine Cook School’s Director of Education Technology, he provides guidance and education for teachers on how to effectively integrate technology into their curriculum.
Faith Rogow, PhD
Insighters Educational Consulting
Faith Rogow is media literacy educator and consultant. She offers a wide range of professional development services that cover topics such as technology use, teaching in a multimedia world, teaching critical thinking, STEAM, and digital/media/visual literacy. Rogow is also the co-author of The Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World (2012).
Wendy Stephens, PhD
Professor and School Library Program Chair
Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL
Wendy Stephens worked in both print and broadcast media, then taught as a high school librarian for fifteen years prior to joining the faculty at Jacksonville State University. Her research interest include new literacies and the digital divide, electronic texts and multi-modal narratives, emerging technologies, intellectual freedom, history of youth services, children's and young adult literature, library program support for adolescent literacy, the culture of reading and reader-response theory.
Deborah Aubert Thomas
Media Literacy Consultant, Vice President of Programs and Learning
Philanthropy Ohio, Columbus, OH
Deborah Aubert Thomas is currently the Vice President of Programs and Learning at Philanthropy Ohio where she manages all of the organization’s educational programs. Before taking this position, she worked for the Princeton Area Community Foundation, developed the National Girls Inc. Media Literacy after-school program, and coordinated the Leadership Scholars program at the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University.
Joyce Valenza, PhD
Director of Library Science Program
Rutgers University, Rutgers, NJ
Prior to teaching at Rutgers University’s Library and Information Science program, Joyce Valezna was a school, public, reference, and special librarian, giving her a unique and varied vantage point into the field. Her professional interests include digital literacies, technology and learning, digital libraries, school libraries, and youth and social media.