Spring Institute for Youth Services 2023



Spring Institute For Youth Services 2023 Featured Speakers

Opening Keynote with Kyle Lukoff

Kyle LukoffKyle Lukoff writes books for kids and other people.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Kyle worked at five bookstores, in four libraries, for three schools, as two genders, through one intersection: people, and books. He is most known for the Stonewall award-winning When Aidan Became a Brother and for Call Me Max. Other titles include Explosion at the Poem Factory, Too Bright to See, Different Kinds of Fruit, and If You’re a Kid Like Gavin, among others.

Find him on Twitter at @KyleLukoff, Instagram at @kylelukoffwrites and Facebook at fb.me/kylelukoffwrites.



All Conference Session: Trans Staff and Patrons: Where to Begin, Next Steps

With all the legislation around trans people lately, it is a topic that is fresh on people's minds. We seek to teach on the topic of how to treat your trans and gender non-conforming staff and patrons with the dignity and respect they deserve, as well as how to support them in your library.  After covering the basics, we will expand upon ideas for changes you can make within your library systems to go beyond the bare minimum.

Session Materials


Damon VerdemaDamon Verdema

Damon Verdema has a passion for talking about queer and trans topics. When not at the library, they love to cuddle with their two fur babies -- dog Theo and cat Shuri -- and husband, especially while playing board games and video games.




Simon DeSalvoSimon DeSalvo

Simon is a trans guy, a cat dad and a librarian who has been working in various metro Detroit libraries since 2011.





Friday Morning Keynote: Books Build Better Brains: How Promoting Literacy is Key to Early Brain and Child Development

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria will discuss the critical importance of the first thousand days of life and the key role human relationships and interactions play in that time period, along with concepts of toxic stress and how early adversity leads to lifelong issues. The importance of early literacy, along with key concepts about literacy development will be reviewed. The structure and concept behind the Reach Out and Read program (which provides early literacy promotion) will be discussed in this context as a workable approach for busy primary-care medical settings.

Session Materials

Dr. Dipesh NavsariaDr. Dipesh Navsaria is a pediatrician working in the public interest. He blends the roles of physician, occasional children's librarian, educator, public health professional and child health advocate.  With graduate degrees in public health, children’s librarianship, physician assistant studies, and medicine, he brings a unique combination of interests and experience together.

Additionally, Dr. Navsaria is strongly engaged with early literacy programs in health care settings, particularly around ideas of early brain and child development, which include neurobiological effects of adversity and poverty upon the developing brain.



Closing Keynote with Author Matt Faulkner: Word Smart & Picture Smart: Happily Ever After

In the beginning of 2016, children’s librarian and kid’s book author Kristen Remenar and her husband Matt were having a great time in Boston celebrating the release of their book, GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA at the annual ALA winter conference. Their weekend was capped off by an exciting meeting with their editor and then, just as they were about to head for the airport and home, a stroke. Seven years of recovery, (and writing and drawing) later, Kris and Matt are happy to be working on the next two books in the world of Groundhog and friends. Join Matt as he shares their creative process; making books while re-making their lives as husband and wife, illustrator and writer.

Matt FaulknerAcclaimed illustrator and author Matt Faulkner is a celebrated visual storyteller with 40 illustrated books to his credit. His award-winning art has embellished the pages of children’s picture books, graphic novels and gaming monster manuals for Dungeons and Dragons. His most recent graphic novel, My Nest of Silence, received the Junior Library Guild’s Gold Standard classification and his previous graphic novel, Gaijin: American Prisoner of War (Little, Brown and Company), won the Asian/Pacific American Library Association's Best Children’s Book award for 2015. He is married to kid’s book author and children’s librarian, Kristen Remenar. They’ve worked together to create the delightful picture book Groundhog’s Dilemma and live in the lower right-hand corner of Michigan.


Uniting the Michigan Library Community

MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.

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