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Advisory Board

Katie Clausen (Chair) is the Early Literacy Services Manager at Gail Borden Public Library. She completed her MLIS at Dominican University, and holds an M.A. in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and a B.A. in Child & Family Studies from St. Olaf College. She has presented at the ILA Annual Conference, ALSC Institute, Opening Minds Early Childhood Conference, and the National Network of Medical Libraries (NNLM). She spent three years on the Bluestem Nominating Committee and currently serves on the Monarch Readers Committee. She is a certified ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Interface Presenter and Gateways to Illinois Instructor. Check out Katie’s articles in the ILA Reporter and Children & Libraries: The Journal of ALSC. Katie's specialties include: early literacy, children’s literature evaluation, play-based learning, advocacy, and best storytime practices.

Montoya Barker currently serves as a Special Collections Librarian at The Indianapolis Public Library (IN). A lover of library programming topics focused on cultural experiences, history, travel, and society, she has presented professional development sessions at regional and state conferences with an emphasis on adult programming. She is a member of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) as well as the Indiana Black Librarian Network (IBLN). Some of Montoya's favorite audiobooks/reads (so far) are A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley, The Five by Hallie Rubenhold, Listen to the Squawking Chicken by Elaine Lui, We Don't Need Roads by Caseen Gaines, Being Plumville by Savannah J. Frierson, and The Martian by Andy Weir.

Crystal Chen is a Young Adult Librarian at The New York Public Library. She has an art and printmaking background and was a 2018 American Library Association Emerging Leader. She is interested in the intersection of art, activism, and social justice and how libraries can create inclusive, responsive programming for youth communities. She’s an active member of the Chinese American Librarians Association and recently joined the We Here (wehere.space) administrative team to help support BIPOC in libraries and beyond.

Aryssa Damron is a children’s librarian with the District of Columbia Public Library system. Her research specialities lie in picture book biographies, Little Women, and pop culture representations of royalty. She serves on the Andrew Carnegie Medals Committee for 2022, the ALSC Membership Committee, and is involved with the Jane Austen Society of North America and Capitol Choices. She holds a BA in English from Yale University and a MSLS from the University of Kentucky. She is the author of "The Path to the Ivy League Leads Straight Through the Public Library," a chapter in the book Hope and a Future: Perspectives on the Impact that Librarians and Libraries Have on Our World, as well as a forthcoming chapter in Beyond the White House. She’s an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Junior League, and far too many book clubs.

With a career that spans both libraries and publishing, Brian Kenney is presently the director of the White Plains Public Library (NY). Previously he was the editorial director of Library Journal and School Library Journal, and worked for the Brooklyn Public Library. A passionate reader—especially of LGBTQ memoir and biography as well as crime fiction—he’s been a book reviewer, served on several iterations of the Notable Books Council, as well as the selection committee for the Andrew Carnegie Medals. A contributing editor for Publishers' Weekly, he writes about the intersection of libraries and publishing. His doctoral work at the University of North Texas explored the impact that reading for pleasure has on the lives of readers.

Jamie Kurumaji is a Supervising Librarian at the Fresno County Public Library, overseeing both metro and rural branch locations. Previously a children’s librarian with the same library system, she has worked and volunteered with libraries for 6 years, starting as a volunteer with the bookmobile. She was a 2020 ALA Emerging Leader and has served on the Geisel Award Committee, California Library Association’s Beatty Literature Award Committee, and APALA’s Literature Award Committees in both the Picture Book and Children’s Literature categories. Jamie is an active member of ALSC, APALA, PLA, the local Reforma chapter in Central California, and a member of JCLC's Fundraising Committee. 

Heather-Marie Montilla, a dynamic integrative leader, has worked in arts, libraries, cultural, educational, and community-building arenas for more than 20 years. She is currently the National Director of PBS Books, developing and producing book-related programs with a focus on DEI content to engage nationwide audiences. She teaches at Michigan State University and Eastern Michigan University. Having been an Executive Director for 8 years (including two years at Pequot Library), Heather has a wide range of experience in management, finance, strategic planning, marketing and fundraising, as well as designing and implementing resource development and management plans that motivate staff and increase community engagement. Heather holds a MLIS from Wayne State University and a MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs with an Advanced Management Technique and Finance and a BA from Duke University with a double major in Public Policy and Art History, as well as a Markets and Management certificate. In addition, Heather participated in the DeVos Institute of Arts Management programs focused on Capacity Building, Strategic Planning and Strategic Planning Implementation. 

Shamika J. Simpson is the Collection Development & Outreach Librarian and Associate Professor at Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California. She is passionate about EDI in academic libraries and social justice issues. In her Introduction to Acquisitions course she exposes students to social justice and EDI topics, as well as sharing the experiences of BIPOC librarians through her career conversations series. Her current projects include: Career Conversations series, Love of Books book club and Book Love, a booklist and virtual storytime for preschoolers. Shamika is currently serving as a BCALA Board Member, BCALA Marketing and Publications Committee member, JCLC Fundraising Committee member and NCAAL Fundraising Committee member.

James Tyner is an adult programming librarian. He has worked in libraires for twenty years, serving rural and urban branches. He has presented panels on his public library programs at ALA, PLA, CLA, and the Adult Services Symposium. Tyner has an MLIS degree as well as an MFA in Creative Writing. His poetry has appeared in many academic journals, anthologies including The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, and an award-winning chapbook. He hosts free writing workshops and panels at the library, doing his programs in both English and Spanish. Tyner served as the first poet laureate of Fresno, California.

Rebecca Vnuk is the Executive Director of LibraryReads. She has an MLIS from Dominican University and worked as a public librarian for a decade before becoming the editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist magazine. Rebecca is the author of three reference books on the topic of Women’s Fiction, as well as a best-selling book on weeding library collections. She was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2010 and was the 2010 PLA Allie Beth Martin Award Winner for distinguished Readers Advisory Service. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two tween sons (both of whom still love to read, whew!).

 

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Editorial Staff
 
George Kendall began as Editor & Publisher in 2019. When not managing Booklist business and editorial matters, George might be reading the latest dark but enthralling apocalyptic or dystopian nail-biter, or, on a brighter side, he might be found hanging out with his young daughter, or enjoying his local library, perusing books, toys, and Playaways, or attending story time or “messy art” and “little learners” programs.  George received his MA in Literary Studies from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.  He has worked in publishing for most of his career, but was once a professional musician and will sometimes, though very rarely, dust off his French horn and play a few notes.
 

donna-seaman.jpgDonna Seaman, Editor, Adult Books, is nearly always surrounded by books and galleys, whether she’s assigning books to our fantastic freelance reviewers, consulting with colleagues, editing, reading, writing, or planning coverage for future issues of Booklist. Donna heads to museums whenever possible, and was thrilled to be able to combine her ardor for literature and art in Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists​ (2017). Donna is also a very grateful and proud recipient of RUSA/ALA’s Louis Shores Award for excellence in book reviewing.
 
 

Susan_Maguire_headshot.jpg Susan Maguire, Senior Editor, Collection Management and Library Outreach, worked for a decade in public libraries before joining Booklist, with experience in reference, readers' services, collection management, and circulation. She loves reading and talking about reading and talking to librarians about talking about reading. Susan is a sucker for a love story and any book in which the dog does not die in the end. Under the very clever pseudonym Sarah Title, she has published almost a dozen romance novels. She has a BA in English, an MLS, and an elderly poodle named Starr.

 

annie-bostrom.jpgAnnie BostromSenior Editor, Adult Books, and Coordinator, Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, began her Booklist career as an intern in 2008. She then worked in both editorial and marketing before earning her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2015, and rejoining the Adult Books team in 2016, where she gets to work with books, and the freelancers who read them, every day. Like many of her esteemed Booklist colleagues, she is a cat person. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Annie.

 

For several decades Bill Ott was the distinguished, devoted, and creative editor in chief and publisher for Booklist. After retiring from that demanding position, Bill is now serving as a contributing editor, ardently and expertly covering crime fiction, sports, film, and other subjects. Follow him at @Booklist_Bill.

 

 

sara-hunter.jpgSarah Hunter, Editor, Books for Youth, came to Booklist following her work with Open Books, a literacy nonprofit in Chicago, and she's pleased to finally make good use of her MA in English from the University of Chicago by editing both the Books for Youth and Graphic Novels sections of Booklist and reviewing a surprising number of books every issue. When she's not reading (which is rare), she's baking something tasty to share or planning trips to the Pacific Northwest. Follow her on Twitter at @SarahBearHunter.
 

maggie-reagan.jpgMaggie Reagan, Senior Editor, Books for Youth, Booklist and Book Links, has two loves in life—books and horses. She holds a BA in English Writing from Denison University and attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute, perfect preparation for Booklist, where she spends her days trying to resist taking home yet another book. Away from work, you can usually find her reading a book or riding a horse, but not (usually) at the same time. Follow her on Twitter @MagdalenaRayGun.

 

Julia-Smith.jpgJulia SmithSenior Editor, Books for Youth, is a graduate of the MLIS program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She worked for six years as a bookseller, and was most recently a CyberNavigator with Chicago Public Library. She is also trained in aerial acrobatics. Follow her on Twitter at @JuliaKate32.

 

 

Ronny Khuri, Senior Editor, Books for Youth, has been an avid reader since age nine, when, in order to research the construction of a lightsaber, he turned to books. Seventy-odd Star Wars novels later, he gave up becoming a Jedi in favor of becoming a writer. Ronny joined Booklist after graduating from Hamline University’s MFAC program, where he studied Writing for Children & Young Adults. Prior to that, he worked for five years as a bookseller. His dæmon is a Siamese cat named Tiger Lily. Follow Ronny on Twitter @ronnykhuri.

Carolyn-Phelan.jpgCarolyn Phelan, Contract Reviewer, Books for Youth, spends her time reading, reviewing, and discussing books for young people, from babies through teenagers. But once or twice a week, she's transformed—into a mild-mannered librarian for a great suburban library, helping those same young people find those same books. "It's circular, but satisfying," she reports.

 

Heather Booth, Audio Editor, has been at Booklist since 2018, a librarian since 2002, and has been listening to audiobooks since they came on records that were tucked into paper pockets in her picture books. She enjoys YA fiction, leads a couple Girl Scout troops, drinks a lot of coffee, and is trying to learn how to hula hoop.

 

Candy-Smith.jpgCandy  Smith, Contract Reviewer, Adult Books, reviews audiobooks and videos for Booklist. She also leads a mystery book discussion group and heads the Readers' Advisory Department at the Villa Park Public Library. In her several minutes of free time, Candy squeezes in as many mysteries as possible and cheers on Chicago's "premier" baseball team—the Chicago White Sox.

 

Michael-Ruzicka.jpg Michael Ruzicka, Office Manager, was raised in suburban Los Angeles, received a BA in Creative Writing/Poetry at UC Santa Cruz, then moved to Birmingham, AL, where he spent five years owning an independent bookstore and earned an MLIS. He has brought his librarian skills to Vanderbilt’s Television News Archive, Battle Ground Academy, The Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Michael is very excited to be a part of Booklist and call Chicago his home.

 

Chris-Anderson.jpgChris AndersonEditorial Assistant, Adult Books, is a Booklist veteran who logs in and mails out new titles for three different editors, and tracks, processes, and formats the reviews of many freelance reviewers. In his spare time, he enjoys entertaining his son, Dean (born in 2012), and doing yard work with his wife, Kristin. A former member of the Rolling Clones, and currently playing with cover band Cloud of Shame, Chris has been known to jump onstage with any blues, rock, or country band and sing or wail away on harmonica. He proudly owns a harp in every key.

Abeje Schnake, Editorial Assistant, Adult Books, is a graduate from Northwestern University where she completed the fiction sequence and an honors thesis in creative writing. She loves reading, writing, and doing those things on the beach--as long as the Chicago weather permits.

 

 

Kelly Ferreira, Editorial Assistant, Books for Youth has been enchanted by the book world from a young age, starring as a page with their local library at the ripe age of 14. The enchantment held out, as they now hold a BA in English from Daemen University and a MLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They’ve attained 10 years of library work under their belt, too. Hailing from around the United States, but mostly Western New York, Kelly enjoys attempting every type of art project, attending concerts, or any slew of nerdy hobbies. On a cozy evening, you can find Kelly reading #OwnVoices horror and graphic novels to Momo, a personable tabby cat.


Beauregard-Sue-Ellen.JPGSue-Ellen Beauregard, Video Editor, coordinates coverage for our Video Review newsletter. During baseball season, Sue-Ellen can be spotted at Milwaukee Brewers games, cheering on her favorite team and placing bets on the seventh-inning sausage race (and if you don't know what that is, you've probably never visited the land of cheese).

 

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Production

ben-segedin.jpgBen Segedin, Production Director, oversees the layout and design of Booklist. When he is not making PDFs, he enjoys spending time with Dora, his adorable daughter, and Carolyn, his lovely wife. If there's any time left over after that, he might try to catch a flick, read a book, or take a nap.

 

 

Carlos OrellanaProduction Editor, lays out the Youth and Media sections of the magazine and performs a plethora of extremely exciting database-related activities. A rabid music fan and LP collector, he serves as a vital staff resource, watching bad TV so we don't have to. He is a Pisces.

 

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Business & Marketing 

Grace Rosean, Marketing Associate, is so thrilled to be a member of the Booklist team. She has a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s in American Studies from Columbia University. She previously worked at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group where she became well acquainted with the Flatiron cockroaches. In her spare time, Grace likes to run, read, engage in all things baseball, and obsess over Bruce Springsteen.

 

Harden-Cynthia.jpgCynthia Harden, Ad Traffic Coordinator, works with production editors on ad placement and handles ad billing and tracking, working on up to four issues at one time. Like a juggler, she keeps plates spinning, hoops twirling, and countless balls in the air. She loves her fifteen-year-old son, DeMario, who will be taking driver’s education soon, to her delight and woe!
 
 
dan-kaplan.jpgDan Kaplan, Periodicals Manager, has worked in the newspaper, book, and magazine publishing business for more than 25 years, and has experience in online publishing, digital product development, ecommerce, circulation, and consumer marketing. He's a coffee fiend, a news junky, an avid reader, and a public transportation commuter—but not necessarily in that order. Thanks to Booklist, he keeps his wife and two kids supplied with a steady stream of ARCs and review copies to meet their every need (known or unknown).
 
 
biz-hyzy.jpgBiz Hyzy, Marketing Specialist, is a former Booklist intern and editorial assistant. When she isn't creating digital products or reviewing for Booklist, she can be found training for her next black belt or immersing herself in the latest pop-up museum, escape room, or game shop.
 
 
 
 

Taylor Crossley, Marketing Coordinator, is a former Booklist editorial assistant, and has been in or adjacent to Chicago for most of her life. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago with a BA in Communications, she loves traveling for friends, cons and shows, and spends most of her time ingesting DND in its various forms, podcasting, or playing video games.

 
 

 

Columnists

Mary-Burkey.jpgMary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees, as well as an Audies Award judge. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column forBooklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at@mburkey.

 

michael-cart.jpgMichael Cart, author of "Carte Blanche" and a Booklist reviewer, is a former president of both YALSA and ALAN. Recipient of the 2000 Grolier Foundation Award and first winner of the YALSA/Greenwood Publishing Group Service to Young Adults Achievement Award, he is the author or editor of twenty-two books, most recently Cart's Top 200 Adult Books for Young Adults. Until his recent relocation to the Midwest he taught young adult literature at UCLA. 

 

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