2021 Adult Services Symposium

California Center for the Book is excited to host the 5th Annual Adult Services Symposium: RADICAL RENEWAL – Tuesday, May 11, 2021 from 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM.  This virtual event will feature engaging presentations sharing the best of adult programming and services, with plenty of time for collaboration and conversation. 

radical renewal event image


The theme for 2021 is Radical Renewal. We mean radical in all aspects, as in getting back to the roots, one who encourages change, and totally excellent. Read more about The History of Radical at Merriam-Webster. We mean renewal as in to restore, refresh, and rebuild better than before. We want to innovate, re-invigorate, and re-think. We want to learn from the past year, listen to our communities, and share ways to connect and engage with community members and each other through programming, services, and ideas that are maybe just a little bit radical. The theme was selected by the California Center for the Book Program Development Group, in consultation with the California State Library. We hope you love it as much as we do!


This event will feature a 5×5 format in honor of the 5th Annual Adult Services Symposium. If you’ve attended any of the past Top 5×5 presentations, you’re already familiar with the theme. If not, no worries, we’ll explain. The Symposium will feature five presentations. Each presentation will feature five core slides. Presentations will be 25 minutes in length, including Q&A. After each presentation, we will have a five minute break. We will wrap up with one 30 minute breakout session, featuring breakout rooms based on the presentations, moderated by a member of the Program Development Group. Attendees can choose which breakout room to attend.

Event Schedule: Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 10:00 AM – 1:20 PM

10:00 – 10:15 > Welcome & Overview –  15 minutes

10:15 – 10:40 > Presentation 1 – 25 minutes

Collaborative Engagement : Co-Creating Across Differences
This presentation will focus on community care, attending to the question of what distinguishes care that is supportive from help that is well-intentioned but misses the mark. Our work is based on the premise that even when there is an intention of care, unless the specific needs of the people being helped are taken into account and solutions are co-created with them, the impact on them can be negative, even harmful. Through role plays and discussions, we will explore how we can listen to a range of people who live, work, and see the world in ways that are different to us, understand how they feel cared for, and co-create solutions with them.

Presented by:
Dr. Nethra Samarawickrema is an anthropologist, mediator, and the Director of Ethnography and Design at Dovetail Labs. She has taught empathetic listening and difficult conversations at a range of workplaces, including the tech sector, non-profit and activist organizations. She has lectured at Stanford University’s d.School alongside Yuri Zaitsev and runs workshops on listening, writing, and product design through the Listening Lab. In her coaching practice, Listen Up!, she supports individuals and couples seeking to deepen their skills in empathy and move from conflict to connection in their personal and working relationships.

Yuri Zaitsev is a human-centered design consultant for corporations and governments, big and small, around the world: from Fortune 500 tech companies in Silicon Valley to banks serving small villages in Uganda. He specializes in healthcare as previous Lead of Concept Development of Advanced Manufacturing in Stryker, and now focuses on creating designs that promote physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. He has lectured alongside Nethra Samarawickrema at Stanford University’s d.School.

Introduction / Breakout Room Moderation by: Elaine Tai, Burlingame Public Library

Collaborative Engagement : Co-Creating Across Differences Resources

10:40 – 10:45 > Break – 5 minutes

10:45 – 11:10 > Presentation 2 – 25 minutes

Creating an Inclusive Writing Project During a Global Pandemic
When projects are created with those who need more support in mind they ultimately serve all users well. We saw this happen in our literacy programs when our libraries and learning centers closed at the start of the pandemic. Our project, which began as a means to connect learners and tutors virtually, grew into California COVID Diaries, a project of California State Library inviting Californians to respond to the pandemic through writing and art.

Presented by:
Chelsea Eggli is an education specialist and the Literacy Coordinator for Oceanside Public Library where she manages the Oceanside READS adult and family literacy programs. She leads learning book clubs and classes for adults with a variety of reading levels, maintains a specialized collection, creates individual learning plans for program participants and trains volunteer tutors to work with learners and monitor progress. In 2020 she developed a website inviting library literacy program participants to respond via writing to their experience with the pandemic with a team of literacy specialists. She received her M.Ed in Teaching from University of California, Santa Barbara and cleared her Education Specialist teaching credential after working with children and teens with moderate to severe support needs in a classroom setting. Her transition into library literacy was a natural progression into person centered, goal oriented, community based, inclusive education which sums up her educational philosophy.

Creating an Inclusive Writing Project During a Global Pandemic Resources:

Introduction / Breakout Room Moderation by: Ron Solorzano, Ventura County Library

11:10 – 11:15 > Break – 5 minutes

11:15 – 11:40 > Presentation 3 – 25 minutes

5 Ways to Reinvigorate Local History with Social Justice
In honor of Octavia Butler’s birthday and as a response to the call to action from Black Lives Matter, the Octavia Lab has researched and created a weekly collection of coloring pages of less-than-well-known heroes with short bios and location descriptions that inspire our community with what our forebears have done to advance social justice. As a makerspace with equipment, software and the ethos of “creativity within reach”, the Octavia Lab has made history telling work and representation of our diverse community an approachable creative act. Since June 2020, we’ve profiled over 30 less-than-well-known social activists, profiled more than 20 historical locations, published a coloring book as a fundraiser for our friends’ group, hosted a local history event, and created a teacher resource to help rebuild and inspire our communities.

Presented by:
After a 15-year career in library services, Vi Ha (Hà Thục Vi) is the Librarian III responsible for the Octavia Lab, the award-winning DIY makerspace and audiovisual space named for science fiction legend Octavia E. Butler, located at the Los Angeles Central Library of the Los Angeles Public LIbrary. The Octavia Lab, with its small collaborative staff is made up of a group of employees shared with other departments, who come together to help make prototyping and creative technology approachable and accessible by uplifting the community with the lab ethos of “creativity within reach”.

Introduction / Breakout Room Moderation by: Todd Deck, Tehama Public Library

5 Ways to Reinvigorate Local History with Social Justice Resources:

11:40 – 11:45 > Break – 5 minutes

11:45 – 12:10 > Presentation 4 – 25 minutes

Building Bridges
Neighborhood Connections is the Azusa City Library’s social services referral program. A hybrid of social service models and Library services, Neighborhood Connections builds upon community resources and provides a multidisciplinary approach to assisting patrons with various needs such as housing, wellness, employment, and legal referrals.

Presented by:
Sandra Serna is an Associate Clinical Social Worker and has served as a Community Resource Specialist with Neighborhood Connections since 2018.  Growing up in Azusa, earning a graduate degree at Azusa Pacific University, and having an extensive background in the social service field have all helped her understand and respond to the needs of the community.  Ms. Serna has helped with securing Measure H funds as part of LA County’s Homelessness Initiative and worked to coordinate Azusa’s Prevention and Diversion Program.  This new program has made it possible for Neighborhood Connections to grant Azusa residents in crisis with financial assistance and a specialized focus on preventing homelessness.  Neighborhood Connections has evolved and continues to address the complex needs of our community.  Through our one-on-one confidential meetings, we are able to link our library patrons to vital services in their community.  Since its inception, Neighborhood Connections has collaborated with our local school district, Azusa Pacific University, local faith based organizations, Union Station Homeless Services, and Azusa’s HALO program, all the while continuing to uphold a presence in community meetings.

Jennifer Agnew is the Adult Services Librarian at the Azusa City Library. She coordinates and implements programming for adults and families, and assists with identifying and researching innovative services that meet the needs of the Azusa community. Some of Ms. Agnew’s recent projects include promoting digital resources, reviving the Azusa Community Garden, conducting wellness programs for older adults, coordinating a 2021 Book to Action initiative on sustainability, and chronicling Azusa’s local history.

Introduction / Breakout Room Moderation by: Morgan Pershing, Sacramento Public Library

Building Bridges Resources:

12:10 – 12:15 > Break – 5 minutes

12:15 – 12:40 > Presentation 5 – 25 minutes

Radical Reading: Reaching Readers through Alternative Formats
How do you reach readers who cannot comfortably read or interact with a traditional book, whether due to a visual impairment, physical disability, or print disability? The Braille and Talking Book Library of Northern California is eager to share information on how individuals and community organizations can access free, alternative materials such as audiobooks, Braille, descriptive videos, magazines, and even accessible sheet music. Learn how to get your program, your patrons, or even yourself enrolled in this program today!

Presented by:
Laura Kellen received her MLIS from San Jose State University and worked in a variety of libraries before becoming the Outreach Librarian for the Braille and Talking Book Library of Northern California. When she’s not busy dreaming up new ways to promote the service, she raises service dogs for Canine Companions for Independence.

Introduction / Breakout Room Moderation by: Laura Ishizaka, Palos Verdes Library District
Note: The presentation was partially pre-recorded.

Radical Reading: Reaching Readers through Alternative Formats Resources:

12:40 – 12:45 > Break – 5 minutes

12:45 – 1:10 > Breakout Rooms – 25 minutes

We will host breakout rooms for presentations 1-4 . Attendees may choose which breakout room to attend. Rooms will be moderated by California Center for the Book Program Development Group members.

1:10 – 1:15 > Wrap up and Thank you!  – 5 minutes


Check the Event Schedule above for time marks, to jump to a specific presentation, and to view shared resources (slides, notes, links etc) for each presentation. The recording is embedded below and can be found at https://youtu.be/ZzrmciK6nl4.

Suggested Pre-Event Reading, Viewing, and Listening

Accessibility & Recording

The event will include live transcripts. If you require additional accommodations, please contact us. The event will be recorded for those who cannot attend, but we strongly suggest you attend synchronously for the best experience and chance to connect and collaborate with others across the state.


After the Symposium, please take this quick survey. Survey closes May 25, 2021.

Join us on Social Media and Slack

  • Social Media: Instagram and Facebook @California Center for the Book
  • Hashtags: #AdultServicesSymposium  #RadicalRenewal
  • Symposium Attendee Slack Channel Invite – Join the #symposium5-attendees channel in our workspace. Feel free to use this space to share information, ask questions, and collaborate both before and after the event. Please use your California Library work email when joining Slack.

California Library Association Conference 2021

This event is presented as part of the California Library Association virtual conference, Renaissance: The Library Renewal. See above regarding registration information.

About California Center for the Book

California Center for the Book is a program of the California Library Association, supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.