Our Presenters

Amy Byers

Chatham Public Library

Amy Byers has been the Library Director at the Chatham Area Public Library District since June 2009. She grew up near Springfield and  received her Master’s in Library Science at Indiana University in 2008.  Before becoming Director, she was the Library’s Reference Librarian for a year.  She recently got married and has a 7 year old lab mix named Percy.  The Friends of the Library’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theater Fundraiser is her favorite thing she does each year for the library.  Her husband Ryan writes the play, and members of the community and library perform three shows to benefit the Friends.  While she can’t act, she still likes pretending that she can. 

Beth Duttlinger

Lillie M. Evans Library District

Beth Duttlinger has been the director of the Lillie M. Evans Library District since 2010.   Beth has a bachelor’s degree in Library Science Education from Illinois State and a MSLIS from UIUC. She has more than 25 years experience spanning all types of libraries.

Cathy Grafton

Odell Public Library District

Cathy Grafton began to work in libraries in 7th grade and continued through high school and at her 4 years at Knox College. After a 25 year career in social work she is enjoying her "retirement job" as Director of the Odell Public Library District, in a very small rural community near her home in Pontiac, Illinois. Because of her continued interest in assisting patrons, job seekers and especially seniors in accessing social services the Odell Library upgraded computer equipment and online training with an Eliminate the Digital Divide grant in 2012 and continues to sponsor programs to help those in the community.

Diana Sussman

Carbondale Public Library

Diana Brawley Sussman is the Director of the Carbondale Public Library, and co-chair of Nonviolent Carbondale, a coalition that organizes and supports activities that foster nonviolent and compassionate interactions in the community (www.nonviolentcarbondale.org). Nonviolent Carbondale is the inspiration for the nationwide Nonviolent Cities Project, launched in 2016 by Nobel Peace Prize nominee John Dear. Diana is also on the steering committee for the Sparrow Coalition, a community partnership addressing issues of homelessness and poverty in Southern Illinois (sparrowcoalition.org). Her library partners with Southern Illinois University to place MSW social work interns in the library.

Joel D. Shoemaker

Oakwood Public Library District

Joel D Shoemaker obtained his MSLIS from Dominican University in 2015. He is the Library Director for the Oakwood Public Library District and was previously the Library Manager for Von Steuben Middle School in Peoria. Joel graduated with a BS in Elementary Education from Eureka College in 2006 and spent a number of years in the finance industry until accidentally falling in love with libraries with a part-time job in circulation at the Bloomington Public Library. He has been a magician for more than 25 years and acts in and directs for various community theaters in the area.

Leander Spearman

Belleville Public Library

Leander (Lee) Spearman has been director of Belleville Public Library since October of 2011. Lee was born and raised in St. Louis, Mo. Lee earned an MLS from the University of Missouri – Columbia and has for St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis County Library and St. Louis Community College Library Services. Among some of Lee’s most notable career accomplishments have been spearheading diversity initiatives at St. Louis County Library leading to a greater percentage of minority hires. Lee has overseen major construction projects at several libraries and most recently completed a 1.2 million dollars renovation of Belleville’s main library building. Lee has served on the Board of Directors of Illinois Heartland Library System and is the immediate past president of that board. Lee currently serves on the Illinois Library association Board of Directors.

Lesley Zavediuk

SHARE Circulation and Resource Sharing Specialist
Illinois Heartland Library

Lesley Zavediuk has been working in libraries since she was in high school and she’s been at the Illinois Heartland Library system for almost 5 years now. She received her Master’s in Library Science from the University of Missouri in 2011 and currently resides in St. Louis. One of her favorite things about being a librarian is being part of the vibrant library community in Illinois. In her spare time, she chases around a very busy 2.5 year old boy and enjoys throwing dinner parties for friends.

Janet McAllister

Rochester Public Library District

Janet McAllister is the Director of the Rochester Public Library District. Her past speaking engagements include Reaching Forward Conference, ILA Conference, Indiana Library Association Conference and Key Note Speaker at the North Dakota Library Association Conference. Janet was part of the management team at the Glen Carbon Library who received the "Best Small Library in America" 2010.   Her other achievements include receiving the ILA Excellence in Marketing Best Branding Initiative in 2011 and receiving the 2012 Commitment to Community Award from Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White.

Joanna Beth Tweedy, PhD

Editor and Host, Quiddity, NPR Illinois,
Novelist and Poet

An ardent foreign-adventurist with chronic and gravitational home-soil leanings, Joanna Beth Tweedy is the founding editor and host of Quiddity International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program, produced by NPR Illinois.

She is the author of  The Yonder Side of Sass and Texas (Southeast Missouri University Press) and her poetry and prose have been published in literary journals, books, and anthologies and have received honors from Glimmer Train, the Southern Women Writers Conference, Alsop Review, the Ray Bradbury Creative Writing Contest, Life Press, and Long Story Short, among others.

With degrees in education, English, and values-driven leadership from the Universities of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Springfield (UIS), and Benedictine University, Tweedy has taught creative writing, literature, and educational leadership, and has served as faculty-in-residence for the Capital Scholars Honors Program at UIS. She has served as an Associate Professor of Arts & Letters and the Dean of Academic Affairs at Benedictine University, a course mentor at Western Governors University, and as the lead writing faculty for the Center for Values-Driven Leadership.

Tweedy has presented widely in the United States and beyond on such topics as linguistic landscapes and dialects, literary publishing, and sustainability.  She is a native of Little Egypt in the Shawnee Hills of southernmost Illinois where she lives at the edge of a lake with her husband, their two toddlers, and (too) many animals.

Michael Baumann


As the Director I implement the policies and decisions of the Library Board and serve as an ex-officio member of the Board. I also serve as webmaster and technology coordinator for the library. I am in charge of District personnel and am responsible for the hiring and termination of all employees, the assignment of duties, employee morale, establishing standards of service and implementing staff development.  I also teach general education writing courses sporadically at Monmouth College. I hold a BA in English and Business Administration from Aurora University as well as dual Master’s degrees in English and teaching/education from Western Illinois University. I have worked in libraries for 10 years—six of those as director and I have administered the building of a new library facility and the transition from a 1915 Carnegie.

Pattie Piotrowski

University Librarian
Dean of Library Instructional Services
Brookens Library, University of Illinois Springfield

Pattie Piotrowski is University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services at the university of Illinois, Springfield. She is the current president of the Illinois Library Association and is an active advocate for libraries of all types in Illinois. Pattie was honored to be named Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year in 2016. #SupportLibraries #FundLibraries


Ryan A. Franklin

Reference Librarian
Illinois State Library

Ryan Franklin has experience in almost every type of library.  She has been a Circ Assistant, a Children’s Librarian, a Library Director, and now reference at the Illinois State Library.  In between these occupations she found time to work at EIU Booth Library, and multiple libraries in Denver, where she received her MILS. She is currently doing duty as Chair of Reaching Forward South 2017.  A prolific reader, Ryan can be found online and on social media platform under LibrarianRyan doing book reviews and many other things.

Sharon Ruda

Illinois State Library

Sharon Ruda began her library career at the Wilmington Public Library. After receiving a library scholarship from the Illinois State Library to obtain a masters degree, Ruda went on to work at Fountaindale Public Library as head of adult services, continued her career as Assistant Director of the DuPage Library Service, served as Coordinator of Policy and Planning for the Chicago Public Libraries and is now Associate Director of the Illinois State Library. She has managed the Talking Book and Braille Service for 17 years. In 2008 she was named Illinois Librarian of the Year by the Illinois Library Association.