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Action Team: Digital Equity

About This Page

This web page highlights the latest developments from ULC's Digital Equity action team, which is one of six member-led teams spearheading ULC's Going Forward from the Pandemic initiative.

This page receives ongoing updates. Please contact crogers@urbanlibraries.org with questions or feedback.

Learn more about ULC's action teams

New Leadership Brief Produced by This Team

ULC’s Digital Equity in the Age of COVID-19 Leadership Brief spotlights how the pandemic has both intensified the digital divide and created a window for action by raising the visibility of what it means to be unconnected in our hyper-connected world, especially for our most vulnerable residents, and offers action strategies, key messages and background information to empower library leaders to take on a more active and intentional role in advancing digital equity.

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A Message from the Team

    COVID-19 has surfaced and shed greater light on North America's need to make immediate progress toward digital equity. Millions of citizens are being left behind as digital skills and broadband and device access become ever-more critical in mitigating the education gap and supporting employees who are now working remotely.

    As well-respected civic institutions and trusted technology hubs, public libraries play a vital role in breaking down barriers to equitable digital opportunities and experiences.

    Our action team represents diverse ULC library professionals who are leading community efforts to strategically close the digital divide. By aligning our activities and sharing insights, we are working aggresively to map out the greatest challenges and opportunities for fostering digital equity as communities begin to move forward from the pandemic.


    Current Guiding Questions

      The Right Words

      How can libraries rethink the ways we talk about digitial inclusion, access and equity to build a stronger unified language and voice?

      The Power of Data

      How can libraries better harness data to map local digital inclusion needs, focus strategies and communicate with stakeholders?

      Partnerships

      Who are the most important community and national partners to help libraries achieve meaningful progress with digital leadership?


      Meet the Team Members

        At Sonia

        Sonia Alcántara-Antoine

        Newport News Public Library

        Director, Libraries and Information Services

        Sonia Alcántara-Antoine has served as the director of libraries and information services for the library since 2017. Before becoming a director, she held leadership positions at Virginia Beach Public Library and Enoch Pratt Free Library. She is a 2004 American Library Association Spectrum Scholar and is active in a number of professional association groups including the Virginia Library Association.

        330 Brigitte

        Brigitte H. Blanton

        Greensboro Public Library

        Director

        Brigitte H. Blanton has been with the Greensboro Public Library for 32 years holding positions of branch manager, senior assistant director, information operations/administration and branch management. Brigitte is very involved in the community, presently serving on several professional and educational boards. She is a member of professional organizations including the American Library Association, Public Library Association, North Carolina Public Library Association, North Carolina Public Library Directors Association and the National Forum of Black Public Administrators.

        Carrie Coogan 330

        Carrie Coogan

        Kansas City Public Library

        Deputy Director, Public Affairs and Community Engagement

        Carrie Coogan is deputy director for public affairs and community engagement at Kansas City Public Library. She works to advance the library’s vital role in the city and larger community, providing free access to information and resources, encouraging literacy, supporting lifelong learning through an array of public programs, bridging the digital divide by providing free access to the internet, using innovative solutions to enhance services and resources and serving as a gracious space for community gatherings.

        330 At Kathy

        Kathy Donellan

        San Antonio Public Library

        Assistant Library Director for Support Services

        Kathy Donellan has over 25 years of local government experience. Prior to joining the City of San Antonio in 2005, she worked for the City of Austin in the Controller’s Office, City Manager’s Office and the Budget Office. Since joining the San Antonio Public Library system, she has served as the chief financial officer and is currently the assistant director for support services, responsible for capital projects, facilities, finance, technical services and information technology.

        330 Shauna

        Shauna Edson

        Salt Lake City Public Library

        Digital Inclusion Coordinator

        Shauna Edson leads the library’s digital inclusion initiative, and works with library staff and community partners to create long-term digital inclusion programming in the communities the library’s eight locations serve. She serves as the chairwoman for Utah Communities Connect: Utah's Digital Alliance, as an National Digital Inclusion Alliance Fellow and as an associate instructor at the University of Utah.

        330 Bryan Gash

        Bryan Gash

        Mid-Continent Public Library

        Chief Technology Officer

        Bryan Gash works as the chief technology officer of Mid-Continent Public Library where he leads the technology services that the library offers.

        Michael Hibben 330

        Michael Hibben

        Roanoke County Public Library

        Administrative Librarian

        Michael Hibben is administrative librarian for Roanoke County Public Library in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. In addition to leading public services at the central library, he helps drive innovation, including the recruitment of SoftBank Robotics’ Pepper®, the humanoid robot — a first among libraries in the U.S. Before coming to RCPL, Michael worked in public libraries all over the country, including the Los Angeles Public Library. He was named one of Library Journal’s 2020 Movers & Shakers for his work with robotics in libraries.

        330 Clara Hudson

        Clara Hudson

        Virginia Beach Public Library

        Support Services Administrator

        Clara Hudson oversees the materials management and technology services divisions as a centralized service to libraries, and the Virginia Beach Records Management program serving all city departments, courts and schools. She has worked in both public and academic libraries for 23 years, serving in several positions over the past 13 years at Virginia Beach Public Library.

        330 At Mary Kapusta

        Mary Kapusta

        Calgary Public Library

        Director of Communications

        As the director of communications for Calgary Public Library, Mary Kapusta oversees all promotions for a library system that receives nearly 7 million visits annually and serves over 730,000 members. Mary has worked in marketing and communications within the cultural sector for over 14 years. She has been able to work in a variety of industries, including publishing, performing arts and library services. She specializes in strategic communications, brand development and awareness, content marketing and major projects.

        330 At Gabriel

        Gabriel Lundeen

        Chattahoochee Valley Libraries

        Deputy Director

        Gabriel Lundeen has been deputy director of Chattahoochee Valley Libraries in Columbus, Ga., since 2012. In addition to overseeing public service to CVL's seven branches and two bookmobiles, Gabe is passionate about technology and libraries, and how they can create community. He has worked in public libraries for a total of 16 years, including libraries in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

        At Gina Milsap

        Gina Millsap

        Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

        Chief Executive Officer

        As chief executive officer, Gina Millsap has been working on and advocating for equitable access to broadband and digital resources since the early 1990s when she co-managed the Columbia (Mo.) Online Information Network, the first publicly funded internet service provider in Missouri. Most recently, Gina chaired the Community Broadband Planning Task Force for Topeka and Shawnee County.

        Carla Moore 330

        Carla Moore

        Prince George’s County Memorial Library System

        Director of Information Technology

        Carla Moore brings more than 30 years of experience in information systems, information technologies and operations to Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. Moore oversees the architecture and implementation of IT operational and business support systems that the organization uses to serve the community and customers.

        Tara Neumann

        Tara Neumann

        Spokane Public Library

        Community Technology Director

        Tara has been the community technology director at Spokane Public Library since 2014. Previously she was the director of Tincan, a local non-profit organization focused on STEM education and broadband equity for over 10 years. Tara has experience in design and implementation of grants which include the National Science Foundation, Department of Education and Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunity Program to continually understand digital inequality and the barriers both necessitating and inhibiting it.

        Tolley Reeves Profile

        Tolley Reeves

        Rochester Public Library

        Assistant Director

        Tolley Reeves responsibilities include managing several direct reports and numerous phases of administration. Tolley has oversight of all ten citywide branch libraries and coordination of shared services which serve more than 210,000 residents of Rochester, N.Y.

        At Pam Ryan

        Pam Ryan

        Toronto Public Library

        Director, Service Development & Innovation

        Pam Ryan oversees the creation of transformational library programs and services for all ages and audiences with a focus on equity-based approaches, and includes partnerships, digital innovation services, literacies and learning, community outreach and engagement, community use of library spaces and special collections, digitization and preservation.

        330 At Rebecca Ryan

        ​Rebecca Ryan

        Saint Paul Public Library

        Public Services Manager

        As the library's public services manager, Rebecca Ryan led the formation of SPPL’s community services department, focusing on workforce development and early learning, delivered by cultural liaisons in their native languages. During her tenure with SPPL, Rebecca has facilitated partnerships with agencies and organizations serving immigrants and refugees, sat on the Northstar Digital Literacy Project’s steering committee and worked with libraries and adult basic education organizations across the state of Minnesota to help them collaborate better to serve users.

        330 At Nikki

        Nikki Scarpitti

        Columbus Metropolitan Library

        Director, Strategic Initiatives & Advocacy

        Nikki Scarpitti leads local, state and federal government relations for the library system, and executive communications for the CEO. Nikki is active in local efforts to expand broadband access and affordability in Columbus, Ohio.

        330 At Michelle

        Michelle Simon

        Pima County Public Library

        Deputy Director of Support Services

        Michelle Simon's education and business experience focus on technology and information management. In her role at PCPL, she works with local partners to leverage resources in an effort to provide access to technology and internet for community members in need.

        330 At Shane Smith

        Shane Smith

        Jersey City Free Public Library

        Assistant Director for Communications & Outreach

        Shane Smith oversees all public engagement efforts for the largest municipal library system in New Jersey, located in one of the most diverse communities in the United States. Raised in Jersey City, Shane is dedicated to improving lives in his hometown and elevating the role of the public library as a cornerstone institution for cities.

        330 At Sorth

        Kristen Sorth

        St. Louis County Library

        Director

        Kristen Sorth became SLCL's first female director on November 19, 2013. Under Kristen's leadership, the library has embarked on a multi-million dollar capital improvement campaign called Your Library Renewed. To date, the campaign has renovated or replaced 18 library branches. During her tenure, the library has focused on building community partnerships to provide innovative programming and cultural enrichment. This effort has resulted in several successful and award-winning partnerships with local organizations including Operation Food Search, We Stories and the Little Bit Foundation.

        330 Stavick

        Rebecca Stavick

        Do Space

        Executive Director

        Rebecca Stavick is the founding executive director of Do Space, the nation's first technology library. Stavick manages Do Space relationships, direction and strategy, bringing technology industry leadership and five years of public library sector experience to her role. Prior to developing the Do Space project, Stavick earned a Master's of Library and Information Science degree and served as Nebraska’s first Code for America Brigade Captain. Stavick is a Library Journal Mover & Shaker award recipient (2018), a "40 Under 40" Omaha Business Executives award recipient (2016) and a current member of the Urban Libraries Council Executive Board.

        Felton Thomas Headshot

        Felton Thomas, Jr.

        Cleveland Public Library

        Executive Director, CEO

        Felton Thomas, Jr. was appointed director of CPL in January 2009. Since then, he has positioned CPL as a community deficit fighter and launched initiatives aimed at addressing community needs in the areas of technology, education and economic development. Felton earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from University of Nevada, Las Vegas and his Master of Library and Information Science from University of Hawaii. His awards and accomplishments include being named a “Mover and Shaker” by the Library Journal, and acting as a fellow in the Urban Libraries Council’s Executive Leadership Institute. Most recently, Felton was named the 2019 Community Leader of the Year by Cleveland Magazine.

        Deep Dive Resources

          All resources in this section have been recommended by members of this action team.

          Distance Learning and the Digital Divide
          Digital Equity Strategic Planning
          Equitable Access to Broadband, Digital Devices and Tech Support

          More from ULC on Digital Equity

            Digital equity is one of ULC's three strategic focus areas. Use the links below to learn more about how ULC and our members are innovating and building partnerships to close the digital divide and foster digital-readiness.

            From ULC's Website

            From ULC's Member Knowledge Center (🔒 ULC members only)