iREAD 2024 Showcase

iREAD 2024 Showcase

Monday, January 29, 2024

Learn all about the 2024 iRead theme: Read, Renew, Repeat. Get inspired with ideas for decorations, programs, and get a sneak peek at the theme for 2025.

Webinar Resources

Webinar Recording 

About the Speakers

Jessica Banko has worked in public libraries since 2013 and is currently the Adult Services Librarian at the Plainfield Area Public Library. She is the 2025 Showcase Coordinator for the iRead Committee. She has created and developed summer reading programs for teens and adults for the last four years. Jessica believes that libraries are for everyone and leads with empathy in her role. Outside of the library she enjoys a good London Fog, reading, journaling, cuddling with her pups and hanging out with her toddler. 

Becca Boland is the iREAD Content and Development Manager for the Illinois Library Association. Prior to joining ILA, Becca worked in a variety of libraries in the Chicagoland area and during that time spent many years as a member of iREAD committee including chairing the program in 2022: Read Beyond the Beaten Path. She has created and developed summer reading programs for the entirety of her time in libraries and has worked with patrons from birth to adulthood. 

Kara DeCarlo has been in libraries for 8 years and is currently the School Liaison for Orland Park Public Library. Outside of work, she is a parent to two teenagers, a Girl Scout Leader with 10 years' experience, and a volunteer with South Suburban Humane Society. Born in Washington, D.C., she developed a love of reading at her local public library branch, and an appreciation for the diversity of American experiences from her high school classmates who represented 81 different countries. With an undergraduate degree in art, Kara has a deep love of the picture book as an art form and believes that there is a reader for every book.

Erin Emerick is currently the Early Literacy Librarian at Schaumburg Township District Library. She has been working in youth services for nearly 20 years and has been planning reading programs almost as long. She has helped create many large-scale, library-wide events, including comic cons and Banned Books Week, and is now serving as co-coordinator of the 2025 iREAD Resource Guide for Level Up at Your Library. She is passionate about bringing the library out into the community and making it an accessible and joyful place for everyone. When she is not doing storytimes or reading, she enjoys baking, going to concerts, and traveling, especially to National Parks.

Ellen Fitzgerald is a Children’s Services Supervisor at Naperville Public Library. Ellen has over 15 years of library experience and has worked with children in educational and recreational environments dating back to her own adolescence. Creating a positive library environment where people are inspired to read, imagine, and learn is her passion. As a manager, Ellen strives to build and support strong teams who feel connected with the purpose of the library and enjoy coming to work every day.

Maisie Iven has been a full-time librarian since 2018, and currently serves as a Teen Librarian for the Naperville Public Library. They are the 2025 Chair for the Illinois Library Association's iREAD committee, for the theme Level Up At Your Library. In their role as Teen Librarian, they have worked with North Central College to run an annual educational workshop for local teachers to improve the diversity of their classroom libraries and curriculum. 

Gretchen Schulz is the Assistant Manager of Children’s Services and Early Literacy Specialist at the Aurora Public Library District. She started as a shelver at her local library, which has led to 19 years working in public libraries. She is the 2024 Chair of iREAD’s Read, Renew, Repeat, has served on the Chicagoland Recharge Committee as Co-Chair, and served on the 2024 John Newbery Award Selection Committee. She is passionate about creating welcoming atmospheres in children’s departments she works in. In her free time she plays with her dog Noodles, knits, cross-stitches, reads, and drinks a lot of coffee. 

iREAD Summer Reading Programs

Since 1981, iREAD provides high quality, low-cost resources and products that enable local library staff to motivate children, young adults, and adults to read.

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