Speaker Biographies

Speaker Biographies

Keynote Speakers

Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is the RA columnist for Library Journal, for which she writes or edits “The Reader’s Shelf,” “RA Crossroads,” and “Wyatt’s World.” She speaks internationally about readers’ advisory services, contributes to NoveList, and reviews audiobooks for Booklist. Active in ALA’s readers’ advisory efforts, she has served as chair of the Notable Book Council, The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration, and The Reading List. She was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2005, won the Margaret E. Monroe Adult Services Award in 2012, and the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award in 2013. She holds a PhD in Media, Art, and Text and writes widely on both RA and collection development. Her latest project is the 3rd edition revision of Joyce Saricks’ Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction (scheduled for publication in 2017).

Dr. Margaret Mackey

Margaret Mackey is a Professor Emerita at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. During the academic year of 2016-2017, she will complete a two-year half-time phased retirement. Her research and teaching address issues of literacy – print, media, and digital. Her most recent book is One Child Reading: My Auto-Bibliography, published in 2016 by the University of Alberta Press.


Breakout Session Speakers

Erik Komarnicki 

Erik Komarnicki asks the questions about public libraries that others prefer to ignore. A lifelong library user, his greatest professional fear is that libraries will avoid the discussions that most impact their survival. Erik worked in Alberta public libraries for several years and has recently switched to the vendor side of the equation. Despite this bio, he is quite amiable and easygoing.

Phyllis Steeves

Dr. Steeves’ session will draw on Indigenous perspectives, story and engagement with the senses in order to guide participants on a journey of critical engagement with ideas that inform our concept of literacy. Dr. Steeves holds a PhD with a specialization in Indigenous Peoples Education from the University of Alberta. Her work focuses primarily on factors which impact the well-being of Indigenous peoples. Her professional contributions span more than 20 years and include teaching and consultation in a range of education and health related contexts. Key was over a decade’s work in the non-profit sector in the field of literacy education, initially in an organization serving an Aboriginal population and then in a mainstream association located in Edmonton’s inner city. Dr. Steeves is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary.


Panel Speakers

Marty Chan (moderator)

Marty Chan writes funny books for kids and plays for adults. He’s best known for his Marty Chan Mystery Series. He’s written picture books, funny kids books, adventurous young adult novels, and thrilling plays for adults. He lives in Edmonton with his wife and their two cats, Buddy and Max. Marty is currently a Metro Library Writer-in-Residence.
Michele Feser

Michele Feser is the Assistant Manager in Youth Services at the Strathcona County Library.  She obtained her MLIS from Western University and has over 25 years of public library experience.  She is committed to using various approaches to early literacy to build strong families and communities.
David Hay

Among other things, David Hay is a husband, father, educator, facilitator, gamer, and nerd. But not always in that order. Having taught high school science (and technology) for ten years and spent seven years as a consultant encouraging innovation, his latest adventure is teaching grade six at the school where his daughters attend. He distinctly remembers when those little black squiggles on the page suddenly formed words.
Kieran Leblanc

Kieran Leblanc is an active participant in the cultural industries sector in Alberta. In addition to her role as executive director of the Book Publishers Association of Alberta, she is a founding member of the Alberta Partners for Arts and Culture, board member with the Book and Periodical Council and a member of the Member Advisory Committee with Access Copyright. Her past board involvement includes Shadow Theatre, the Forum for Young Albertans, Edmonton West Rotary Club and Creative Alberta. Kieran is completing her fourth year as chair of the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton.
Gail de Vos

Storyteller, librarian and former teacher, Gail de Vos has been an active promoter of the oral tradition of literature in Alberta for almost three decades. She tells stories at the Edmonton Folk Festival, schools, libraries, on CBC Radio, and abroad. Gail teaches courses on storytelling as well as courses on Canadian children’s literature, young adult literature, comic books and graphic novels at the University of Alberta in the Faculty of Library and Information Studies and is the author of nine award winning resource books on storytelling and folklore in popular culture intended for educators and library staff.