Spring Workshop

The 2017 Spring Workshop of the Pacific Library Partnership Staff Development Committee

Two sessions of the same workshop:

Tuesday, April 11 REGISTER NOW
Castro Valley Library (Alameda County) 3600 Norbridge Ave

Tuesday, April 25 REGISTER NOW
King Library 150 E San Fernando St, San Jose

Both sessions 9:00 am – 1:00 pm (sign-in 8:30 – 9:00)
$15 registration fee. This workshop is appropriate for all levels of library staff.

Cracking the Codes: Libraries Promoting Racial Equity

Through a combination of filmed interviews and small discussion groups, participants will gain a practical framework for understanding and deconstructing systemic racial inequities, for creating positive dialogue, and for building skills that allow us to continue the discussion. Stories from dozens of women and men of all races describe and analyze inequity from individual and collective perspectives as well as through the lens of external relationships.  Tammy Johnson, from World Trust, will facilitate discussion of the stories.  Participants will learn to build more equitable relationships, communities, and institutions.

Tammy Johnson’s experience directing electoral and issue campaigns gives her insight into what makes people tick. She is a writer, dancer and racial equity consultant.  As an equity trainer with Race Forward, she assisted countless groups in developing initiatives, dismantling structures, and empowering communities. Bringing her creative self into each workshop and presentation, she encourages out-of-the-box thinking. She turns divisiveness on its ear and gives everyone an opportunity to be present, leaving participants with questions and the passion to seek answers outside of the room. Tammy’s knowledge is deep and her experience unique.

The April 11 workshop will held in the meeting room of the Castro Valley Library, a branch of the Alameda County library system.  On-site parking is available, and the library is close to the Castro Valley Bart Station.

The April 25 workshop will be held in a meeting room at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, the main library of San Jose Public Library. The Fourth Street Garage is across the street from the  library.

To register, please visit
Castro Valley Library: https://fs28.formsite.com/plpadmin/CrackingCPL/
San Jose Public Library: https://fs28.formsite.com/plpadmin/CrackingSJPL/

Thanks to all who attended on 4/19 or 4/20/16! The event was recorded and the video is now available:

We are pleased to make  Matt Sweeny’s Presentation available, and to provide you with contact details for Leonie Sherman, Santa Cruz, CA: 831-457-8751 compostitos@hotmail.com.

Safe Coping Skills handouts developed by Leonie Sherman w/ Santa Cruz Public Library:

ABCs of Verbal Diffusion
Detaching from Emotional Pain
Safe Coping Skills
Some Information on PTSD

Protect yourself: staying emotionally and physically safe in a public service environment. The 2016 Spring Workshop of the Pacific Library Partnership Staff Development Committee

This workshop is appropriate for all levels of library staff.

Since the doors of our libraries are open to everyone, it’s not unusual for public service staff to find ourselves in stressful situations when dealing with the public.  Patrons can behave in ways that are scary or hard to understand, and some situations can be emotionally exhausting or feel physically threatening. This workshop will help you learn to handle those situations.

Trainers will be Matt Sweeny, who has decades of experience working with and speaking about the mentally ill, and Leonie Sherman, a professional self-defense trainer who teaches people how to face fears and move through them. Matt will help attendees understand the thoughts and behavior of mentally ill persons, to help reduce staff fear and to improve the library experience for patrons as well.  Leonie will teach situational awareness, verbal self-defense, basic release from holds (how to get someone who has grabbed your arm to let go), and emotional recovery and wellness for staff.


Matthew Sweeny, LMFT, has been working with the mentally ill and their families since 1991. He is a licensed psychotherapist and serves as Clinical Director for Mateo Lodge Inc., which runs residential programs for people with serious mental illness and provides services to homeless mentally ill people and their families. He has assisted libraries with their mentally ill patrons and has helped ensure that they get treatment and housing.  He has experience working in the university, forensic mental health, veteran services and private practice.
Matt Sweeny’s Presentation

Leonie Sherman has been teaching self-defense for 13 years, reaching over 10,000 students as young as 5 and as old as 96, from Southeast Asia to Southeast Alaska.  She teaches simple basic tools that empower and increase confidence. In 2010 she was named a Community Hero by the United Way for helping to decrease crime in Santa Cruz County and make sure residents feel safe in their daily lives. She aims to provide a fun, compassionate and safe space for people to face fears and move through them.  Her curriculum focuses on awareness and avoidance as well as verbal and physical self-defense.

Thanks to all who attended the PLPSDC Spring Workshop on 4/21 or 4/22/15. The 4/22 event was recorded and the video is now available:

Why Do They Act Like That and How Am I Supposed to Deal With It? : Working Successfully with Teens, Children, and Parents in Public Libraries

This workshop is appropriate for all levels of library staff, especially for staff whose primary focus at work falls outside children’s and teen services.

All of us who work in public libraries have to occasionally address behavioral issues. Children and teens fill most of our libraries every day. We all work with them and, at times, with their parents. The presenters will provide practical techniques and resources to work successfully with children and teens.

Topics will include:

  • Child development by age group
  • Age of reason
  • When can a child be left alone?
  • Children with special needs
  • The reference interview and the child
  • Tween/teen brain changes
  • Teen behavior
  • Distracting vs. dangerous behavior
  • Tips for positive interactions with teens
  • Tips for talking with parents of younger children, of older children, and of teens

Handouts: Why Do They Act Like That? / .ppt Presentation

Sarah Flowers has worked in California public libraries for 20 years, including five years as Deputy County Librarian at the Santa Clara County Library. She was the 2011-12 President of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). She is the author of Young Adults Deserve the Best: YALSA’s Competencies in Action (2011) and Evaluating Teen Services and Programs (2012).

Penny Peck has been a children’s librarian for 30 years. She has led thousands of children’s storytimes, hundreds of book club discussions for students in grades 4-12, and hundreds of school tours and assemblies. She has taught classes in children’s and teen services at San Jose State University since 2002. She has written three books on children’s services, including Crash Course in Children’s Services, 2nd edition (2014).

2012-2013 Fiscal Year


Dealing with Change in the Public Library Workplace, presented by Enid Berman

Workshop PowerPoint
Workshop handout: Effective Responses to Life’s Events (The Serenity Prayer in a Box)
Workshop handout: What Behavior Do You Want to Change?


Staff Development Committee Program Planning and Implementation Outline, updated July 2012


2011-2012 Fiscal Year

Staff Development Spring Workshop – April 24, 2012:

What Do I Do Now? Handling Challenging Situations with Mentally Ill and Homeless Library Users.

Workshop handout: Limit-Setting with library patrons
Workshop PowerPoint
Group-generated strategies, organized by topic


2009-2010 Fiscal Year


Handling What You Can’t Control: Managing Stress in Today’s Libraries, presented by Enid Berman.

Online video of workshop
Workshop PowerPoint
Workshop handout: Are You An Optimist?
Workshop handout: Effective Responses to Life’s Events