Meet the 2023–24 PLIX Creative Learning Ambassadors!

November 6, 2023

We’re delighted to announce our 2023–24 cohort of PLIX Creative Learning Ambassadors.

These library professionals share our passion for hands-on creative learning programming and a keen desire to spread their love of what PLIX is doing.


Together, we’ll be supporting each others’ confidence in offering creative STEAM learning experiences for local communities, sharing our joys, stories, and practices with each other.

Through our online Community of Practice, this network of library professionals will share their explorations, excitement, and resources with their peers in libraries across the United States.


Meet the PLIX Mentors!

This year, the PLIX team is joined by Renaté and Melissa, ambassadors of our previous cohort, as PLIX Mentors. They’ll be sharing their love of creative learning and favorite facilitation practices, with us and the new cohort!


Renaté Elliott 🧘🏾‍♀️

Cobb County Public Library (Marietta, GA)

Likes/Interests: Renate likes to listen to music, cook, read or take long naps.

Looking forward to: She is excited to learn what fun programs the ambassadors have planned for their patrons!


Melissa Sprenne 🧚‍♀️

Richland Library Ballentine (Irmo, SC)

Likes/Interests:  She loves to make jewelry and going outside to take photos as a way to relax. And of course to read!

Facts/recently up to: Melissa recently participated in SC Pride and walked in the night parade with her library.

Looking forward to: Melissa looks forward to learning about what everyone is doing in their spaces and what interesting programming they’re doing.

Meet the PLIX Ambassadors!

These 20 Ambassadors represent a wide range of library professionals—in the roles they perform, the size and setting of their libraries (some tiny rural branches, others huge urban systems), their personal identities, and the depth of experience in librarianship. They share an interest in offering creative STEAM experiences for their communities. They share abundant enthusiasm for PLIX and its potential to transform library programming with its unique approach to hands-on, creative STEAM learning.


Azra Tahirovic

Environmental Science Program Coordinator Queens Public Library (Long Island City, NY)

Likes/Interests: She loves to drink a nice cup of chamomile tea and work on arts and craft hobbies.

Facts/recently up to: Azra has spent time recently making stamps with friends, and doing arts and crafts

Looking forward to: She is excited to learn about how the other Ambassadors are curating fun and creative STEM/Environmental programming.


Bella Holloway 🍄

Outreach Coordinator Saline County Library (Benton, AR)

Likes/Interests: In her free time,  Bella enjoys taking photos of her extensive plant collection to relax. She also has 5 chihuahuas that she calls her “pack.”

Looking forward to: While still relatively new to programming, Bella is so excited to get inspired by other people in the library world.


Brook Fischer ☺️

Youth Services Librarian Garland County Library (Hot Springs, AR)

Likes/Interests: She likes to play baseball with friends on her team called Flaming Majestics.

Looking forward to: Brook is excited to learn all she can from the other PLIX ambassadors!


Cela Janiec 👀

Studio Specialist Anythink Libraries (Thornton, CO)

Likes/Interests: Cela likes fiber crafts, knitting, crochet, and is planning on getting into weaving and spinning next.

Looking forward to: Cela is excited to learn new programming methods. Despite being a big spreadsheet person, Cela would also like to figure out how everyone else comes up with new ideas/organize those ideas.

Constance (Connie) Roberson

Children's Librarian Poplar Bluff Municipal Library (Poplar Bluff, MO)

Likes/Interests: Loves to engage children in learning through play!

Recently up to: She’s been creating engaging areas that are safe places for children to learn and play. There are very few things that are free in our area and just recently we have been working with our city park department to create programs for children.

Looking forward to: Connie is excited to be part of a great community partnership!


Coley Mixan 🤠 🥯

Information Systems Specialist Berkeley Public Library (Berkeley, CA)

Likes/Interests: Coley loves to dance and hike with their dog along with playing music and eating various shaped foods.

Facts/Recently up to: In the middle of developing staff support for programs, learning IT network structures, coding audio instruments, drumming/music recording/DJing, transitioning their library to newer networks and computers, and much more!

Looking forward to:  They are looking to learn how to build public libraries as public learning spaces, how can we combine resources across space/time to empower each other, and how do you develop and incorporate learning spaces in your libraries.


Clara Hendricks 🤷🏼‍♀️

Staff Librarian - Youth Services O’Neill Branch of Cambridge Public Library (Cambridge, MA)

Likes/Interests: Clara enjoys relaxing with a hot beverage and a book. She also loves to cook and bake.

Facts/Recently up to: Recently Clara celebrated one of her kid’s birthdays with a 30th anniversary screening of Hocus Pocus.

Looking forward to: She is looking forward to learning from others how they have adapted PLIX programs to meet the specific needs of their communities.


Doria Ramos 😴 🤣

Senior Library Technician - Youth Services Santa Ana Public Library (Santa Ana, CA)

Likes/Interests: She is an avid lover of reading and crafts, but sleep is a favorite. Her favorite color is purple and love astronomy.

Facts/recently up to: Doria is currently working on bringing a Read to a Dog program to the Santa Ana Public Library, an upcoming Children’s Day event and Di-November for next month.

Looking forward to: Doria is excited to learn about the different programs and ways others present programming to their community.


Emily Hutchison 🥹

Experiential Learning Associate Central Library-Lexington Public Library (Lexington, KY)

Likes/Interests: One thing she enjoys is reading and snuggling with her cats.

Facts/recently up to: Currently in the middle of planning a cardboard city and a robot parade programming! She also runs a STEAM Lab with 3-4 programs a week. Her catchphrase is “read, roller skate and talk too much.”

Looking forward to: Emily is excited to share and hear about future programming ideas.


Emily Souza

Youth Services Librarian Rockport Public Library (Rockport, MA)

Likes/Interests: Emily loves to read, take nature walks, swim in the ocean or quarries and hang out with her three kids, aged 14, 8, and 5. She also enjoys spending time with her pets.

Facts/recently up to: Emily recently adopted a new kitten!

Looking forward to: She is looking forward to learning from the cohort about effective and exciting STEM programs, she hopes to share the ideas with the kids and families in her library.


Heba Thiele 🤪

Young Adult Services Librarian Gretna Public Library (Gretna, NE)

Likes/Interests: Snuggling cats, eating chocolate, and partaking in the craft-obsession-of-the-month.

Facts/Recently up to: Currently is going to learn how to sew pajamas to give to her friend over the holidays!

Looking forward to: The ambassador program and the chance to meet and get to know all about the fellow ambassadors.


Jane Sawyer ✌️ 🥳

Teen Services Librarian West Orange Public Library (West Orange, NJ)

Likes/Interests: Jane enjoys getting out of the library and doing things with other community organizations.

Facts/recently up to: During this time of the year she’s often leaf watching and going for a nice drive.

Looking forward to: Jane is excited to hear about other partnerships people have in place in their community.


Janea Coker

Program Coordinator Barry-Lawrence Regional Library (Monett, MO)

Likes/Interests: Janea loves running programming for families to have fun together.

Facts/Recently up to: She can be seen around town delivering books on bikes or roller skates!

Looking forward to: She looks forward to trying new activities and having fun even if it doesn’t work right!


Jean Daley 😳 🤠 🥳

Assistant Director Erving Public Library (Erving, MA)

Likes/Interests: Jean loves to learn about coding, and all things tech. To relax, it’s mostly her dog, working on her 2 aquariums, hiking, and Zelda.

Facts/Recently up to: Jean is very excited to be working on programming for the neurodivergent at her library, with a grant from the ALA. While she only just began, she can already see how much it’s doing for her community.


Lesa Cole 🙂

Youth Services Librarian Iola Public Library (Iola, KS)

Likes/Interests: Lesa taught herself how to watercolor in July this year and getting better at it every day. She also loves spending time with my 5 grandsons.

Facts/recently up to: She has been spending lots of her time programming and event planning for the youth in her community. She also paints a picture every day!


Mallory Parsons 😅 🙃 🫠

Children's Specialist Jackson County Public Library (Ripley, WV)

Likes/Interests: Mallory enjoys cross stitching, bubble baths, and reading. Mallory also likes to talk about books on her podcast.

Looking forward to: She hopes to learn some new ways to implement STEAM in her library.


Olivia Clayton ✨ 🥰

International Falls Public Library (International Falls, MN)

Likes/Interests: She loves reading, writing, watching movies, and dressing her Goldendoodle up in cute sweaters, who also loves her sweaters!

Facts/recently up to: She is fairly new to working in the library world, and is looking forward to seeing everyone’s ideas. She has held her current position for almost 3 months.

Looking forward to: Olivia is excited to learn about how to bring fun activities and programs to her community.


Rachel Johannigmeier 🐙 🙃

Youth Services Director Kirkwood Public Library (Kirkwood, MO)

Likes/Interests: Some things Rachel enjoys are reading graphic novels and playing video games. Right now, Hades from Supergiant games or Pokemon Violet are her relaxation games.

Facts/recently up to: Fresh off zombie prom for teens, her library also held a unicorn party!

Looking forward to: Rachel is excited to see what other librarians are up to, to be a part of a community of explorers, and to do some playing while learning!


Seth Gray 🥶

Youth Services Coordinator Kenai Community Library (Kenai, AK)

Likes/Interests: In the summer Seth likes to be outside fishing or working on projects, and in the winter he likes reading or playing music.

Facts/recently up to: Seth recently ran a literary haunted house program.

Looking forward to: He is excited to learn about all the different sorts of programs other Ambassadors like to do, and any tips and tricks they have for programming.


Shelly Cook 😽

Branch Manager Delaware County Library (Jay, OK)

Likes/Interests: Shelly enjoys going on hikes, drinking espresso, listening to true crime, and baking bread

Facts/recently up to: You can often find Shelly camping, playing legos with her 8 year old, spending time with her cats, and playing Wordle!

Looking forward to: She is super excited to learn from other Ambassadors to see how they facilitate programs and also excited to get to play with fun stuff!