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Stephanie C. Prato

Head of Children's Services
Simsbury Public Library, CT
Graduated from Syracuse University

Stephanie is the Head of Children's Services at the Simsbury Public Library, CT. With experience in youth services, community outreach, leadership, instruction, and technology, Stephanie excels in a variety of roles. She believes in a shared, community-driven vision of the future, and is committed to providing people with tools, opportunities, and experiences that will enable them to be self-motivated, lifelong learners.
Work experience


Simsbury Public Library, Simsbury, CT (Head of Children's Services)

2017 - present


  • Manages and develops a staff of 13 employees (2 full time, 11 part time)

  • Strategically budgets for collection development, space improvements, program growth, and technology updates 

  • Builds community and partnerships with schools, preschools, non-profits, community groups, local businesses and town departments

  • Designs, plans, and executes a collaborative, intergenerational, library-wide summer reading program with over 1,800 participants (children, teens, and adults)

  • Implemented and facilitates ongoing interdepartmental program planning meetings to encourage collaboration & advance planning 

  • Designed and created a comprehensive library newsletter covering 3 months of programs

  • In 2018, developed and increased the of the number of volunteers and volunteer hours by over 37%

  • Built a calendar of STEM programs for children, strategically purchasing tools and technology to expand hands on learning opportunities around robotics, coding, math, science, and engineering

Fayetteville Free Library, Fayetteville, NY (Director of Play to Learn Services)

2012 - 2017


  • Design, develop, and implement the library’s early literacy program

  • Strategically budget for evolution and shifts in early literacy programs, services, and collections

  • Manage and develop the library’s collection of picture books, board books, and readers

  • Build community and partnerships through outreach

  • Plan and implement innovative STEAM programming for children

  • Provide reference services and on-demand technology assistance

  • Collaboratively designed, planned, and executed a week long “Geek Girl Camp 2014” to encourage interest in 

       STEM learning, for 44 girls grades 3-5.

  • Created and implemented a project plan for a “Little Makerspace”

  • Designed and created pages for library website redesign (



American Library Association, Chicago IL (Independent Contractor)

Spring 2013 - Summer 2014


  • Collaboratively identified key priorities for Barbara Stripling’s presidential term

  • Designed and maintained ALA President Barbara Stripling’s website:

  • Managed Stripling’s social media presence throughout her presidential term

  • Generated content for presidential speaking engagements and keynotes

  • Assisted President Stripling at the Annual and Midwinter conferences



Global Enterprise Technology Program, Syracuse University (Research Assistant, TA) 

2012 - 2015


Floyd Memorial Library, Greenport, NY (Circulation Clerk, Intern)

Summer 2012


Sweet Briar College Library, Sweet Briar, VA (Circulation Clerk, Student Supervisor)

2008 - 2012



Syracuse University, School of Information Studies

Masters in Library and Information Science, 2014


Sweet Briar College

B.A. English, Summa Cum Laude, Highest Honors, 2014


Professional Associations


American Library Association Member, 2012-Present

Assistant to ALA President Barbara Stripling, 2013-Present

Library Information Technology Association (LITA) Member, 2013-Present

Member of the Membership Development Committee, LITA, 2013-2015

Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) Member, 2013-Present

Chair of Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee, 2017-Present 

Member of Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee, 2014-Present

Guest Blogger – “Little Makers” Post, ALSC Blog, February 2014

Guest Blogger – “Music and Movement” Post, ALSC Blog, November 2014

Connecticut Library Association (CLA) Member, 2017-Present

CLA Conference Co-Chair, 2020

New York Library Association (NYLA) Member, 2012-2016

Reference and Adult Services Section (RASS) Member, 2013-2014

RASS Board Member, Web Liaison, 2013-2014




Technical Competencies: Adobe Creative Suite | Joomla and WordPress CMS | Microsoft Office


Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, HootSuite, WordPress, Instagram, Flickr


  • Well-developed verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills

  • Strong leadership and organizational talents

  • Ability to work as part of a team as well as independently

  • Knowledge of children’s literature and programming, as well as child development

  • Experience providing early literacy programming

  • Professional experience in print media, social media, marketing and graphic design

  • Demonstrated commitment to professional development and committee work in professional organizations

  • Event/conference planning

  • Grant writing

  • Public speaking

  • Knowledge of computers, software applications and emerging technologies​


Conferences and Speaking


NELA Conference, Warwick, RI (October 2018): “STEM Camps at Your Library”


CLA Conference, Mystic, CT (April 2018): “Coding with Kids: The Crash Course”  


ALA Annual Conference, Orlando, FL (June 2017): “No Screen Time Before 2?” covered in this American Libraries article

YSS Spring Conference 2015, Islandia, NY (March 2015): “No Makerspace Required” and “New Directions for Summer Learning @ Your Library”


Families Learning Summit, Houston, TX (March 2015): “The Future of Literacy in Libraries: STEM & Beyond”

The Fayetteville Free Library (FFL) engages families through the development of deeper learning skills through literacy and STEM-based programs. We know that families learn best through content rich, play-based experiences that link abstract concepts to applied activities. So, we have designed spaces that promote STEM literacy skills, and services that bring early learning home to families. In this session, participants will discover innovative ways to implement STEM literacy into programming for ages 0 to 100. We will explore new ways to engage families around digital literacy and STEM learning through programs like Science Storytime, Tinker Tots, Creation Club, First Lego League, and Geek Girl Camp. Attendees will leave the session with practical ways to engage families around digital literacy and STEM learning, including ways to rethink existing spaces, collections, programs and services.


Toyota Innovation Showcase at the Families Learning Summit, Houston TX (March 2015):

“The FFL’s Summer of STEM”: The Fayetteville Free Library engages families through the development of deeper learning skills through literacy and STEM-based programs. We know that families learn best through content rich, play-based experiences that link abstract concepts to applied activities. So, this past summer we developed a myriad of programs that combine literacy, STEM, and play.   Our summer of STEM included Tinker Tots, Young Scientists, Extreme Weather, Geek Girl Camp, Modding Minecraft, Daytime Astronomy, and more. Come by to learn about these programs and experience the thrill of hands on learning for yourself, through constructive play and emerging technology.


NYLA 2013 Annual Conference, Niagara Falls, NY (September 2013): Pecha Kucha Session-“Re-imagining Space.” Space will always be an opportunity and a challenge in libraries.  Often, there is a limited amount of it, which can leave librarians frustrated when they work to add to theirservices. We will discuss how the Fayetteville Free Library has reimagined.  By reimagining  and redefining our spaces and our services continuously,  we ensure that we are providing the best experience possible for our patrons TODAY. During our Petcha Kutcha we will offer suggestions for savvy uses of space by highlighting two newly renovated spaces at the FFL: the Family Room and Little Makers area.  Meredith Levine will discuss the importance of play in developing early literacy skills, and how we redesigned a space formerly used for storytimes into the new FFL Family Room. Stephanie Prato will explain how we repurposed an underutilized corner of the Children’s room and turned it into a Little Makers area that provides an opportunity for our patrons, ages 5-8, to imagine, create, build, and make.


BOCES Tech Camp, Rochester, NY (July 2013): About makerspaces and their potential in school libraries. Meredith Levine and Stephanie Prato will discuss the FFL’s spaces and makerspaces, places for free making and for specific designed to support discovery and learning, and to  build literacy and STEAM skills. They will discuss how this making can be adopted in school libraries, and how makerspaces support  the library’s mission while increasing student (and teacher) engagement.


Imagining America 2013 National Conference, Syracuse, NY (October 2013): “Academic Conferences, Unconferences, & Reciprocity: The risks and rewards of emerging forms of community engagement.” Sarah Bratt (MLIS student, Syracuse University), Stephanie Prato (MLIS student, Syracuse University), Emily Janke (Director, Institute for Community & Economic Engagement, University of North Carolina at Greensboro),and Kristin Medlin (Communications & Partnerships Manager, Institute for Community & Economic Engagement, University of North Carolina at Greensboro) will explore the differences between mutual benefit and reciprocity and discuss steps towards increasing the level of reciprocity in academic-led conferences with the unconference model as one such solution.


Annual Institute on the Library as Place, Toronto, Ontario (July 2013): “If Not for the Library – Makerspaces in Libraries:  Creating access to transformative technologies and opportunities.”  Margaret Portier and Stephanie C. Prato of  Fayetteville Free Library (FFL) in upstate NY shared the FFL experience developing and evolving their Digital Creation Lab , FabLab  and  details of their unique making and creating programming.  They also shared how the FFL has challenged assumptions, identified barriers and engaged the community.


Spaces + Places Unconference 2013, Syracuse, NY (February 2013): Planned the event with three other Syracuse MLIS Students.


2010 - present

2010 - present

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