Introducing The Strategic Programming Team
As outlined in a 10-year strategic plan, the Library is working towards creating a Library Lifestyle for all New Orleanians by focusing on three pillars –– S.M.A.R.T. Kids, A Ready Workforce, and Open Doors.
The Library Board approved the plan in May 2021. When voters chose to renew the Library’s primary millage in December, NOPL hit the ground running by forming an all new strategic programming team to address multiple points of the plan.
“While developing our 10-year plan, community feedback and focus groups highlighted a need for better and more targeted programming that engages with our city’s youth, enhances opportunities for job seekers and creators, improves digital literacy, and expands the Library’s reach outside the walls of our buildings,” Emily Painton, the Library’s interim executive director said. “Our new strategic programming team will allow us to do all that and more, and we cannot wait to see where they will lead us.”
Meet the Team:
Christine McCourtney, Head of Early Literacy
Christine has worked for the New Orleans Public Library for 12 years. She started in 2010 as a library associate at the Norman Mayer Library, before earning her masters in library & information science in 2015 and transferring to Robert E. Smith Library to focus on youth services. In 2017, Christine was named NOPL’s first early literacy librarian.
During her time with the Library, Christine has been dedicated to serving the youngest Library users and focusing on children’s programs and services. Her work has embodied the Every Child Ready to Read initiative that provides parents and caregivers with the resources needed to develop and enhance early literacy skills in children from birth to age five.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Christine is a graduate of Ursuline Academy and Tulane University. She was the education editor for the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper and worked in the communications department of Los Angeles Dodgers before finding her way back home to New Orleans and the Library.
Amy Wander, Head of Youth Programming
Amy received her master’s in information studies from the University of Texas in Austin, where she first started working in libraries. After completing her degree, Amy worked for 15 years at the Lafayette Public Library. There, she worked in almost every position involving youth, including serving as the children’s and teen librarian, head of youth services, and coordinating LPL’s bookmobile and outreach efforts.
She helped start and lead a community read program called Lafayette Reads Together and Maker Faire Lafayette, and worked on organizing new services like establishing a musical instrument lending library, circulating museum passes and activity kits, and more.
Amy has served on local, statewide, and national library committees with the aim of improving and promoting library services. She’s a recent transplant to New Orleans but says it already feels like home and is looking forward to meeting and serving local youth and families all around New Orleans.
Aimé Lohmeyer, Outreach Librarian
Aimé Lohmeyer earned her master’s degree in library & information science from Louisiana State University in 2012. She has over 12 years of experience with the New Orleans Public Library, the majority of which she spent working in the areas of youth programming and outreach. She has not only planned, coordinated, facilitated, and performed multiple programs and outreach events, but has also forged new partnerships, as well as streamlining others, with a variety of community and neighborhood organizations, schools and school support groups, and city agencies.
Aimé believes in and is always striving to serve all of New Orleans’ communities in ways that best support their needs in the most equitable ways possible.
Robin Goldblum, Head of Adult Education Programming
Robin Goldblum has been a librarian for 10 years and most recently worked as the manager of Mid-City Library. Her work with libraries goes back to 2006 when she started working for the New Orleans Public Library Foundation to process post-Katrina donations from around the world. She also helped coordinate and oversee library volunteers who attended the American Library Association Annual Conference in June 2006, the first conference in New Orleans following the hurricanes.
Robin’s professional and personal objectives are to connect people with the information they need to grow and thrive. She has extensive expertise in the areas of adult literacy, health literacy instruction, technology literacy instruction, community-wide programming, and reader’s advisory. Robin is passionate about bringing issues of diversity –– in lifestyle and literacy –– to the community, which is a vital component of the Library’s mission of equitable access for all in support of community diversity, enrichment, and education.
Robin is the mother of a University of New Orleans sophomore and an 11th grade Lusher School student. She is a native New Orleanian who has lived all over the city and currently lives in Algiers Point where she loves to walk on the levees.
Shukrani Gray, Head of R.E.A.C.H. and Equity & Inclusion
Shukrani Gray has been with the New Orleans Public Library for three years, heading the African American Resource Collection since 2019. She previously worked at Jefferson Parish Library’s Main Branch, where she served as the circulation manager, and Delgado Community College, where she worked as a reference and instruction librarian.In addition to her masters in library & information sciences in archival studies, Shukrani also has a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and a BS in mathematics. Her current focus is to enhance the AARC with exciting programs and community partnerships, collection development, and to cultivate the future opening of the REACH Center.
The Library is currently in the process of rounding out the strategic programming team with assistants for each focus area, including additional librarians to focus on workforce development, digital literacy, and health & humanities.