Our 2022 Salon series, Teaching Race History and Reading Banned Books: Conversations on Intellectual Freedom, are evocative discussions from a range of viewpoints about the right of intellectual freedom, the question of whose words and voices are included in public education, and how, when, and by whom such determinations are made. Each Salon features guest speakers with diverse expertise in education, censorship, access, and civil liberties.
Salons at Stowe are 21st-century parlor conversations about contemporary social justice issues. Since 2008, Salons have provided a forum for lively discussion on topics rooted in the 19th century that remain pressing today.
Dawn LaValle is the Director of the Division of Library Development for the Connecticut State Library. DLD provides leadership, funding, education, and statewide services that enhance a local library’s ability to deliver high-quality library diverse and inclusive services to their community. She is a recognized Aspen Re-Envisioning Public Libraries Expert; a Certified Strategic Foresight Practitioner, and a Disruption Navigator for Libraries, she is focused on fostering a more collaborative innovative culture, library services and solutions and to instill 21st century skill sets in the next generation of library leaders. Leading her Division Consultants in embedding Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in statewide programming, services, and resources like the Digital Navigator Pilot; Growing Equitable Library Services and nationally recognized Diversity Audit of Library Collections program. She most recently served as a consultant to the Dubai Public Library System, in the framing of a strategy to re-envision the future state of libraries as 21st Century anchors of the community and innovation destinations.
Dawn holds a Master of Library and Information Services from the Palmer School, Long Island University as well as a Master’s in Secondary Education and a Master’s in Political Science from C.W. Post, Long Island University, Brookville, New York.
Diane X Brown is a native of New Haven, CT. She was a 2003 recipient of the Bill and Melinda Gates Fellowship Award that set her on the course to becoming a librarian. After two intense semesters at Southern Connecticut State University she received a Master’s Degree in Library Science and Information Technology in 2004. In 2004, the New Haven Free Public Library hired her as a Junior Librarian. The following year she accepted a position as an Adjunct Professor at SCSU in the Department of Information Technology and Library Sciences where she taught a mix of undergraduate and graduate courses online as well as on campus for 5 years. Later in 2005, she was promoted to a Young Adult Librarian II and in 2006 she was hired as the Manager of Stetson Branch, her current position.
In 2015, she received the prestigious national, “I Love My Librarian” award from The American Librarian Association and Carnegie Corporation for her outstanding work in building lasting partnerships to provide services and programming to the African American community. In 2017, she received a “Special Achievement Award” from the Connecticut Library Association for her vision and networking in developing and sustaining innovative library programming. Additionally, she has received numerous recognitions from organizations and various local and state officials for her commitment and servitude to the community beyond her role as a librarian.
For the past 6 years, she has played the lead role in the construction of a new state of the art Stetson Branch Library that opened in March, 2022. Additionally, she led a team of librarians in weeding the former collection of 23,000 items and the ordering of over 14,000 books and digital items for the opening day collection. She single-handedly created an African Diaspora Book Collection to replace the former branches African American Collection, one of the largest of its’ kind in Connecticut and beyond.