Meet The Palace Team

The Palace Project team is a dedicated group of tech-savvy library leaders driven by our shared belief in the need for a public, not-for-profit option to serve the growing digital needs of public libraries.

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Michele Kimpton
Lyrasis, Global Senior Director

The Palace Project is led by Michele Kimpton, a globally recognized leader in building communities and products in libraries who has played a pivotal role in some of the most significant advances in Internet-related digital content development and preservation. Michele previously served as Director of Business Development and Senior Strategist at DPLA, where she was instrumental in building the DPLA ebooks program and the DPLA Exchange and was a leader in the Library Simplified community. Previously, Michele worked as chief strategist for Lyrasis and CEO of DuraSpace, where she developed several new cloud-based managed services for the digital library community and developed new sustainability and governance models for multiple open source projects. Michele is a founding member of both the National Digital Strategic Alliance and the International Internet Preservation Consortium. In 2013, she was named a digital preservation pioneer by the Library of Congress. Michele holds an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University.

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Lisa Larson
Senior Director of Outreach & Engagement

Lisa Larson is the Senior Director of Outreach & Engagement and has worked with the library community for over 25 years. Lisa is dedicated and driven by her work with libraries, archives, and museums and how Lyrasis programs and services might bring them closer, through open technologies, services, and community engagement. The Outreach and Engagement teams are not only responsible for introducing the diverse array of services and programs to cultural heritage institutions, but also for bringing back critical news and feedback into Lyrasis, so that Lyrasis is a responsive and adaptive organization, focused on the now and the future. Lisa drives the Membership program, which is that the heart of every program or service we develop, adopt or partner around. The Outreach and Engagement teams under Lisa’s guidance stretch across the globe. It is through this local and regional engagement strategy that Lyrasis is able to operate as a global organization, yet scale to engage locally and recognize regional opportunities and issues. Lisa’s particular passion is ensuring that smaller or less-resourced cultural heritage institutions have access to the same opportunities that come more readily to larger or better endowed institutions. Lisa graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Communications and has been accepted into the MLIS program at University of South Florida.

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Meg Blum
Lyrasis, Director of Marketing and Communications

Meg McCroskey Blum, Director of Marketing & Communications, leads our Marketing and Communications teams. Before coming to Lyrasis in 2010, Meg worked at BCR, helping to integrate BCR members into Lyrasis and building our western presence. Meg manages all marketing and communications efforts, including content marketing, community engagement, conference presence, website, elections communications and other special member programs. She has a long tenure with non-profit organizations and as a for-profit business owner, and was previously a researcher and instructor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Bachelor’s Degree from member institution Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Carissa Egan
Lyrasis, Digital Technology Services Outreach and Engagement Manager

Carissa Egan, Digital Technology Services Outreach and Engagement Manager, joined the Lyrasis team in April 2017 and is primarily responsible for developing strategies to expand the services that Lyrasis offers as well as for implementing improvements to the existing suite of Lyrasis hosted services. She has over a decade of experience working with open source technologies and developing cloud-based services for cultural heritage organizations. Prior to Lyrasis, Carissa was the Services Manager at DuraSpace where she coordinated the direction of the DuraCloud, DSpaceDirect, and ArchivesDirect services. As brand manager, Carissa brings a passion and dedication for creating sustainable open source services that meet the needs of the community. She is a proud alumnus of Syracuse University's School of Information Science.

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James English
Director, Business Development, The Palace Project

As Product Development Strategist for Library Simplified/SimplyE, James English will be working to build the public library open source community mentioned above, develop and follow a technical roadmap for deploying the hosted solution through Lyrasis while maximizing benefit for public library partners, as well as identify new opportunities to serve public libraries across the United States. James comes to Lyrasis from The New York Public Library, where he helped develop the Library Simplified solution as the Sr. Product Manager for National Platforms. Prior to that, he served as Chief Product & Executive Officer of Telemetry Labs and as Chief Product & Operations Officer for Guardian Networks, both web and mobile product development service providers specializing in machine-2-machine technology.

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Jonathan Green
Lyrasis, Digital Technology Services Senior DevOps Engineer

Jonathan Green has more than 10 years' experience in software engineering, and was on the original team that wrote Islandora 7.x as well as being the author of the Tuque Library. Previously, he served as Chief Technology Officer for discoverygarden, a long-time contributor and service provider for Islandora. He represents Lyrasis by sitting on the Islandora Coordinating Committee, the Islandora Technical Advisory Group and as a committer on the Islandora and Islandora-Claw projects and has contributions to many other open source projects. He is a believer in open source and works not only to sustain and improve current Lyrasis Hosting services, but also explore longer-term opportunities to integrate with other open-source platforms. As a technical lead, he is responsible for making sure all the behind the scenes servers and software are running smoothly and securely so that our hosting clients can focus on their core mission

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Micah May
DPLA, Director of Ebook Services

Micah is our  director of ebook services, driving the DPLA Exchange and related ebook work. He previously served as director of technology for Library For All, creating open children’s books and free reading apps for the developing world. Before joining DPLA, Micah was director of strategy and then senior director of business development and innovation at the New York Public Library, where he built capacity for innovation and led the creation of the NYPL Labs, Open Ebooks, the MyLibraryNYC partnership with NYC schools, and the open source SimplyE reading app, among others.  Micah started his career as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. and has a B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

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Jillian Scarson, MLIS
Partner Success Leader

Jill is the Partner Success Leader with the Palace Project, serving as liaison to our library partners and aiding in the successful adoption and usage of the Palace platform and app. In this role she aims to assist library partners as they navigate post-implementation, focusing on developing long-lasting relationships. She believes that libraries serve as beacons of democracy by providing equitable access to information, and that Palace is uniquely poised to assist them in navigating the changing, and sometimes challenging, e-publishing ecosystem. 

Prior to joining Palace, Jill worked for healthcare non-profits, as a freelance artist, within academic and public libraries, and spent much of the last decade in high education program support. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration and Master’s of Library & Information Science from Syracuse University, where she focused her studies on information literacy instruction, disinformation, and the policies that impact libraries and their users. Currently based in Baltimore, Jill enjoys exploring the city’s over 250 neighborhoods and their arts and cultural offerings. She spends her free time reading, embroidering, watching cozy British murder mysteries, and chasing after her two precocious cats.

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Kat Williams
DPLA, Director of Communications

Kat (she/her) is our director of communications, working to get the word out about DPLA and our mission. She also helps create content for DPLA projects. Previously, Kat was vice president of digital content for the History Channel and A+E Networks. She has been nominated for three primetime Emmy Awards, winning in 2013 for the short documentary Remembering 9/11, and her website work has been recognized by the Library of Congress. She holds a B.A. in history from Dartmouth College and an M.A. in history education from Teachers College at Columbia University.

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Valérie "KAV" Kavanagh
Senior Account Executive, The Palace Project

Valérie "KAV" Kavanagh, MBA, has been hired to become The Palace Project Senior Account Executive with a primary role and responsibility around creating awareness, promoting the brand, selling public libraries the Palace Project service, and creating a new and impactful conversation around how Lyrasis leading the Palace Project service creates huge impacts for libraries desiring a patron digital experience that meets the patron where they are in their information and cultural discovery.

Valérie’s professional experiences in enterprise sales and marketing are vast: in addition to her legal background and legal software sales experiences, she has been very successful selling and marketing Library software and solutions and is naturally mission-aligned in her aspirations, as she desires, through her direct efforts, to impact and affect others through creating access to knowledge and resources.

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David Wilcox
Product Manager, The Palace Project

David Wilcox is the Product Manager for The Palace Project. He has more than ten years’ experience managing open source projects, teams, and communities. David manages the Palace platform and apps throughout their lifecycle, gathering and prioritizing product and customer needs, and defining the future vision and product roadmap. He works closely with engineering, outreach, marketing, and the leadership team to ensure the long-term success of The Palace Project. Previously, David served as the Program Leader for Fedora at Lyrasis, where he worked together with the Technical Lead to oversee key project processes, and led international engagement through public speaking, developing and delivering workshops, facilitating user group meetings, and pursuing partnerships and grant funding. David holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Thomas University.

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Tara Carpenter
Implementation Coordinator

Tara Carpenter is an Implementation Coordinator for the Palace Project, focusing on providing a positive user experience by ensuring that participating libraries are onboarded, trained, and configured correctly. She has a background in nonprofits and public libraries, previously working in roles including Program Manager of Adult Education, Library Services Manager, and Library Branch Manager. Tara is a passionate advocate for providing unfettered access to information for as many people as possible. She believes that The Palace Project is the perfect avenue to reach numerous underserved library populations worldwide. Throughout her career, Tara has concentrated on the democratization of technology, encouraging the usage and adoption of digital materials and tools in libraries through public programming and staff training initiatives. She also currently works part-time as a project management consultant. Tara holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University.

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Courtney Dalessandro
Implementation Coordinator

Prior to joining Lyrasis, Courtney served in a variety of library roles. She was a school librarian in private and public schools in the Pittsburgh area, and worked as a Research Librarian for a biopharmaceutical consulting company. Courtney also served academic, public, and school libraries across Pennsylvania, providing technical support and training on POWER Library’s statewide interlibrary loan program, eresources, and the PA Photos and Documents digital repository. She is currently serving as a part-time Archivist for the Sisters of Divine Providence. Before joining the world of libraries, Courtney spent the first part of her career working for the United States Senate. Courtney received her B.A. in Global Policy Studies from Chatham University, an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Digital Libraries from Kent State University. Outside of work, Courtney and her husband love spending time with their 4 children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Tim DiLauro
Lyrasis, Digital Technology Services DevOps Engineer

Tim has worked in a variety of IT-related roles — statistical programmer, sysadmin, systems programmer, researcher — over more than 30 years, most of which has been spent at academic institutions. He has also had consulting and contracting jobs with private sector and non-profit companies and the U.S. government. Since the early ‘90s, his work has concentrated on using technology to improve and simplify access to information, including the integration of repositories and services to support digital collections, learning, and publishing. In recent years, his efforts have been focused on services and policies to support long-term access to library content and research data. Tim has participated in a number of technical committees and advisory groups, including the Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI-ORE) Technical Committee and the Jisc RDSS Expert Advisory Group. He continues to serve on the Qualitative Data Repository (QDR) Technical Advisory Board. He is also one of the maintainers of the BagIt Profiles Specification and a contributor to the BagIt Profiles Validator Python software.When he’s not working, he enjoys sailing, SCUBA diving, kayaking, motorcycle touring, and a bit of gardening. He is an avid reader and has recently taken up the NY Times Crossword.

The Palace Project Oversight Committee

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John Bracken
DPLA, Executive Director

John (he/him) is our executive director. Previously John worked for nearly two decades as a philanthropic investor in digital media, media policy, and innovation. He most recently served as vice president for technology innovation at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he oversaw the Knight News Challenge, Knight’s Prototype Fund, and other efforts to improve the creation, curation, and accessibility of information. He previously managed technology and civic innovation programs at the MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. He has a master’s degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Pitzer College. He serves on the board of the Illinois Humanities Council.

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Jorge A. Martinez
Knight Foundation, VP/Chief Technology Officer

Jorge (George) Martinez joined Knight Foundation in June 1996 as manager of information technology. In March 2003, he was promoted to director of information systems and in December 2012 to vice president/chief technology officer. He leads the foundation’s information systems department, as well as its universal broadband access and libraries initiatives in its 26 communities.

Martinez has 25 years of experience in the IT field. Before joining the foundation, he worked in the advanced systems department of The Miami Herald Publishing Company. Prior to that, he was a systems engineer for MicroAge, whose clients included Dade-Baxter, Baptist Health Systems, Knight-Ridder and Ryder Systems.

Martinez is an alumnus of Leadership Miami. He is a board member and former chairman of the Technology Affinity Group (TAG) of the Council of Foundations. He is a board member of the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (N-TEN) and a member of the Foundation Information Systems Managers group.

The Palace Project is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and is a division of Lyrasis.