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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Michael Atwood
Senior Director, Ebooks and Community Engagement 

Michael Atwood is the Senior Director of the BiblioLabs division. Prior to being acquired by LYRASIS in 2021, he was the Chief Technical Officer and equity partner at BiblioLabs where he played a critical role in the creation of the BiblioBoard platform, which provides tools connecting libraries with their local communities. With roles both as a leader and individual contributor, Michael has developed software solutions to solve complex problems for over 20 years. He has worked closely with authors, publishers and libraries for the last decade providing technical and strategic solutions to help them stand out in our increasingly competitive digital world. Michael holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science and B.S. in Computer Information Systems from the College of Charleston. He is also a member of the College of Charleston Computer Science Industry Advisory Board.

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Carissa Egan
Operations Manager

Carissa is the Operations Manager for The Palace Project and leads the Palace Partner Success Team. She joined Lyrasis in April 2017, managing the outreach and engagement team for the Lyrasis suite of hosted services. She has over a decade of experience working with open source technologies and developing cloud-based services for cultural heritage organizations and has a passion for creating sustainable services that meet the needs of the library community. She is a proud alumnus of Syracuse University's School of Information Science.

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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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James English
Director of Business Development

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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Danny Bernstein
Senior Developer

Danny is a Senior Developer on The Palace Project and specializes in developing flexible applications that can fluidly evolve into production software built with state of the art development tools and processes. With years of experience up and down the stack using a variety of techniques and technologies, Danny translates ideas into great software. Prior to Lyrasis, Danny worked at DuraSpace on various software projects, including Fedora and DuraCloud.

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Tara Carpenter
Implementation Leader

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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Maurice Carrier
Senior iOS Developer

Maurice is the newest member of The Palace Project team and focuses on developing the Palace app for iOS. With almost a decade of experience developing mobile technologies for various organizations, Maurice brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Palace team.

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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
Sr. Engineering Lead 

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.

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Jonathan Green
Sr. Engineering Lead 

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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Valérie "KAV" Kavanagh
Manager, Outreach Ebooks & Community Engagement 

Valérie "KAV" Kavanagh, MBA, is our Ebooks & Community Engagement outreach lead for The Palace Project.

KAV's primary role and responsibility is around creating awareness, promoting the Ebooks & Community Engagement divisions of Lyrasis, selling public libraries The Palace Project service, and creating a new and impactful conversation around how Lyrasis, leading The Palace Project, 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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Sam Mitchell
Brand & Digital Marketing Manager

Graphic designer and illustrator, Sam Mitchell (he/his/him), is currently located in Huntsville, Alabama. Sam received his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in design from the University of Georgia to formalize his interest in commercial art and has been working in the field of graphic design ever since. With more than 20 years of experience, he provides design support for Lyrasis’ many programs and oversees the look and feel for the Lyrasis brand. He has also provided career guidance for those interested in design within his community and has been featured in several exhibitions for his design and illustrations.

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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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David Wilcox
Product Manager

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.

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.