Conference Circuit

ACRL in New Orleans

ACRL programs at the ALA Annual Conference

ALA’s 137th Annual Conference was held June 21–26, 2018, in New Orleans. More than 17,500 librarians, library support staff,exhibitors, writers, educators, publishers, and special guests attended the conference. Ed. note: Thanks to the ACRL members who summarized programs to make this report possible.

Crafting a caring organization

The ACRL President’s Program, “Beyond Resilience: Crafting a Caring Organization,” featured a panel sharing ideas about how library administration and workers can make libraries and librarianship more equitable and caring for all members of the organization. Discussion topics included resilience and vocational awe, how those concepts can be countered, and how organizations like ALA and ACRL can help. Key takeaways include:

  • “All of us should be seen, heard, and respected, and our leaders should be able to acknowledge their mistakes honestly. Not knowing what to say does not mean silence is the right answer.”—Chris Bourg, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • “Librarians are typically expected to do more with less, and when we don’t complain, we are given even less. We need to acknowledge the existence of vocational awe in order to heal our profession.”—Fobazi M. Ettarh, California State University-Dominguez Hills
  • “We should be able to bring our ‘whole selves’ to work, but often cannot. How can administration understand what I am dealing with in my life? As a burly black guy on the bus in Washington, D.C., my reality is that I might not make it home alive tonight.”—Derrick Jefferson, American University
  • “The world can be a terribly stressful place. We must be able to care for ourselves —especially difficult for those in nonsalaried positions or without much sick or vacation time.”—Karen Schneider, Sonoma State University
  • “Recognize the power that we do have and build on it.”—Eamon Tewell, Long Island University-Brooklyn

While this discussion was a leap forward in terms of recognizing the structural inequalities that exist in our profession, there is still a lot of work to do. To see the resources gathered by the committee and speakers, go to http://acrl.libguides.com/presprogram/beyond-resilience/home.—Maribeth Slebodnik , University of Arizona, Arizona Health Sciences Library, slebodnik@email.arizona.edu

Making the Framework work

Addressing about 120 attendees, the three community college librarians who presented “Making the Framework Work: Adapting the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Community College Library Instruction,” sponsored by the Community and Junior College Libraries Section, focused on providing practical information about how they incorporated the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy into their libraries’ instruction programs, including everything from learning objectives to assessment.

Holly Kuhl (instruction and assessment librarian at SUNY’s Cayuga Community College) opened the session with an overview of how her library linked the adoption of the Framework with the college’s reaccreditation process starting in 2016, leading to a much-needed paradigm shift. As a result, the college’s librarians focused on Framework-based learning outcomes, active learning, and ongoing assessment, and worked with teaching faculty on instructional goals.

Next up, Shawna Thorup (head of reference and instruction at NorthWest Arkansas Community College) described how she was charged with simultaneously incorporating the Framework into her library’s instruction program and overhauling how the library assessed the program. She showed how she developed an informal learning circle for her instruction team that included studying the Framework, teaching each other about it, creating new Framework-based teaching tools, and rethinking how one-shot instruction was planned and executed, including revising learning outcomes and assessment.

Silvia Lin Hanick (first-year experience librarian at CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College) discussed how she has aligned all of the library instruction for her college’s subject-specific first-year seminars with the Framework (see http://guides.laguardia.edu/fys). She described a few activities she uses, including a critical analysis of search results for timely topics and an exploration of the library’s book collection based on a zombie apocalypse scenario.

Moderator Jill Sodt (director of library services at Mott Community College) fielded attendees’ questions, which primarily focused on faculty collaboration.

The panel’s recommended resources are available at http://bit.ly/ALA2018_Framework.—Andrea Kingston, Monroe Community College, akingston4@monroecc.edu

Open Education Resources

The Distance Learning Section cosponsored, with the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services and the CMS Collection Development Librarians of Academic Libraries Interest Group, “Open Education Resources (OER): Where Libraries Are and Where We are Going,” a capacity-crowd panel session moderated by Beth Bernhardt (University of North Carolina-Greensboro) that presented four professionals’ perspectives on current and evolving initiatives in OER adoption and collaborative usage across academic libraries and campuses.

Capacity crowd at the “Open Education Resources” session.

Capacity crowd at the “Open Education Resources” session.

Cheryl Cullier (University of Arizona) emphasized the “textbook heroes” at the University of Arizona who have adopted OERs, partnering with liaison librarians and online course designers, and leading campus efforts to incorporate OERs from the ground up through design and redesign of courses.

Teri Gallaway (LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network) outlined her work focusing on OER adoption across the state of Louisiana, noting there remains “a lot of work ahead of us to change faculty behavior.” Through the Affordable Learning LOUISIana initiative, LOUIS partners libraries and faculty to support adoption of open education resources “to help students with financial disadvantage” and to save students money on education by reducing the costs of instructional materials and ensuring that students have equitable access to information.

Lindsay O’Neill (California State University-Fullerton) provided the “instructor perspective” of what it looks like to design and implement an online course with open and affordable education resources. O’Neill advised librarian instructors to “go active” (seek out active and multimedia learning options rather than another textbook) and “go slowly” (reminding colleagues to be patient and empathetic toward learners).

Nicole Allen (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) highlighted SPARC’s work, particularly on the policy side, advising attendees to “think of policy as a way of removing barriers and challenges” as well as how it can affect the “broader ecosystem” of affordable and open resource adoption.—Michael Courtney, Indiana University, micourtn@indiana.edu

Giving without being a doormat

Librarianship is a service-oriented career, making it important for people to say no, while still being givers, to avoid burnout. Librarians from traditionally underrepresented groups are often asked to do more, in part, to be the token person who represents diversity within a group. This program, sponsored by the ACRL Dr. E. J. Josey Spectrum Scholars Mentor Committee, “Giving to Get Ahead: How to be Generous Without Being a Doormat,” uses Adam Grant’s theories about give and take to create practical strategies for giving, setting boundaries, and saying no.

  • Takers, matchers, and givers. Leo S. Lo explained that people fall into one these three categories as their default behavior. According to Grant’s research, “givers” perform the best and the worst in organizations, which suggests that there are different types of givers. Data reveal that unsuccessful givers tend to sacrifice self interest to please other people, while successful ones, the smart givers, align giving to their own self-interests.
  • Practical tips for saying yes and no. Kiyomi D. Deards explained that good boundaries are like a small picket fence around a cottage, they aren’t meant to isolate, but are there to say please respect my space.

Don’t just say yes, conduct a reference interview and find out the who, what, when, where, why, how, importance, and timeline.

“Giving to Get Ahead” key slides by Kiyomi D. Deards and Leo S. Lo.

“Giving to Get Ahead” key slides by Kiyomi D. Deards and Leo S. Lo.

Ask: Does someone else already do this? Refer when appropriate.

Ask: Does this align with my job duties and/or career goals? Really interested? Ask the person to contact you after you after a specific date.

  • Five-minute giving strategies. Connect people, include people who are alone or excluded, thank people in writing, and follow-up.

Lastly, Deards reminded people that No is a complete sentence, and if you want people to respect your No, it is important that you respect theirs.—Kiyomi D. Deards, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, kdeards2@unl.edu, and Leo S. Lo, Old Dominion University, leo.saiho.lo@gmail.com

Building capacity for digital scholarship

Academic libraries are grappling with methods to provide support for researchers using digital scholarship skills. Moderated by Jean Ferguson (learning and research communities librarian at the University of California-Berkeley), the ACRL Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group and the ACRL Digital Scholarship Section-sponsored session “Bridging the gap: Supporting subject liaisons to become ambassadors for digital scholarship in academic libraries” presented several perspectives on how academic libraries can transition.

Panelists for the Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group and the Digital Scholarship Section session (left to right): Pamella Lach, Brianna Marshall, and Rita Vine.

Panelists for the Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group and the Digital Scholarship Section session (left to right): Pamella Lach, Brianna Marshall, and Rita Vine.

As Head of Faculty and Student Engagement at the University of Toronto Libraries and Visiting Program Officer for the Association of Research Libraries Reimagining the Library Liaison project, Rita Vine has worked with librarians and libraries grappling with the question, “What does it mean to be a subject expert when information is infinite and readily accessible?” She’s learned that subject liaisons are seeking institutional impact and training for expertise. They are concerned about adding more to their workload and abandonment of core duties and traditional roles.

At the University of California-Riverside, Brianna Marshall (director of research services) identified emerging trends and shifted her group. Roles changed from reference desk shifts, introductory instruction, and collection development to support for data, geospatial information, maker services, open research, and scholarly communication. Her advice for making a transition is, “Recognize that change is difficult, and that people will react in different ways. Be empathetic.”

Pamella Lach (digital humanities librarian at San Diego State University) discussed advocating for support for digital scholarship. She has built the Digital Humanities Center, which she stresses is a community space, not a service point. Lach has drawn on a framework of skills to identify the overlap between her role and subject liaisons to help them understand what she does, see how their own work (already) connects, and how they can become “frontline” ambassadors for digital scholarship.—Jean Ferguson, University of California-Berkeley, jean.ferguson@berkeley.edu

Be your own mentor

The ACRL session “Be Your Own Mentor” was planned as an interactive workshop to include attendee participation with the expected outcome of having a partial plan toward being one’s own mentor at the close of the session. The speaker planned for 50 participants, and, by the room assistant’s count, there was a high of 78 people in attendance. The session provided an overview of what mentoring is and is not, and affirmed the message that the person seeking to be mentored must be in control of the relationship. In fact, they manage everything from meeting times to managing outcomes and assessment of progress made through closure of the mentor-mentee relationship. Questions and contributions from participants throughout the session were thought- provoking, including a clarifying question that indicated the language used by the speaker indicated the purpose for mentoring was acquisition of skills-based training only. Content, including the slide deck and handouts, was made available through a shared Google Drive for participants after the session at http://bit.ly/mentor-share-files.—Mandy Havert, University of Notre Dame, mhavert@nd.edu

April M. Hathcock presenting a session on racism, whiteness, and implicit bias, along with her “Whiteness-berg” slide.April M. Hathcock presenting a session on racism, whiteness, and implicit bias, along with her “Whiteness-berg” slide.

April M. Hathcock presenting a session on racism, whiteness, and implicit bias, along with her “Whiteness-berg” slide.

Breaking below the surface of racism, whiteness, and implicit bias

As many as 500 library professionals crowded into a room of the Morial Convention Center for my Sunday afternoon session on “Breaking Below the Surface of Racism, Whiteness, and Implicit Bias.” Because anti-racist work is both collaborative and active, I structured the session to require attendee participation and interaction with me and each other: we learned key definitions together, worked through real-life scenarios, and shared our thoughts and perceptions.

We learned that whiteness is a form of implicit bias: “Whiteness is not about white people individually or what it means to be a white person in particular,” but rather about “making assumptions about people based on general racial stereotypes rather than individual facts.” We also learned that whiteness as an ideology is often invisible and insidious. To illustrate this point, I shared with attendees my “Whiteness-berg,” showing that most of whiteness is enacted beneath the surface, like an iceberg, through subtle racial slights called microaggressions. We came to understand that with whiteness “doing nothing or relying on a so-called ‘neutral’ stance only ensures that whiteness continues to thrive and prevail.”

We then practiced working against bias in ourselves and others by naming, questioning, and challenging the bias. We also practiced microaffirmations, a subtle form of bystander intervention that seeks to, as Marisa Méndez-Brady put it, “show the victim of the bias belongs in that space.” As I told attendees towards the end, “Doing this work can be difficult. But if you keep practicing, keep doing these ‘anti-racist fire drills,’ you’ll be ready to step up when the time comes.” In a profession that is 87% white,1 it is good to know at least 500 colleagues ready for the challenge.

Community notes for the session are at bit.ly/2uth9It, courtesy of Ryan Randall.


1. ALA, Diversity Counts 2009-2010 Update, accessed June 29, 2018, http://www.ala.org/offices/diversity/diversitycounts/2009-2010update.—April M. Hathcock, New York University, april.hathcock@nyu.edu

Breaking down barriers

Sponsored by ACRL, Xan Arch (dean of University of Portland’s Clark Library) and Isaac Gilman (dean of university libraries at Pacific University) presented a session entitled “Breaking down Barriers: Serving the First-Generation Student in Today’s Academic Library.” The presenters used qualitative research methods to identify challenges for first-generation college students and how academic libraries are currently meeting those challenges. Identifying gaps in services, the presenters shared a list of potential services to fill those gaps.

The presenters surveyed college counselors (all members of the National Association for College Admission Counseling) chosen at random from all 50 states. They asked counselors to identify challenges of first-generation students and the concerns most often shared. From the responses, the presenters identified the most “often articulated challenges.” They categorized these into five categories: academic, financial, home and family, navigation of college, and social and cultural challenges.

The presenters surveyed academic libraries randomly chosen from all Carnegie classifications and two additional listservs. The responses suggested that many libraries had not identified specific services for this student group.

Based on their research, the presenters addressed each category of challenge suggesting ways in which the academic library could better serve these students. Suggestions included incorporating information literacy into existing university-run summer bridge programs for first-generation students; having a liaison librarian specifically for these students; reviewing library instruction to ensure that it is inclusive; employing a diverse staff; providing a parental session at orientation and/or newsletters from the library to parents; providing textbooks on course reserve; providing technology for checkout; providing culturally relevant displays/events; and providing space for extended services, such as mentoring, study groups, and tutoring.

The presenters’ next step will be to survey first-generation students to confirm/adjust the challenges predicted by counselors and identify additional services to serve this population.

Slides for the program are available at https://commons.pacificu.edu/libfac/29.— Jane Scott, University of Portland, scottj@up.edu

Building inclusion

A full room of visitors came for the ACRL- sponsored panel presentation titled “Building Inclusion: How Can Research Instruction at Two-Year Colleges Help Students Successfully Transition to the University?”

This session shared preliminary findings from a study that looked at whether library instruction at the college level adequately prepares students for transition to university-level research assignments, and which elements needed at the university level could be incorporated into information literacy instruction for transfer students.

The mixed methods research design included qualitative content analysis followed by a quantitative online survey. The content analysis identified elements of information literacy instruction at the university and was aligned and mapped to the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. An online survey was developed, based on the content analysis, to inquire what content was included in information literacy instruction for college students. Preliminary findings identify potential gaps in information literacy instruction between the university and colleges.

“Building inclusion” panelists (left to right): Morgan Tracy, Rachel Mulvihill, Karen F. Kaufmann, and Peggy L. Nuhn.

“Building inclusion” panelists (left to right): Morgan Tracy, Rachel Mulvihill, Karen F. Kaufmann, and Peggy L. Nuhn.

The practical implications and value of the study provide empirical data to inform the gaps that are evidenced in information literacy instruction for transfer students. This study provides data for universities and two-year college institutions to better prepare for coordination and facilitation of transfer student information literacy preparedness.

We found five keys to mitigate information literacy “transfer shock”:

  1. identify elements of information literacy instruction,
  2. align elements with the ACRL Framework,
  3. identify information literacy element gaps between colleges and universities,
  4. engage authentic collaboration, and
  5. fill the gaps.

A LibGuide for the session is available at https://guides.ucf.edu/buildinginclusionKaren F. Kaufman, Seminole State College of Florida, kaufmannk@seminolestate.edu

Creating a seamless workflow for streaming video requests

In their presentation “‘Can I upload this movie to my class site?’ Developing a workflow for streaming video,” Stephanie Towery (copyright officer) and Karen Cowen (head collection development assistant) detailed two tools to create a seamless process for streaming video requests involving cross-departmental collaboration between the Copyright Office, Library Collection Development and Acquisitions, Subject Librarians, and Instructional Technology Support at Texas State University.

Karen Cowen (left) and Stephanie Towery presenting “Can I upload this  movie to my class site?”

Karen Cowen (left) and Stephanie Towery presenting “Can I upload this movie to my class site?”

When Towery inquired as to whether attendees had been asked the question in the session title, many raised a hand, suggestive of the prevalence of issues surrounding streaming media use in an educational context. Towery went on to cover implementation of the Decision Tree tool for Librarians and Copyright Officers, addressing issues such as copyright law, license negotiation, format considerations (online-only versus physical format), and appropriate use of the Fair Use Checklist.

Cowen covered the development of a workflow that incorporates the Decision Tree. She began her talk by saying, “I thought ‘Sure, I’ll create a workflow. No problem.’ And it ended up looking like this. . . .” She revealed a lengthy flowchart containing multiple decision points, subprocesses, and footnotes, prompting laughter from attendees. Cowen demonstrated using the chart to process requests for streaming video purchases by libraries, from receipt of request through notifying patrons when the video is ready for use.

Cowen and Towery also addressed challenges of electronic resource management (ERM), using multiple streaming platforms, captioning, using portions of a video versus an entire film, and the perception of policing video-piracy in an academic setting.

Follow-up questions and comments addressed collection development, budgeting captions, tracking requests and tasks, pirated video use, format shifts, possible discount when physical format already owned, fair use, public domain, digital file creation and delivery methods, communicating needs to vendors, and attendee recommendations of ERM products.— Stephanie Towery, sst25@txstate.edu, and Karen E. Cowen, kc02@txstate.edu, Texas State University

Librarians and experiential learning

Three librarians (Hazel McClure, Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra, and Gayle Schaub) and two subject faculty (Vinicius Lima, Graphic Design, and Mark Schaub, Writing) from Grand Valley State University (GVSU) presented the ACRL-sponsored session “High Impact Librarianship: A Showcase of Collaborative and Experiential Learning Initiatives.” High-impact educational practices encompass a wide variety of authentic, collaborative learning experiences.

Scripps-Hoekstra discussed community-based partnerships between GVSU students and middle and high school students. The librarians handled the basic introduction to research, while the university students acted as mentors. This project culminated with a showcase of student work. For many students, this was their first visit to a university campus.

McClure spoke about the GVSU Library Summer Scholars Program. As part of this program, students worked with librarians to create projects that contributed to the library. Students learned about both library collections and library work. McClure said students “come in not knowing exactly what they want to do, and we help them get messy and figure it out.”

McClure also collaborated with Schaub as his students rewrote chapters from a Creative Commons-licensed OER textbook for a business communication class. Without the help of librarians, Schaub wouldn’t have known this was possible. This fulfilled two pedagogical goals: students engaged in public writing and saved money on textbooks. Student-authors were excited to hear that the revised textbook has been downloaded frequently.

Finally, Schaub and Lima discussed their visual glossary, which assists students in becoming familiar with the language of research. Lima’s graphic design class created appropriate infographics. Both students and librarians took on new roles as part of this project: the students as graphic design professionals and the librarians as clients.

Each project showcased students’ finished work, either physically on campus or online in the repository. As McClure notes, high-impact learning practices include work that librarians have always done.—Nancy Foasberg, Queens College, noasberg@qc.cuny.edu

Libraries and learning analytics

The panel “Libraries and Learning Analytics: Identifying the Issues” reviewed libraries participation in learning analytics (LA) initiatives in light of current data privacy concerns and provided suggestions for implementing best practices.

Abigail Goben gave an overview of LA, reviewing current events surrounding LA, the challenges of balancing increasing requirements from administrators within and beyond the library, and following professional library ethics.

Kristin Briney presented her research on how academic libraries report handling data in LA. She stressed three key points: 1) most data reported as “anonymous” is not actually anonymous; 2) LA studies rarely described opt-in and consent procedures; 3) few studies reported data security practices, yet many exhibit practices requiring good security. Briney outlined a need for a library community conversation about consent and more examples of LA data security done well.

The final point from Briney’s presentation was the reminder that each data point represents a human being, and that protecting LA data helps protect people’s privacy.

M. Brooke Robertshaw discussed ethical issues with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and institutional review board (IRB) in relationship to LA. She reminded the audience that FERPA allows the university to broadly share a student’s data, without notifying the student, as long as the university deems the purpose to be educationally sound. Her main point about IRB protections is that IRB focuses on data collection, while the impact of LA is long after collection. She recommended expanded IRB protections and critical review for post-data gathering. Robertshaw encouraged librarians to seek opportunities to serve on their institutional IRBs and participate in writing university privacy policies.

Goben closed out the presentation introducing a forthcoming ARL SPEC Kit on Learning Analytics and Privacy and introducing the Data Doubles Team, an IMLS grant-funded group, which will be exploring students’ perceptions of library learning analytics.—M. Brooke Robertshaw, Oregon State University, brooke.robertshaw@oregonstate.edu

Prayer in academic libraries

In the ACRL panel discussion “Studying and Spirituality: Prayer and Meditation Spaces in Academic Libraries,” librarians Emily Mross (Penn State-Harrisburg Library), Dave Tyckoson (California State University-Fresno), Emily Daly (Duke University), Anna Sandeli (University of Tennessee), and Christina Reihman-Murphy (Penn State-Abington) shared their experiences with “prayer” spaces in their libraries.

“Studying and spirituality” panel are (left to right) Emily Mross (Penn State-Harrisburg Library), Christina Reihman-Murphy (Penn State-Abington), Anna Sandeli (University of Tennessee), Emily Daly (Duke University), and Dave Tyckoson (California State University-Fresno).

“Studying and spirituality” panel are (left to right) Emily Mross (Penn State-Harrisburg Library), Christina Reihman-Murphy (Penn State-Abington), Anna Sandeli (University of Tennessee), Emily Daly (Duke University), and Dave Tyckoson (California State University-Fresno).

Mross led the discussion while pointing out that some libraries provide prayer spaces without even realizing it and that students are satisfied with the most basic space. She also addressed the importance of terminology. Perhaps changing prayer space to spiritual space can be more inclusive to everyone.

Tyckoson provided striking statistics, pointing out that with card swipe access into the prayer room, he could assess that there had been more than 10,000 uses in 18 months. He also mentioned that the space may meet needs that hadn’t been considered.

Daly pointed out that her library has two very different spaces, a spiritual space and an “oasis” room meant for calming and rejuvenation (yoga and meditation, books on mindfulness). This room has helped them stay connected to students and other groups on campus with strong partnerships. She anticipates gaining more partnerships by having flyers in the room for counseling on campus and other services.

Sandeli’s library has a “silent room” on the quiet study floor that includes signage, suggestion boxes, and framed photos from special collections. This has given them a framework for other spaces, and she feels encouraged that they can have small spaces that have a big impact.

Reihman-Murphy works at a library with no prayer space and a lot of Muslim students who use the book stacks as a prayer space. Even in libraries that don’t have formal prayer spaces, students are still using the library for prayer space.—Taylor Peterson, California State University-Fresno, tpetersen@csufresno.edu

Supporting college students on the autism spectrum

Flexibility, education, and improving services based in the principles of Universal Design were key takeaways from “Supporting College Students on the Autism Spectrum: Evidence Based Strategies for Academic Librarians.”

Speakers at the “Supporting College Students on the Autism Spectrum” panel.

Speakers at the “Supporting College Students on the Autism Spectrum” panel.

Amelia Anderson (postdoctoral researcher at Florida State University’s [FSU] iSchool) introduced key takeaways from an IMLS-funded study, Project A+, which provides evidence-based strategies for academic librarians in working with students on the autism spectrum. While we do not have exact numbers for prevalence of college students on the spectrum, with prevalence of the population in general, it is likely that all academic librarians are already working with students with autism.

Emily Mann (FSU research and information services librarian) and Kelly Grove (FSU STEM research and learning librarian) discussed four main topics: autism on campus, the library environment, communication strategies, and social interaction. Mann reinforced the idea that autism is an invisible disorder, so services truly need to be flexible and without the expectation that a student needs to disclose his or her diagnosis.

Grove showed that students on the spectrum still use the library as a physical space, and both librarians shared ways they have learned to make their library buildings more accessible as a result. Some strategies included improved signage and increased access to, and options for, quiet study spaces.

Mann described modifications that should be made to the reference interview if it seems that a student might need a different approach. Though librarians are often taught to ask open-ended questions, she suggested that some students on the spectrum might respond better to a closed question, and that librarians should be cognizant of and responsive to that preference.

Participants were given a handout that will be incorporated into an open access training manual and made available through FSU’s Diginole Repository and the project’s website at http://aplus.cci.fsu.edu/.—Amelia Anderson, Old Dominion University, ameliamaclay@gmail.com

Allyship, race, and communication in the academic library

In the panel discussion, “When to speak up, when to listen: Allyship, race, and communication in the academic library,” three librarians discussed how their racial identity influences their communication style as allies. Michelle Oh (Northeastern Illinois University) opened the discussion by defining allyship, microagressions, and how a person can be privileged in some ways and marginalized in others. She also spoke on the complexity of communication and allyship for Asian Americans, particularly in library leadership, noting that instead of adopting the trappings of power, we can aim to diversify what it means to lead, how to lead, and what leaders look like.

“When to speak up, when to listen” panelists (left to right): Erik Ponder, Robin Harris, and Michelle Oh.

“When to speak up, when to listen” panelists (left to right): Erik Ponder, Robin Harris, and Michelle Oh.

Robin Harris (Northeastern Illinois University) shared some of her experiences as a white librarian on a primarily African American satellite campus, and how that shapes her reference consultations and instruction sessions. Being aware of the Eurocentric nature of traditional academic research informs how she talks about peer-review, scholarship as conversation, and how authority is constructed and contextual. She also discussed privilege and ally identity development, especially in terms of understanding the motivation behind speaking up and how to be a more effective ally.

Finally, Erik Ponder (Michigan State University) spoke on what has (and hasn’t) been done on an institutional level to recruit and retain diversity in our libraries. He noted that many African American library professionals are often made to feel that they represent the voice of their entire community, but conversely, they can also be perceived to represent a voice of an aggrieved minority group. In order to have diversity in the library, it is critically important that people of color know they are working in a welcoming and supportive environment. Ponder asked how we can provide the needed tools for librarians of color to create a conducive atmosphere for success, including creating opportunities for others, collaborating to be inclusive, and valuing diversity in all its forms.—Robin Harris, Northeastern Illinois University, r-harris14@neiu.edu

Zine cultures as critical resistance

The Literatures in English Section, the European Studies Section, and the Zine Pavilion cosponsored “Zine Cultures as Critical Resistance: A Hands-On Workshop to Build Community Engagement and Student Learning.” Members of the panel were Ziba Zehdar-Gazdecki (young adult librarian, Los Angeles Public Library), Daniela Capistrano (founder and director, POC [People of Color] Zine Project and DCAP Media LLC), Ann Komaromi (associate professor, University of Toronto), and Mark Yoffe (librarian for Russia, Eurasia, Central, and Eastern Europe, George Washington University). They focused on the role of zine cultures in fostering awareness of community-based networks, nontraditional publishing, and artistic expressions that resist dominant social hierarchies at local, national, and international levels.

Zehdar-Gazdecki connected with program participants by sharing her experience as a young adult librarian through community engagement projects. She shared ideas for empowering zine cultures and zine artworks in a library or community setting.

Capistrano is a passionate advocate for zine expressions of art by POCs and LGBTQ+ communities. She presented on the POC Zine Project and its mission to find, distribute, and share zines by POCs.

Komaromi discussed the “Project for the Study of Dissidence and Samizdat” in relation to teaching and learning at the University of Toronto. This project includes the database of Soviet samizdat periodicals, electronic editions of selected samizdat journals, and other dissent materials.

Yoffe discussed his formative years in the Soviet Union (Riga, Latvia). As a counterculture activist and librarian, Yoffe formed linkages with artists, student groups, and social groups outside of dominant Soviet culture. He published the first known Soviet rock zine, Bez Zhmogas, in 1977. He acknowledged the role of countercultures in preserving freedom of expression in art, music, and literature.—Joe Lenkart, lenkart@illinois.edu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

We’re all in it together

Moderated by Chris Davidson (Northwestern University), the Library Marketing and Outreach Interest Group and University Library Section Academic Outreach Committee cosponsored panel, “We’re All in it Together: Focusing Outreach and Assessment to Your Institution’s Strategic Goals,” focused on aligning outreach efforts to institutional goals and assessing activities and events in more meaningful ways.

“Were all in it together” moderator and panelists (left to right): Kristen Mastel, Chris Davidson (moderator), Amy Wainwright, Jason Kruse, and John Jackson.

“Were all in it together” moderator and panelists (left to right): Kristen Mastel, Chris Davidson (moderator), Amy Wainwright, Jason Kruse, and John Jackson.

Jason Kruse and Amy Wainwright showed that librarians don’t need to overthink when it comes to connecting programming to library or university goals. For example, Kruse and his team initially struggled to support the Northwestern University Libraries’ digital citizenship initiative because there were too many elements,1 but by focusing on just a few components, they were able to create successful events and partnerships. When John Carroll University adopted new learning goals, Wainwright took inventory of the library’s current events using Google Forms. By assigning a learning goal to each event, she was able to quickly determine which institutional goals needed more support.

While headcounts and surveys can be helpful assessment tools, Kristen Mastel (University of Minnesota) and John Jackson shared other ways to collect feedback. For example, vox pops involve recording participants’ thoughts or feelings on audio or video. Jackson shared that at Loyola Marymount University, the library hires student assistants to work as event correspondents. The students interview attendees and write short summaries about the event, which are also used for promotional purposes. Mastel also emphasized that librarians should take a multipronged approach when it comes to assessing outreach activities.—Lindsay Davis, University of California-Merced, ldavis23@ucmerced.edu


1. Mike Ribble, “Nine Elements,” Digital Citizenship, accessed July 20, 2018, www.digitalcitizenship.net/nine-elements.html.

Strategies for developing your ideas into a publication

The Publications Coordinating Committee sponsored “Share Your Work: Strategies for Developing Your Ideas into a Publication,” a panel session moderated by Cassandra Kvenild (University of Wyoming) that answered audience questions about how to get published.

In response to questions about selecting a publishing outlet for an idea, panelist Richard Saunders (Southern Utah University) stressed the importance of reading journals to get a sense of what kinds of articles they publish and how those articles are written. David Free (ACRL) agreed, and added that it is a good idea to see if a journal has already covered a topic. Panelists suggested looking to association publications for opportunities, such as College & Research Libraries for ACRL members or Knowledge Quest for AASL members.

In response to questions about book publishing, panelist Erin Nevius (ACRL) urged audience members to reach out directly to an editor in order to get feedback and input before crafting a detailed proposal. Nevius and Free confirmed that editors enjoy communicating with potential authors, and that most editors want to say “yes.” Free encouraged aspiring authors to “Be bold. Reach out with your ideas.”

Panelist Kristen Totleben (University of Rochester) stressed the importance of good communication and building relationships when working with editors and authors. The panel agreed, noting that frequent and open communication goes a long way when dealing with sticky issues like deadlines, revisions, special requests, and other unexpected hurdles.

When asked what to do if an article or proposal is rejected, all of the panelists said, “Don’t give up. Try again with another venue or a revised proposal.” Editors on the panel noted that they try to provide information with a rejection so that authors are directed to a different publication outlet or to a new approach for their topic.—Cassandra Kvenild, University of Wyoming Libraries, ckvenild@uwyo.edu

Library residency road map

The ACRL Residency Interest Group sponsored “Library Residency Road Map,” a panel session moderated by Madison Sullivan (business research and instruction librarian, University of Washington) that presented four perspectives on what it takes to make a library residency successful for both the resident and the institution.

Phylissa Mitchell (inclusion, diversity, and equity director, University of Virginia [UV] Library) shared her experiences and tips for advertising UV’s residency, such as attending several library conferences to market the residency and incorporating librarians. When creating a residency, staff buy-in and support are critical to success. Securing funding—whether it comes from campus or the library—knowing if is it one-time support or continuous, and knowing how many residents your institution is fiscally able to support are all of vital importance when building a residency program.

Sheila Garcia (resident librarian, University of Michigan) provided insight on being a current resident and shared that the residency was created to aid in diversifying the profession and to recruit and retain early-career librarians. Residents get experience with goal setting, project planning, and management, and are encouraged to pursue opportunities that are within their interest areas.

Jeff Witt (diversity and inclusion specialist, University of Michigan) noted that the style of your residency is dependent on the reason for creating the residency, but also that tailoring it to the needs of the library, campus, and community is essential. It is also important to take into consideration the level of effort and involvement necessary from different constituents to make sure that the residents are well supported and will be able to flourish.

Twanna Hodge (reference and liaison services librarian, SUNY Upstate Medical University) emphasized the need for institutions to do their research from the creation, implementation, and assessment of the residency. She also covered the necessity for a thorough onboarding/orientation process and for clarity regarding the purpose and rationale of the residency.

The presentation handout and slides can be found online at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1k-ZryOw7L11V0Dmn1f_nCCPALaMl4kkO.—Twanna Hodge, SUNY Upstate Medical University, tkhodge20@gmail.com.

Librarians are a force for science

The Science and Technology Section sponsored “Librarians are a Force for Science: Science Communication and Science Literacy,” a panel session that explored how librarians work with scientists and science communicators to further science literacy.

The panel was moderated by Aimee Sgourakis (science liaison librarian at University of Pittsburgh and the ACRL liaison to the March for Science).

Alison Ricker (head of the Science Library at Oberlin College) shared her numerous strategies for connecting popular science topics and events to library collections and programming. Some of Ricker’s top recommendations: create a frequently updated Popular Science Reading display in your library, showcase those Very Short Introductions on science topics, and consider joining groups like the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Craig McClain (executive director, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium) talked about his goals for science communication. He advocated for more open science, better outreach and communication, and increased advocacy for and dissemination of quality information. He said, “Be passionate—science is not a cold place, it’s an amazing place, and we need to convey that passion to the public.” He encouraged us all to become “nerds of trust” on social media—to talk to friends and family about science and bring in good information where we see misinformation happening.

Lauren Young (web producer and science journalist, Science Friday at NPR) emphasized the importance of meeting people where they are to explore science, whether that’s on the radio, on the Science Friday website, or on social media. She talked about the importance of working in multiple mediums and hosting live events.

Themes from the Q&A included prioritizing outreach in the academic researcher evaluation process, communicating the uncertainty and gray areas of scientific research, and developing strategies for reaching out across debates regarding hot button scientific issues.—Nicole Helregel, University of California-Irvine, helregel@uci.edu

Making the case for diversity

The ACRL University Libraries Section and Diversity Committee cosponsored a program, “Making the case for diversity: Grassroots leadership as a catalyst for change,” that brought librarians together who have taken a grassroots leadership role in driving equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives at their institutions. Highlights of the program included the perspective from Toni Anaya (University of Nebraska) that there is a resurgence of grassroots efforts to address diversity, including initiatives such as diversity committees and staff-led groups. She found as she created the ARL’s SPEC Kit 356: Diversity and Inclusion (https://publications.arl.org/Diversity-Inclusion-SPEC-Kit-356) that 50% of libraries surveyed have funding for diversity programming.

Stephanie Rosen (University of Michigan)discussed that in her role as an accessibility specialist, she is involved with education for staff, takes a leadership role in order to make accessibility more systematic, and is an advocate in many different ways in the library, including negotiations with vendors. She has learned to recognize that sometimes what seems like a smaller problem is evidence of a larger systemic issue.

Jennifer Chan (University of California)shared some details of the work of the UCLA Library Diversity Committee, their committees are made up of librarians, library staff, and students, and a few outcomes of their programming have been Contact Zone: UCLA Activists-in-in-Residence (www.library.ucla.edu/events/contact-zone-ucla-activists-residence), EO 9066: American Concentration Camps (www.library.ucla.edu/events/eo-9066-american-concentration-camps) exhibit, and sponsorship of the Pushing the Margins Symposium (http://pushingthemargins.com/symposium).

Finally, Jon Cawthorne (Wayne State University) shared his perspective as a creator and driver of the ACRL Diversity Alliance (www.ala.org/acrl/issues/diversityalliance). He noted their progress in building a cohort through a variety of channels (there are currently 38 participating institutions).

For a copy of the presentation, contact information for presenters, and a list of additional EDI resources, visit http://bit.ly/ALAdiversity.—Amanda Peters, University of Michigan, alexriv@umich.edu

Copyright American Library Association

Article Views (Last 12 Months)

No data available

Contact ACRL for article usage statistics from 2010-April 2017.

Article Views (By Year/Month)

January: 15
February: 33
March: 12
April: 18
May: 20
June: 17
July: 8
August: 3
January: 22
February: 11
March: 5
April: 14
May: 16
June: 20
July: 16
August: 14
September: 12
October: 17
November: 15
December: 13
January: 25
February: 14
March: 6
April: 34
May: 26
June: 17
July: 15
August: 8
September: 14
October: 11
November: 19
December: 12
January: 36
February: 41
March: 35
April: 29
May: 52
June: 60
July: 95
August: 22
September: 21
October: 27
November: 13
December: 16
January: 0
February: 0
March: 0
April: 0
May: 0
June: 0
July: 0
August: 21
September: 263
October: 25
November: 30
December: 24