ACRL in San Francisco: ACRL programs at the ALA Annual Conference

ALA’s 134th Annual Conference was held June 25–30, 2015, in San Francisco. Approximately 22,696 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.

The power of mindset

San Francisco is a city of the future, and the ACRL President’s Program focused on looking ahead to the future of libraries and how to successfully navigate a rapidly changing landscape.

Thomas Hoerr speaks at the ACRL President’s Program.

ACRL President Karen Williams highlighted the ACRL scholarship program, which helps future generations of librarians to become professionally involved early in their careers. She and past ACRL President Pam Snelson sealed a time capsule in order to both celebrate the present and envision the future. It will be opened in 2040 when ACRL turns 100 and includes items such as plans of the current ACRL board, hopes for the future from members, and memorabilia from the ACRL 2015 conference.

As an introduction to the speakers, a “Libraries in Transition” video was shown of librarians and library staff from around the country talking about the changing roles of libraries. They discussed embracing new challenges, celebrating mistakes, continuous learning, and the need to take risks.

OCLC Research Scientist Constance Malpas discussed changes in higher education and how they impact academic libraries. She discussed increasing fragmentation, fiscal constraints, stronger focus on student success, learning and research transformed by technology, and increasing management of performance and reputation.

Thomas Hoerr, noted author and head of the New City School, advised on how to best embrace those changes through fostering grit, an acquirable skill. He emphasized that “who you are is more important than what you know” and the need to embrace failure. Hoerr also pointed to Carol Dweck’s idea of fostering a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset, a necessity for librarians adapting to a changing environment. One strategy is to focus on balancing excellence and perfection, and knowing when to be okay with good enough.

Understanding our current and upcoming challenges, and how to face them with grit are essential for moving into our new roles.—Amy Elizabeth Neeser, University of Minnesota, E-mail:

We live in a visual culture

The Arts Section and Instruction Section collaboratively sponsored “Framing and Enhancing Visual Literacy: Using the New ACRL Framework to Develop Effective Art Instruction.” Led by a panel of experts representing varying visual based curriculum, the participants were invited to learn about the hot topics of visual literacy and ACRL’s newly released Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Panelists from the ACRL Arts and Instruction sections program (left to right): Kaila Bussert, Denise Hattwig, Nicole Beatty, and Nicole Brown.

Lesley Farmer (University of California-Long Beach) opened the program by discussing the foundational element of threshold concepts in the Framework for Information Literacy.

Following Farmer’s introduction Denise Hattwig (University of Washington-Bothell) added a brief contextual presentation about the visual literacy standards as they relate to and complement the threshold concepts. Hattwig drew on her expertise as a practitioner and coauthor of the ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Attendees were given a handout with the visual literacy standards that had room for taking notes on each panelist’s presentation on the reverse side. The panelists were Nicole Beatty (Weber State University), Nicole E. Brown (New York University), Kaila Bussert (California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo), and Ann Medaille (University of Nevada-Reno).

The next section of the program gave attendees a look at implementation of the framework and visual literacy standards in current and ongoing collaborations and assignments in each panelist’s discipline.

With an enthusiastic and inquisitive group of 45 to 50 librarians, an interactive conversation was established via Twitter using #artsframework. Program attendees tweeted their takeaways from the session.

Though the program was brief to have covered such a broad, impactful topic, the Arts Section’s incoming chair Greg Hatch (University of Utah) took some time to engage the audience in participating in an ongoing discussion of this topic through participation in the section and the upcoming revision of the visual literacy standards. ALA and ACRL members are encouraged to stay tuned for future events and invitations to participate in committee activities.—Jennifer Cox, The Art Institute of Portland, E-mail:

Intentional teaching online

Instructional design was the main topic of conversation for “Intentional Teaching Online: Using Instructional Design to Enhance Distance Library Instruction,” featuring librarians Amanda Clossen (Pennsylvania State University), Joelle Pitts (Kansas State University), and Kimberly Mullins (Long Island University-Post). The panel was moderated by Kathleen Pickens (Cincinnati State University) and sponsored by ACRL and the Distance Learning Section.

Panel group for “Intentional Teaching Online” (left to right): Joelle Pitts, Kimberly Mullins, Amanda Clossen, and Kathleen Pickens.

With more than 200 in physical attendance, plus two viewing remotely, Clossen kicked off the panel discussion with an informative presentation on using universal design in regards to accessibility in libraries for people with disabilities. Her presentation defined accessibility and how the concept of universal design helped her library meet the legal requirements of accessibility. Some startling statistics in regards to how libraries were not meeting the most basic requirements were shared, as well as useful links and resources to use as solutions.

Pitts continued the conversation with a presentation that introduced the idea of using a rapid prototype instructional design model to build better learning materials. She gave a brief overview of the basics of instructional design, as well as her argument for why rapid prototyping is more useful in regards to learning resource best practices.

Mullin’s presentation was the perfect conclusion on how instructional design can be applicable to integrating information literacy into an online course. She introduced the concept of IDEA (Interview, Design, Embedded, Assess) as a framework to work with faculty within their online courses. Special emphasis was placed on building applicable goals, objectives, and the proper instructional materials to successfully integrate relevant content into the courses. Mullins also shared many useful forms to be used as templates and examples for librarians to use.

Copies of the presentations and forms are located on the conference website at—Kelly C. McCallister, Appalachian State University

Boots on the ground

Veterans face many challenges trying to integrate back into civilian life. They face a higher unemployment rate, are more likely first-generation students, are less academically prepared, and are less likely to seek assistance. In the EBSS program titled “Boots on the Ground,” presenters Eduardo Tinoco and Jared Hoppenfeld shared ideas to help support the veteran population’s information needs and explained how to replicate these ideas in other libraries.

Eduardo Tinoco, business librarian at the University of Southern California and veteran, related personal challenges and provided research-based data on the expansion and types of veterans programs offered across the country. As an example of the kinds of challenges faced, Tinoco related completing classes without realizing that they did not satisfy his major’s requirements. Getting help from a friend who had more experience with how higher education functioned helped him to succeed.

Jared Hoppenfeld, business librarian at Texas A&M, participates in a nationwide program offered at a few universities to which veterans competitively apply. Titled “Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans” (EBV), the program teaches veterans entrepreneurial research skills with the goal of starting a business. Supported by corporate donations, EBV graduates have generated $188 million in revenue. Of the businesses started by EBV graduates, 93% are still in operation.

For libraries thinking of starting veteran focused programs, the speakers gave the following advice. First, use the veterans support network already available at your institution. Be open-minded. Be patient, as these veterans may have disabilities. For additional resources, please see and—Elena M. Soltau, Nova Southeastern University, E-mail:

Academic integrity

Reducing student cheating and plagiarism has long been a goal of universities. An approach to this problem was introduced in the ACRL session “Academic Integrity: An Opportunity for Faculty Development.” Two proponents of academic integrity at the University of California-Berkeley—Corliss Lee, reference and instruction librarian, and Richard Freishtat, director, Center for Teaching and Learning—described Berkeley’s newest program for academic integrity (AI). The collaboration between the library and the Center for Teaching and Learning gave energy to initiatives of other academic support units on the campus, including the Student Learning Center, Education Technology Services, the Athletic Study Center, and the Graduate Student Instructor Center (see

Lee and Freishtat’s goals are to change the emphasis from penalizing students to educating them about the importance of academic honesty and giving them the tools to succeed in research and other assignments. An effective strategy is to show the connection between academic honesty for students and for professionals in the real world. Two major challenges for a large and decentralized campus are to get the professoriate to see the educational value of teaching academic integrity throughout the curriculum (squelching the “it’s-not-my-job-to-teach-that” attitude) and to help faculty develop pedagogical strategies to incorporate academic integrity discussions into their regular lectures and assignments, so that it is not extra work for them (the “I just don’t have time for that” excuse). The use of as an educational tool, rather than just a way to catch plagiarism, was discussed.

A lively Q&A period that extended 30 minutes past the formal end of the program covered topics like the implementation of AI in the K–12 curriculum and in professional colleges, and AI resources, including the International Center for Academic Integrity (—Lynn Jones, Doe & Moffitt Libraries, University of California-Berkeley, E-mail:

All the data

Andrew Asher and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe detailed the privacy challenges inherent in the current era of accountability, digital data collection, and online information resources in “All the Data: Privacy, Service Quality, and Analytics.”

ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries report raised awareness of the need for libraries to systematically collect user data in planning and decision-making activities. Many libraries are increasingly seeking ways to use data as part of institutional efforts to better understand and measure library impact. These activities have raised questions around user privacy, anonymity, policy, library values, and service development, particularly as users leave a trail of identifiable data as they make use of library resources and services. In addition, campuses are increasingly implementing learning analytics programs and expecting the library to contribute to campus datasets.

Considered through the lens of the ALA Code of Ethics, libraries are faced with the necessity of managing and protecting user data as well as using it in service development. Asher and Hinchliffe proposed a set of data practices assertions and principles that could be the basis for policy and procedure development in individual libraries, discussion for consortia and policy-makers, and questions for vendors during contract negotiations. Though cooperatively presenting, Asher and Hinchliffe also shared that they do not agree on all aspects of the principles but hope to demonstrate that librarians can develop consensus, even while disagreeing, in order to move the conversation forward.

Attendees engaged in a nuanced exploration of the privacy, policy, management, and technological issues raised in the assertions and principles, which was complemented by Twitter-based commentary (tagged with the hashtag #allthedataprivacy).

While no specific solutions emerged from the debate, there is consensus that libraries have an obligation to develop policies related to user data tracking, purpose, and security and to disseminate information about those policies and practices to library users.—Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, E-mail:

Critical librarianship challenging the status quo

The panel “But We’re Neutral! And Other Librarian Fictions Confronted by #critlib” challenged the myths of librarianship. Emily Drabinski (Long Island University-Brooklyn) introduced the Twitter hashtag #critlib as an umbrella for critical discussions of libraries and social justice. The ideology of librarianship is often invisible because it remains unnamed, but, she said, “I don’t think we’re neutral, and neither are you, even if you think you are.”

Fobazi Ettarh (Hawthorne Public Schools) argued against the assumption that librarianship is inclusive. Despite claims that racism is a thing of the past, librarianship remains a very white profession. Even when people of color are recruited into the profession, they encounter countless micro-aggressions that make it more difficult for them to stay, and create burnout in those who do stay.

Annie Pho (University of Illinois-Chicago) pointed out the second myth, that we share the same politics and the same values. Reference classes teach that we should be neutral. However, neutrality isn’t real because we all come to librarianship with different perspectives and experiences that affect our practice.

Nicole Pagowsky (Univeristy of Arizona) tackled the myth that theory isn’t necessary for action or practice. She used cats floating on pizza as a metaphor to show how theory and practice aren’t mutually exclusive. We can talk about pizza while we eat it, creating a praxis that makes us all better “pizzacatbrarians!” If we don’t theorize and question, we yield to predominant ways of being.

Finally, Kelly McElroy (Oregon State University) questioned the myth that if you speak up, you’ll be on your own. Many lurk in #critlib for fear of repercussions. Citing Audre Lorde, McElroy argued that discussions allow us to build relationships. We have a responsibility to listen to those whose voices are often silenced. The hashtag is a gathering place, not a shared ideology.

Both the slides from this session and a Storify of the Twitter conversation are available online.—Nancy M. Foasberg, Queens College-CUNY, E-mail:

Putting your patrons in the driver’s seat

“Putting Your Patrons in the Driver’s Seat,” a program sponsored by ACRL and presented by Jennifer Ferguson and Annie Erdmann (Simmons College) and Scott Stangroom (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) discussed the results of a collaborative research project that gathered ROI data for DVD collections, purchased streaming media packages, and patron-driven acquisitions of streaming media. This data included: 1) cost per checkout for DVDs over a ten-year period, 2) cost per playback for purchased streaming media packages over a four-year period, and 3) cost per play for the Kanopy PDA model over an 18-month period. Also discussed was the planning and execution of a multimodal marketing plan that used Google Analytics to track the effectiveness of a variety of outreach methods, including subject librarian emails to faculty, social media promotions, posters in the library, and LibGuides links. The researchers also tracked referring URL data in order to determine where and how users access these films.

As early adopters, the researchers wanted to discover whether the PDA model for streaming media functioned similarly at institutions of widely different size and scope. At the same time, they were also curious to see if they could determine how best to promote new resources, since libraries often acquire expensive materials that librarians think users want but that get very little use. This presentation answered both of these questions, with the ROI, outreach, and referring URL data remarkably consistent across institutions and demonstrating that PDA for streaming video has been far more cost effective than either DVDs or purchased packages. The researchers were also able to greatly impact awareness and engage faculty who drive usage through assigned coursework.

The presentation slides can be found at—Jennifer Ferguson, Simmons College, E-mail:

Providing outreach to underserved groups by demographic

In “Embeddedness-Plus: Combining Embedded Librarianship with Direct Marketing to Underserved Groups,” sponsored by ACRL, Lorelei Rutledge (University of Utah), and Sarah LeMire (now at Texas A&M University) discussed their efforts at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library to engage four campus groups: LGBTQ students, veterans, students with disabilities, and students with young children.

Following a brief overview in which a distinction was made between marketing and outreach, traditional reasons for and models of library outreach were mentioned together with communities often viewed as underserved by libraries, the challenges and constraints libraries can face when contemplating such efforts, and effective strategies for planning them. The speakers then discussed their four target groups individually, mentioning the demographics, the nonlibrary services available on campus, their outreach efforts, and the assessment they did to gauge the success of each.

Drawing from their experiences and research, the speakers produced a flow chart (“Designing Outreach to Underserved Groups”) to help guide other librarians through the process and a schematic to characterize the outreach efforts (formal or informal, programmatic, or ad hoc) depending on the time and resources available. These can be found at—Robert Behra, University of Utah, E-mail:

Aligning learning spaces with pedagogy

The Instruction Section (IS) and the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) cosponsored the ALA IS program “Aligning Learning Spaces with Pedagogy: The Instruction Librarian’s Role in Classroom Re/Design.”

The first panelist was Elliot Felix (bright-spot strategy). Felix outlined top trends influencing learning space and service design, including:

  • mobility and blended learning,
  • problem-based learning,
  • digital and physical making, and
  • remote collaboration.

Panelists from the ACRL Instruction Section and the Library Instruction Round Table cosponsored program (left to right): Amy Kelly, Greg Carr, Theresa Stanley, Elliot Felix, and Meghan Sitar. Photo by Melissa Bowles-Terry.

Felix offered recommendations and tools for library innovation, like the online Learning Space Toolkit and use of personas.

Theresa Stanley (Pima Community College) was the next panelist to speak. Stanley described the college’s new learning studio, featuring writeable walls, smartboards, and flexible furniture. The space was designed for student-centered instruction, requiring librarians to redesign their sessions to promote active learning. Stanley reported that students love the space and library instruction sessions are up 15%. Stanley recommended that libraries under renovation collaborate across units and advocate for library user needs.

The next panelist was Greg Carr (University of Nevada-Las Vegas). Carr detailed his experience teaching in a renovated instruction space, which included “pods” with shared monitors, connections for devices, and writable surfaces. Carr collaborated with an engineering professor to teach information literacy sessions in the space. The sessions were successful: librarians experimented with team-based learning and the professor liked integrating challenging research assignments into the course.

Amy Kelly (Westminster College) was the last panelist to speak. Kelly outlined how a mobile computing initiative helped transform library instruction. The library’s new instruction space included moveable tables, projection screens, and laptops for checkout. Pedagogical change s were made as a result, using a “community of inquiry” framework. Kelly and colleagues worked with an Environmental Psychology class to study student learning and found that the space enhanced student learning.

A virtual poster session was created to showcase additional innovative spaces:— Amanda Hornby, University of Washington, E-mail:

How others view us

The ACRL Liaison Assembly sponsored the program “How Others View Us: Insights from Librarian Engagement in Higher Education Associations” with Elizabeth McClenney (Atlanta University Center, Inc.) as moderator. The four panelist included Danuta Nitecki (Drexel University), Lisabeth Chabot (Ithaca College), Juliann Couture (University of Colorado-Boulder), and Marilyn Ochoa (SUNY-Oswego).

McClenney began by noting, “This panel is part of the conversation of the Value of Academic Libraries and how we are communicating our value, in this case, to our professional associations, as well as, to our administrations and faculty who are not librarians.” The panel addressed several questions in a round-robin format, with a brief summary from each of the liaisons about their organization.

Couture, liaison to American Anthropological Association, addressed how her organization is different from most. Making an excel-about the ACRL liaison program, she noted that there are numerous types of organizations, some focusing ongeneral higher education initiatives and some more discipline specific.

Panelists from the ACRL Liaison Assembly program (left to right):Elizabeth McClenney, Danuta Nitecki, Lisabeth Chabot, Juliann Couture, and Marilyn Ochoa.

Chabot stated that her primary activities as a liaison to Council of Independent Colleges have been attending two events where she is the only librarian. Speaking on behalf of libraries, she always has handouts, highlighting our values and challenges, while pointing out all the things libraries can do and want to do.

Nitecki, as the liaison to the Society for College and University Planning, identifies overlapping interests as planning: bringing together all the disparate groups on campus together. This shared notion of looking at things in a holistic view.

Ochoa states that as a liaison to the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, one of the interesting challenges she has had when attending conferences is explaining the scope and breadth of what librarians are able to provide.—Cynthia L. Henry, Texas Tech University, E-mail:

Collaborative efforts between LIS programs and practitioners

A four person panel of library educators and practitoners held a panel discussed entitled “Collaborative Influences of LIS Educators and Practitioners Regarding Hiring the Profession,” sponsored by the ACRL LIS Education Interest Group. The major focus of this panel discussion was the importance of collaborative efforts between LIS programs and practitioners.

In a discussion of his new book, Strategic Human Resource Planning for Academic Libraries: Information, technology and Organizations (Chandos 2015), that focuses on change, Michael Crumpton (University of North Carolina-Greensboro), stressed how changes in the profession impact LIS teaching, citing examples of trends within the profession. Further discussion included the relationship between theory and practice and the need for field experiences outside the classroom.

Susan E. Searing (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)discussed the importance of collaborations for learning and research between university librarians and GSLIS faculty.

The many connections that can exist for LIS faculty and librarians were discussed by panelist Rachel A. Fleming-May (University of Tennessee). Fleming-May highlighted research, informal consulting, guest lectures, co-teaching, and committee work as some of ways these groups can work together.

Rebecca B. Vargha (University of North Carolina) discussed how LIS practitioners and educators can create the future together by being intentional and focusing on the future. Clear communication regarding changing expectations in libraries and mutual respect and trust between LIS educators and practitioners are key to creating programs that teach LIS graduates to adapt to the changing information landscape and staying relevant by becoming lifelong learners.—Linda L. Lillard, Clarion University, E-mail:

Libraries behind bars

The Literatures in English, Anthropology and Sociology, and Law and Political Science sections cosponsored, with ASCLA as a sponsor in name only, the panel “Libraries Behind Bars: Education and Outreach to Prisoners.” Panelists Amy Lerman, (University of California-Berkeley), Leah Jacobs (University of California-Berkeley), and Tobi Jacobi (Colorado State University), spoke about the importance of education and creative expression in reducing prisoner recidivism. Elizabeth Marshak (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) moderated the panel.

Lerman provided background information on the rise of mass incarceration, overwhelmingly impacting young, poor, and uneducated black men for nonviolent drug offences. She stressed that the costs of incarceration outweigh those of prison education. Most prisoners have very poor access to educational opportunities. The average prisoner waits two-to-six days to have access to library materials.

Jacobs spoke about The Prison University Project. Located at San Quentin, it is the only degree-granting program in the California prison system and frames education as a human right. A recent evaluation found that the program succeeds in reducing recidivism. By encouraging prisoners to create and run self-help groups, it encourages prisoners to envision a life outside of the recurrent cycle of recidivism.

Jacobi discussed how creative writing courses, taught by volunteers, offer incarcerated women opportunities to express their authentic voices. She also shared poems and songs written by the women she taught, arguing that while television shows like Orange Is the New Black have raised awareness of incarcerated women’s experiences, true understanding can only come if women prisoners themselves have a chance to speak —and if we listen. Jacobi stressed that while celebrating individual voices is important, we must still work towards transforming the structural problems that the American prison system presents.—Laura R. Braunstein, Dartmouth College, E-mail: , and Sarah Hogan, University of Chicago, E-mail:

Should I tweet that?

Self-expression via social media platforms and the evolving landscape of public employee rights were discussed at the ACRL Professional Values Committee’s program “Should I tweet that? Academic Freedom and Social Media.” The session focused on recent high-profile cases involving academic faculty using social media, which led to issues with their employers.

The session moderators introduced the topic as it relates to librarians and academic freedom. The audience worked in small groups to discuss several topical questions related to social media usage. The audience then shared perspectives regarding personal approaches to balancing social media usage and their work life.

Panelist Mary Minow (The Califa Group) reviewed the major legal cases that protect employee speech rights and provided explanations of the relevant details about how these rights have shifted recently. She informed the audience that depending on the employer, certain types of public speech may not be allowed at all.

Henry Reichman (professor emeritus, California State University-East Bay) addressed key issues with the Steven Salaita case, which he characterized as “the most important case related to academic freedom of the decade.” He reviewed the events of that case and the American Association of University Professors response.

Reichman urged faculty, especially those with the protection of tenure or rank, to speak up and work diligently to ensure your institutional policy protects and upholds academic freedom rights.

The key takeaways from this session included understanding that a line between public and private speech doesn’t exist in our connected social media world. The audience was reminded about the importance of understanding and advocating for strong rights-driven policies governing speech and academic freedom in our workplaces. Many emerging issues were discussed in this program that left the audience wanting more time to share experiences and to learn about trends related to academic freedom.—Beth Anderson Schuck, College of Southern Nevada, E-mail:

Reducing the fog around publishing

The Publications Coordinating Committee sponsored a program on the book publishing process—“Reducing the Fog around Publishing: Practical Strategies for Book Development, from Research to Writing”—moderated by John Budd (University of Missouri) and featuring panelists who shared advice based on their experiences.

Cass Kvenild (University of Wyoming) recommended addressing key questions in a book prospectus: the audience, what has already been written on the topic, and what makes your contribution distinctive. It’s critical to outline the scope of the project, including a table of contents or proposed call for chapters, and she noted that developing a timeline is the most challenging element.

Brad Eden (Valparaiso University) built on this theme and spoke about the criticality of good project management. Eden suggests an overall timeline of 9 to 12 months, with a deadline for author proposals (three weeks maximum), for submissions and for delivery to the publisher. Most importantly, build in “places of repose” to account for late authors and editorial time. Eden recommended accepting most author proposals, as you will lose 10 to 20% of authors before the submission deadline.

Peggy Seiden (Swarthmore College) spoke about the editing process through two case studies. In the first example, author submissions provided the ultimate shape for the book, and the editors divided sections and editorial responsibilities. In the second, Seiden recruited authors based on a concept and necessary expertise. To fit this holistic approach, the coeditors worked on each chapter together through weekly conference calls.

Kathryn Deiss (ACRL) recommended remaining in regular contact with one’s publisher and acting as part of a book’s marketing team. Deiss stressed the importance of understanding a publisher’s process (publication time ranging from one to three years), giving your book a “punchy” title, and drawing on citation managers and personal reviewers to deliver a clean manuscript.—Jennie M. Burroughs, University of Minnesota, E-mail:

Curating activism in LGBT history

The day following the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodge determining the constitutionality of marriage equality, a group gathered for “Curating Activism in LGBT History.” Cosponsored by the Rare Books and Manuscript Section and ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Round-table, this panel delved into the issues surrounding collecting in the LGBT community.

Anne Moore (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) moderated and rooted the discussion in the librarian’s viewpoint, focusing on LGBT materials in teaching and instruction.

Paul Boneberg (AIDS activist and former executive director, GLBT Historical Society, San Francisco) spoke about the role of archives in collecting LGBT materials—and the importance of focusing on social as well as political activism in the LGBT community. He spoke about many communities’ inability to preserve their own content. Boneberg emphasized that now is the time to collect from and create oral histories with older activists.

Amy Sueyoshi (San Francisco State University) spoke of diversity and inequity across LGBT communities, and how this relates to the perceived mainstreaming of LGBT communities. Sueyoshi also discussed the archive as a force bestowing social significance to cultural groups through the acts of curation and preservation. She also emphasized the importance of hiring transgender people and otherwise diversifying archival and library practice.

In the following discussion, issues of equity were particularly poignant. Participants echoed the sentiment of privilege of Lesbian and Gay Male materials in archives and the relative scarcity of transgender materials. The present as a moment of importance reigned large in the discussion, particularly in reference to activists’ materials of the 1960s to 1980s disappearing and to ensure that contemporary communities believe their materials to be historically valuable.—Jason Kovari, Cornell University, E-mail:

Unlocking the sciences

The Science and Technology Section’s program, titled “Unlocking the Sciences: Collaborative Research with Community Engagement through Citizen Science,” was cosponsored by the Health Science Interest Group and the Instruction Section. Citizen science (CS) is the practice of nonexperts participating in science, and this session introduced CS and discussed how libraries can participate in these crowdsourced research projects.

Debbie Currie (North Carolina State University) introduced the major participants in CS as college and universities, public and private research, museums, K–12 schools, and community groups. There isn’t a natural fit between academic libraries and CS because the public isn’t a traditional focus. However, libraries should start by inventorying CS projects on campus and identifying ways to support those initiatives. Possible roles include providing space, helping to make connections, and documenting the process and results of the project.

Eileen Harrington (Universities at Shady Grove), listed benefits of CS for participants that included gaining firsthand experience with the scientific process, increased scientific literacy, and a sense of accomplishment. Avenues for libraries include hosting makerspaces, allowing exhibit spaces for CS, and providing classroom space for training and other activities. CS can also provide opportunities for librarians to assist with data management and educate about open access and scholarly publications.

The program’s final speaker, Andrew Westphal, is the lead scientist for Stardust@ Home, a CS project to analyze interstellar dust captured by the Stardust probe. He explained that the Stardust mission returned such a large amount of data that it would have taken years to analyze without incorporating volunteers. Humans are very sensitive at detecting patterns and proved to be highly accurate at identifying particles. Project Stardust recently was featured in a Science article with two of the coauthors being citizen “Dusters.”

A resource guide containing a database of CS projects and speaker slides is located at—Sara Russell Gonzalez, University of Florida, E-mail:

Look into the crystal ball

Sponsored by University Libraries Section, “Look into the Crystal Ball: Future Directions for Higher Education and Academic Libraries” explored broad transformations in higher education and how libraries can respond.

Mitchell Stevens (Stanford University) described higher education’s future as “ever more digital,” due to ubiquity of technology, unabated price escalation of conventional delivery, and peoples’ desire for “more and more” higher education. He believes libraries can especially assist with curation (“information ubiquity doesn’t translate to quality”), identity (“libraries can contribute very clearly to online environments and experiences independent of physical spaces”), and instructional scaffolding (“an ever wider diversity of people will be coming to higher education with highly varied research skills”).

Deanna Marcum (Ithaka S+R), drawing from Ithaka data, spoke to challenges facing public flagship universities, as well as independent liberal arts colleges, noting, “Where you sit in the world of higher education is likely to determine your sense of its future.” She sees expanded opportunities for libraries in multiple areas, including evaluation of technology and identification of high-quality course materials—both library-subscribed, and open access.

Janice Jaguszewski (University of Minnesota) asked: “What do your users need that the library is uniquely positioned to provide?” Jaguszewski noted successes at Minnesota, such as the libraries’ work in providing data management resources and partnering with faculty around high-quality and cost-effective course materials. She stressed the importance of radical collaboration and of educational priorities driving technology use. Such collaboration, she stated, “will itself create further opportunities.”

Chris Bourg (MIT) described the opportunities libraries have to “create change we believe in,” and to further social justice. These include preservation, and helping students understand historical contexts of modern issues; scholarly communication, emphasizing open access; curation, especially providing tools that empower users to themselves curate content; and working with faculty to teach critical thinking and data literacy skills. Bourg encouraged academic librarians to “claim a seat at the table and proclaim our expertise,” and to be proactive in helping shape the future.—Michelle M. Maloney, University of the Pacific, E-mail:

Beyond Tintin

The WESS-SEES “Beyond Tintin: Collecting European Comics in the U.S.” panel focused on issues related to comics’ and graphic novels’ relatively recent inclusion in the scholarly purview of a variety of disciplines, and the particular challenges associated with collecting graphic narrative works from Europe.

As comics and graphic novels have achieved legitimacy as foci of scholarly inquiry, their limited representation in research collections has come to be regarded by some as a serious lacuna. The fact that this has been addressed by only a handful of institutions has relegated these materials to the special collections category, which has meant that preservation tends to be privileged over accessibility where they are concerned. Were they more widely held, the preservation/access balance could skew to favor the latter and promote broader use of these texts in teaching and scholarship.

With European comics and graphic novels the problem is all the more acute, as these are drastically under-represented not only in North American research collections, but in the North American popular market as well. The American graphic narrative tradition has been well assimilated by European authors and readers, but the inverse is not true. This makes it imperative for research institutions to collect the output of European graphic narrative authors and artists all the more urgent, particularly as the dominant graphic narrative tradition in Europe is one of an autobiographical and documentary nature. So these works represent artifacts of interest for a broad range of scholarly projects—not only art-historical, literary-theoretical, and culturological, but also sociological and more traditionally historical.

As strategies for keeping abreast of European graphic narrative publishing the panelists recommended attendance at festivals and monitoring relevant awards and anthological serials. Among the authors and artists mentioned were J. P. Stassen, Cyril Pedrosa, Jaromír99, Nikoali Maslov, and Viktoria Lomasko.—Thomas Keenan, Princeton University, E-mail:

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