Breakout Sessions and Schedule

Keynote Presentation with Fobazi M. Ettarh: Boundaries, not courtesies: Deconstructing Vocational Awe in the Everyday

10:15 – 11:15 am – Session 1

To Infinity and Beyond: Increasing the Reach of Reference and Instruction when Everyone is Out of Reach

Joe Pirillo And Ted Mulvey, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
During this pandemic, we’ve had to make changes to our program to maintain and expand our reach with students and patrons that we might never physically meet. This session is important because it will highlight 2-3 changes that have proved very helpful for our program. We have had online information literacy materials for a number of years, but hadn’t created coordinated, online learning modules until now. We also were able to explore other tools to increase the use of library reference in our online classes with, for example, reference campaigns, where students in a particular course can be invited to schedule and reserve reference sessions within a specific period of time. Attendees will learn how to explore canvas commons for inspiration and module adaption, as well as exploring the tools they already have to maximize reference outreach within courses.

So, you think you want to do a community needs assessment? Start here!

Casey Van Haren and Michele Hjorting, Prescott Valley Public Library
Prescott Valley Public Library wrote a grant to hire a consultant to assist us with our very first comprehensive community needs assessment. In additional to helping us with the assessment, the consultant trained staff on how to become neutral facilitators, the process of deep note taking and how to be an expert flip charter (Yes! There is such a thing!) If you want to explore the possibility of conducting your own community assessment, learn how to make connections with important community stakeholders, and what questions to ask to gather crucial data, then join us to learn about our journey through this year long process. We will also share lessons learned through this sometimes exhaustive and stressful process, and lastly, we will discuss our BIG AHA! We will share our COVID AHA also! There will be plenty of time for Q&A.

Remapping our shared identity

Jon Neilson, Concordia University
Cooperating Libraries in Consortium (CLIC) was founded in 1969 as a way for academic libraries in the Twin Cities area to share resources and services. The higher education landscape has changed dramatically over the last few decades, putting immense pressure on CLIC as a financially sustainable joint venture. In 2020 the six member institutions of CLIC decided to disband the consortium with each member institution planning to join the existing MnPALS Consortium as individual members. Concordia University, St. Paul was on the forefront of this effort, leading the discussion around the change, initiating contract negotiations with the MnPALS Consortium, and preparing ourselves, our campus community, and our colleagues within CLIC for the migration to a consortium with different practices and shared values. Concordia continues to lead, as we work together (but also individually) to remap our shared identity within the MnPALS Consortium. This breakout session will review how this ongoing process of change is unfolding at Concordia: how the Library staff is rethinking its shared sense of identity within a new consortium; the institutional factors that went into our decision to leave CLIC; how we’re embracing new ways of working and collaborating; how we’re framing this change as an opportunity to enhance the perception of the Library among the campus community; and how we believe this change prepares us for the future of library services within the rapidly-changing higher education landscape. More broadly, this session will address effective change management strategies within an individual library and across a consortium, how cooperative efforts must adapt going forward, and how to gain buy-in for change with organizational leadership.

Charting a Course: Setting Goals and Following Through

Amy Commers, South St. Paul Public Library
While an annual performance review or goal setting process is likely a part of most library workers’ experience, how can you motivate yourself to engage in personal and professional growth outside of those processes? When embarking on new goals or learning adventures, how can you set yourself up to be successful given the realities of your job duties, time, and support (or lack thereof)? Drawing from a decade of self-directed professional exploration, I’ll share the process I have used to set goals, research and learn, reflect, and apply new knowledge to my everyday work. Having a strategic way to approach learning and growth can be encouraging in situations where you aren’t getting a lot of direction from your supervisor, reinvigorating an area of your work you are feeling burned out by, or work toward long-term career goals. While my experience is in public libraries, the process is, by design, individual to each person and applicable across library settings and types of work. Attendees will learn a flexible, five-step method to guide them in developing an intentional approach to determining meaningful goals, creating a scenario for success, and taking action.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm – Session 2

Dr. StrangeLibraryLove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love (or, at least, Appreciate) Google

Virginia Connell, Concordia College
Concerned about college students’ small window of access to academic databases, wanting to genuinely promote life-long learning, and exhausted from providing constant cautions about worrisome places on the web, I decided I needed to re-evaluate my approach to internet life. Combining one of my wheelhouses with another, I put my undergraduate Philosophy major to work to create a 1-credit librarian-taught Humanities course that looks beyond the walls of campus to examine how we might bring our best selves to our lifelong use and evaluation of the internet and to our contributions to online communities. Exploring online has become a natural way to feed our curiosity, and this course is meant to heighten that curiosity; it is also meant to give students a variety of tools to feed that curiosity from a stance of actively using civic online reasoning. Given the wide gamut of topics addressed on the web, and given that I encourage students to investigate topics of interest to them, I am learning as much as they do. Our mutual interest in the larger topics of citizenship, community, family, work, and leisure in this class will help make information-seeking more meaningful over the course of a lifetime. Attendees of this session will be introduced to an alternative model for building information literacy skills, and will be able to explore ways to adapt one area of their interests to support another. Adapting parts of this class to reflect local needs, this class model could be adapted to all types of libraries; I will share assignments, timelines, and resources used in building the class.

Expanding Our Reach: Partnerships that Strengthen Communities

Patrick Leeport, Bemidji State University; Ara Gallo, Bemidji Public Library; Amy Karwoski, Bemidji Public Library
The goals of our NEA Big Read project could not have been achieved without extensive community involvement. A collaboration between a public and academic library, as well as many other non-governmental organizations, involved community members in all phases of the Bemijigamaag project. Our presentation will focus on the process of applying for the NEA Big Read grant, selecting a title relevant to our region, engaging partners and community members in cultural dialog, and effectively publicizing events and programs that connected our patrons with a shared experience. Attendees will learn about our planning, implementation, and assessment processes for our Big Read grant. We will discuss more specifically, the selection process of our books, the decisions made in distributing grant-funded copies, relevant programming, partnership development, marketing and promotion, and cultural relevance in regard to our local indigenous population. We will also discuss the barriers we faced in partnerships and programming while planning and implementing the grant. Ultimately, this session would be useful for attendees considering wider programming and engagement opportunities within their communities.

Deaf Identities in Libraries

Margaret Sullivan, St. Catherine University
The theme this year is “Mapping Our Identity” and how our identities can change due to external events. I would like to talk about the literature surrounding deaf patrons and how to best serve them, as well as introducing the idea that we have deaf librarians among us as well who work hard to communicate and help patrons to the best of their ability. There isn’t much research done specifically on deaf librarians, so I would like to open the door for discussion. This breakout session will help librarians understand different identities among them and how to best communicate what they need.

1:30 – 2:30 pm – Session 3

Teachers not Trainers: Cultivating and Claiming our Identity as Information Experts

Rachel Flynn, University of Minnesota Duluth
Limiters, keywords, and Boolean searches are a mere fraction of what we, as librarians, are capable of teaching our students. Yet, we are often asked to train students on how to use library databases, focusing more on the cultivation of rote skills rather than a nuanced understanding of how to ethically and effectively engage with information. This approach to information literacy instruction fails to teach our students the complex nature of how information is created and used, both in and outside of the academy. As a result, our students, but perhaps more importantly, our colleagues, see us as technology trainers as opposed to teachers and information experts. In response, librarians at Gustavus Adolphus College, as members of the Writing Program Advisory Committee, worked to develop learning outcomes for students that would introduce them, along with instruction faculty, to a deeper level of engagement with the ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy. These learning outcomes eventually became part of a new writing requirement for the college’s revised general education curriculum. This presentation will detail librarian partnerships with the Writing Across the Curriculum director and three instruction faculty in the departments of English, Political Science, and Psychological Sciences, to develop and pilot the new Writing and Information Literacy (WRITL) requirement. These partnerships provided opportunities for the library to extend its reach beyond the traditional, one-shot instructional session and cultivate and claim our identity as information experts. Assessment data of student learning and faculty testimony will illustrate how these partnerships improved student learning across disciplines. This presentation will also discuss barriers to instructional faculty adoption of this new requirement and strategies for overcoming those barriers; faculty development resources; and instructional approaches.

Stronger Connections During COVID

Audrey Betcher, Rochester Public Library
Listening to community voices allows libraries to respond to relevant and emerging needs–especially during a pandemic. In January 2020, after extensive community conversations through focus groups and interviews, Rochester Public Library (RPL) Board of Trustees approved a new strategic plan with three priority areas: equity, connections, and infrastructure. After the Minnesota Governor’s COVID-19 “stay at home” order in March, this framework provided critical direction for leaders faced with unchartered decision-making. Director Audrey Betcher shares RPL’s experience using community engagement to develop organizational documents that unify and guide operations. Audrey provides specific examples of her team’s undertaking of key emergency operation roles in leading, planning, and implementing services in response to community challenges created or exacerbated by COVID-19. In March 2020, the City of Rochester’s Emergency Operations Center called on RPL to operate a non-emergency COVID-19 Information Hotline seven days a week and stand-up a Day Center for people experiencing homelessness. RPL also problem-solved for safe and equitable library services by establishing touchless delivery and curbside systems to meet community demand for access to materials, eliminating fines to reduce financial stress and improve access for all, and starting a social connectedness campaign to build bridges with area seniors. This work put RPL at the heart of Rochester’s COVID-19 response. Learn how RPL’s commitment to equity and inclusion led the organization to continuous improvement of best practices. By prioritizing ongoing education for staff, building a culture of caring, nurturing innovation, encouraging strong teamwork, maximizing community partnerships, and creating effective communication procedures, RPL was ready to meet complex demands and urgent timelines created by the pandemic. Overall, this session will spotlight how new initiatives resulted in positive outcomes and reinforced the value of RPL to its community.

Whiteness & Libraries

Angie Kelleher, Alma College
Many of us are doing the work of diversifying our collections and serving a wider range of patrons, cultural competency trainings, and educating ourselves about marginalized groups.
However, we must acknowledge that in the US, librarianship is a largely white profession. True movement toward inclusion and equity requires us to look within, and consider how our own identities unconsciously influence our practices.  In this session, facilitated by a white librarian, we will discuss our own identities, define some terms, set ground rules and have an honest discussion about whiteness in library-land. We will acknowledge how sometimes our perfectionism, guilt, and fragility can keep us from having these hard talks.  (This session was designed with white library folks in mind, but anyone is welcome to attend.)
1. Participants will learn that they can have uncomfortable conversations about race, and that it’s okay to sometimes say or do the wrong thing.  
2. Participants will understand that the work of learning about race is a long journey, will be motivated to continue learning, and will identify appropriate resources.    
3. Participants will understand that self-examination is only one piece of this process, and that they must also learn the history of racism, and learn from the lived experiences of people of color.
Before the session, please review these materials:
White Privilege in Library Land by John D. Berry
Implicit Bias: Peanut Butter, Jelly and Racism, Freedom Project Wa

2:45 – 3:45 pm – Session 4

Disinformation, Librarians, and Literacy

Kate Hinnant, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
Disinformation offers challenges to librarians that test our well-thought-out beliefs and practices. For example, how do we discuss authority when post-truth adherents question using traditional markers of expertise? Does current information and media literacy instruction adequately address the psychological and emotional traps that disinformation lays? And how do we, as librarians, both uphold access to information and also promote regulation of information on social platforms? The jury is still out on the effectiveness of disinformation for changing people’s minds, but its ability to entrench opinions already held is well documented. As a polarizing influence, it has skewed responses to civic crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. We should consider that “business as usual” may not adequately address the ways that our information disordered environment tries to subvert much of what we seek to accomplish as librarians. In this session, we will look at case studies that highlight disinformation challenges we face in different library and social contexts. Through discussion, we will work to formulate approaches that are responsive to the situations. Participants will learn about the role of different cognitive biases in accepting or rejecting information, as well as where the work of librarians fits within the matrix of responses to disinformation.

Mapping Minnesota’s Multitypes

Mollie Stanford, Arrowhead Library System; Ann Walker Smalley, Metronet; Kathy Enger, Northern Lights Library Network; Shelly Grace, Prairielands Library Exchange; Ashley Dress, Southeast Library System; Ann Hokanson, Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative
Learn more about the seven Minnesota Multicounty, Multitype library systems! These systems improve library services by facilitating cooperation among public, school, academic, and special libraries. Join a panel of Multicounty, Multitype library system representatives as they share program, funding, history, and structure fundamentals, including collective advocacy and continuing education efforts and individual programming and services that take place at the regional level. Bring your questions!

Response to an Emerging Need: Developing an Evidence Synthesis Service

Cozette Comer and Kiri DeBose, Virginia Tech
The University Libraries at Virginia Tech recently hired an Evidence Synthesis Librarian and implemented a formal 5-year strategic plan to provide more structure to the sustainable growth and development of the new Evidence Synthesis Services (ESS). In this talk, two of the ESS members will briefly discuss where we started (before formalizing ESS) and provide an overview of our approach to developing the strategic plan. We will also highlight our instruction initiatives and discuss how they’ve evolved to support a variety of attendees. These initiatives include an introductory “Basics of Evidence Synthesis” workshop series and an extended deep-dive aimed at developing intermediary skills specifically for conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Furthermore, we will illustrate how developing collaborative partnerships can be implemented to compliment sessions and support additional learning outcomes. We will also discuss initiatives that are in the early stages of development, including a full graduate course for “Transparency, Replicability, and Evidence Synthesis in Social Sciences”, a collaboration with our library’s Data Services, as well as an ESS apprenticeship program for training graduate and undergraduate students in evidence synthesis methodologies and related skills (e.g., comprehensive searching, data management, transparent reporting). By the end of this session, participants will be familiar with the approach we took to identify and address our campus’ need for ESS and how they might apply these approaches at their own institutions. Our approach is scalable to smaller institutions, and may also provide insight to service development in areas outside of evidence synthesis. We also hope that this session may spur future conversations or collaborations.