2017 ALA Annual Conference updates

As many Libraries employees may be aware, the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference is being held June 22-27 in Chicago. The following is a round-up of activities — including national leadership positions — many of our colleagues are participating in there, as well as at ALA-affiliated organizations’ June conferences. Thank you to those who submitted their activities for inclusion in this post, and congratulations to all who are representing Penn State University Libraries!

Ellysa Cahoy (education and behavioral sciences librarian and assistant director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book) spoke Saturday on the panel “To Teach or Not To Teach Discovery Tools: Balancing Practical Instruction with the ACRL Information Literacy Framework,” which focused on challenges and potential best practices when using the ACRL Information Literacy Framework. She also is finishing her term as past chair of the ACRL Instruction Section.

Jennifer Gilley (head librarian, Elisabeth S. Blissell Library at Penn State New Kensington) is the chair of the Research Committee for the Women and Gender Studies Section and hosted the WGSS Forum on Saturday, June 24. Today she also is receiving the 2017 Association of College and Research Libraries Women and Gender Studies Section Career Achievement Award.

Today Athena Jackson (Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair and head of Special Collections) sat on the ALA Executive Committee meeting and received her gavel as incoming chair of ALA’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS).  Jackson also participated in a panel on Saturday titled “Reaching In to Reach Out: Examining the State of Inclusivity Across Libraries, Archives and Museums.” At the 2017 RBMS conference June 20-23, she sat on the panel session “Defining the Archive,” presented at the seminar “Leadership & Management In Special Collections: Becoming the Boss, The First Three Years and Beyond” and participated in a Q&A with RBMS leaders.

Jeff Knapp (Larry and Ellen Foster Communications Librarian) is finishing his term as ALA’s Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) president during its 40-year anniversary celebration, and presided over its executive board meeting today.

Megan Mac Gregor (student engagement and outreach librarian, Nesbitt Library at Penn State Wilkes-Barre) presented at two round tables at ALA Annual. The first, “Transforming Our Academic Outreach Practices: reaching Our Students, Faculty and Staff, and Administrators,” held on Sunday, included her presentation “Just Smile: A Soft Rebranding,” about the Nesbitt Library’s focus on customer service and iterative, incremental and user-driven changes. The second, “Where There is Thunder, There is Lightning: EDI and Change in Libraries,” was hosted on Sunday by the ALA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Implementation Working Group. It included her presentation “He-Women, Femme-Men and everything in between: Flipping traditional gender norms and a classroom by reaching out with library resources.” 

On Sunday, John Meier (science librarian, Physical and Mathematical Sciences Library) attended the announcement of the first ever SEE-IT Award (Stories Engagingly Expressed – Illustratively Told) as part of its inaugural jury. The award will be given each year in collaboration between EBSCO and the CBC Graphic Novel Committee to celebrate the youth graphic novel with the highest literary quality. He also is attending the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Science and Technology Section (STS) leadership events, since he will become its chair-elect following ALA’s Annual Conference and serve as chair of STS next year.

Rebecca Miller (head of Library Learning Services) is serving on ALA Council as a councilor-at-large, which gives her voting privileges on ALA resolutions during council meetings at the conference. She also is chair of the ACRL New Publications Advisory Board, which met on Saturday. On Saturday morning, she was the invited speaker at “So, You’re a New Instruction Librarian,” based on her book The New Instruction Librarian, and on Saturday afternoon, Miller co-presented a poster (preview online) representing collaborative work with Steve Borrelli (head of Library Assessment), Victoria Raish (online learning librarian) and Christina Wissinger (health sciences liaison librarian). Today she is moderating an ACRL panel, “From Teaching to Leading: A Learning-Centered Management Bootcamp.”

Emily Mross (business and public administration librarian, Penn State Harrisburg Library) and Christina Riehman-Murphy (reference and instruction librarian, Abington College Library) presented a poster “Spirituality in the Stacks: A Study of Student Prayer in Academic Libraries” on Saturday. The poster (preview online) highlights research conducted to understand where and why students pray in their campus libraries.

Riehman-Murphy also presented a poster at Saturday’s ACRL Women and Gender Studies Section (WGSS) General Membership Forum. Her poster, “And the Award Goes to?: Awarding adherence to femininity during the first wave of feminism in the Ogontz Archives,” examines the discourses of femininity as found in the digitized award-winning and non-award-winning essays from the Ada Pierce McCormick Collection of the Ogontz School for Young Ladies Archive, housed at Penn State Abington College Library.

In addition, Riehman-Murphy and Jennifer Hunter (reference and instruction librarian, Penn State Abington College Library) received the 2017 ACRL College Libraries Section Innovation in College Librarianship Award on Friday evening, June 23.

Amy Rustic (reference librarian, Elisabeth S. Blissell Library at Penn State New Kensington) is concluding her year as 2016-2017 chair of the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) Reference Service Section. In this role at ALA Annual, she is leading section meetings, including the all-committee meeting and open house, serving as a member of RUSA Board, and participating in meetings with other section leaders, among other duties.

Ann Snowman was a panelist on Saturday during the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) Technology Community of Practice’s program To Fine or Not to Fine: That is the Question.” The panel examined current research and practice on the topic, and she shared information about payroll deduction and use of a collection agency.

Christopher Walker (serials cataloging librarian) is the invited speaker, with a colleague from the National Library of Medicine, this afternoon at this year’s Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) Continuing Resources Cataloging Forum. They are speaking on the topic, “The Serialist Mindset: Working with Continuing Resources and other Unsolvable Problems.”