Illinois Chapter: Spark Professional Development Event
By Susan R. Franzen, Assistant Professor & Nursing Librarian at Milner Library at Illinois State University
In May 2020, the Illinois chapter of ACRL held its first-ever Spark professional development event, Connect & Get Fired Up. While originally intended to be in-person, Spark pivoted to an online event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A panel of librarians presented on various topics and then participants chose breakout rooms to discuss content with the presenters. Eight individuals presented on a wide variety of topics, including project management, virtual research appointments, intellectual freedom, and OER librarianship.
In December 2020, due to the popularity of the first event, IACRL hosted a second online Spark event, Trial by Fire: Lessons Learned from a Pandemic, with presentations focused on how librarians across the state adapted to the pandemic. These talks sought to answer questions like “What has changed at your library since March 2020? How did you stay motivated? What successes do you want to share?” Topics included pivoting to online instruction, creating a contact tracing seating system, archiving pandemic stories, and delivering online DEI programming.
The next Spark event, Looking Back, Looking Forward, will be held in June 2020. The IACRL Conference and Continuing Education Committee is currently seeking presenters for the online program. The Spark events bring together not just academic librarians but also our public and school library colleagues from across the state.
Attendance for the first two events was strong with up to 100 participants. This opportunity to share initiatives and discuss important issues has benefited us during a time when people felt alone and overwhelmed by the worldwide pandemic. IACRL looks forward to continuing this successful professional development event for many years!
Chapters Council Roster
Alison Marie Larsen
Lisa T. Nickel
Eric Anthony Edwards
Carrie E. Dunham-LaGree