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Chapter Topics ~ Fall 2021

Professional Development

Successful Professional Development Opportunities through Committee Collaborations

By Christina Connor, Ramapo College of New Jersey and Joe Louderback, DeVry University

The Assessment and Reference & User Education Committees have a long history of collaboration. The co-sponsored Summer Workshop has been a staple in annual offerings to academic librarians for many years. In the spring of 2021, the committee co-chairs worked together to produce a new event, and on May 7, 2021, offered a virtual workshop framed around the ACRL Learning Analytics Toolkit. The ACRL Learning Analytics Toolkit is designed to help connect the data commonly collected by librarians to bigger campus-wide initiatives. The workshop was open to all members of the NJLA-CUS community and offered a general introduction to the Toolkit, as well as two breakout sessions. The breakout sessions, facilitated by the co-chairs of the committees, explored different aspects of the Toolkit: Exploring the Connections Between Learning Analytics and Student Success and Rebalancing the Toolkit: Considering Both Quantitative and Qualitative Data. The workshop was well received by attendees, who indicated an interest in similar events in the future.

In keeping with tradition, the Reference & User Education and Assessment Committees hosted the Summer Workshop on July 22, 2021. This annual, half-day event provides an opportunity for New Jersey academic librarians to share ideas through roundtable discussions and lightning talks in a relatively informal environment. The event organizers solicit presentations related to assessment, instruction, and reference services – the theme serves as a focal point for presenters. This year’s forward-looking and hopeful theme was Weathering the Storm: Looking Ahead to Brighter Horizons. The Summer Workshop is consistently well attended, and this year’s event was no exception: despite (or perhaps because of) the online delivery mode, over 60 librarians from all corners of New Jersey were able to participate. The big draw, no doubt, was the range of presentation topics, including using ACRL’s Project Outcome for assessment, academic integrity, collaboration on course design, proactive chat reference, visual literacy and information literacy programs, academic library outreach, qualitative and quantitative assessment methods, OER initiatives, embedding LibGuides in the LMS, and how hidden bias affects diversity and inclusion efforts in libraries.

The committee chairs find these collaborative efforts professionally rewarding and have seen an increased interest in their respective groups as a result. The chairs of both the Reference & User Education and Assessment Committees have an interest in finding new, collaborative opportunities in the future and are open to suggestions for topics or events. If you’re interested in collaboration, have a suggestion for a future event, or wish to know more about the Assessment or Reference & User Education committees, please contact Christina Connor ( or Joe Louderback ( respectively.

Ohio Chapter (ALAO) Conference and Awards

By Jane Hammons, The Ohio State University

The Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) Annual Conference was held virtually from October 27-29, 2021. The theme was Building Bridges: Dialogue, Deliberation, & Connection in Academic Libraries. The pre-conference, “Loving thy Neighbor: Creating Coalitions and Deconstructing Vocational Awe,” was presented by Fobazi Ettarh, author of “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves.” Sofia Leung gave the opening keynote, “What is at Work in our Library Work?” while the closing session, “Re-Envisioning LIS: Activating Social Justice,” was delivered by Nicole Cooke. The conference featured 18 breakout sessions, 16 posters, and lightning talks. Conference sessions are available for viewing on the conference website.

ALAO award winners were also announced during the conference. Derek Zoladz of OhioNet was selected to receive the Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award for his work in supporting ALAO over several years, including his assistance in transforming the 2020 conference to a virtual format. The Kathryn Venditti Mentoring Award was awarded to Mark Eddy of Case Western Reserve University, both for his work with ALAO’s mentoring program and as a mentor to undergraduate students. The TEDDY Award, for outstanding service in the field of Technical, Electronic, and Digital Services, was awarded to Ken Irwin of Miami University.

Fall 2021

Chapter Topics Logo

Chapters Council Roster

Dawn Behrend

Dawn Behrend

Leslin Charles
Leslin Charles

Kelly McCallister

Kelly McCallister
Vice Chair

Alison Larson
Alison Marie Larsen
Past Chair

Eric Edwards
Eric Anthony Edwards

Paula Martin
List Administrator

Amber Willenborg
LibGuide Adminstrator

Lauren Carlton
Staff Liaison

Carrie E. Dunham-LaGree
Carrie E. Dunham-LaGree
Legislation Representative