Attendees at April 25 Academic Library Networking Event Share Ideas on EDI
By Dan Bostrom, Member Engagement Manager at Reaching Across Illinois Library System
On Thursday, April 25, 2019, staff from academic libraries around Illinois gathered at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, IL, for a RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System)/IACRL (Illinois Association of College & Research Libraries) Academic Library Networking Event. Twenty people participated, discussing topics related to equity diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Attendees chose discussion topics. These included the following.
This event was set up in a way that libraries could support each other through the exchange of ideas. Even participants spent much of the time discussing EDI, networking was a key feature. Attendees could move from topic to topic, based upon their own needs and the needs of their library.
My impression from this event was that many academic libraries are in various phases of defining and implementing their own EDI approaches. Some libraries are looking to begin the conversation with their own staff and build capacity internally. Other libraries are hosting training for staff on topics such as microaggressions and introducing new policies to address structural inequalities. Either way, most attendees expressed a desire to participate in more events structured around this issue in the future.
IACRL Hosts June 12 ACRL Webinar Viewing at University of Illinois Springfield
By Pattie Piotrowski, University Librarian & Dean, Library Instructional Services, at University of Illinois Springfield
On Wednesday, June 12, 2019, the Illinois chapter of ACRL held a webinar viewing at the University of Illinois Springfield, and almost a dozen central Illinois library staff attended. The recorded webinar, “Be Proactive: Overcoming Biases and Microaggressions in the Workplace,” lasted approximately one hour, and membership in IACRL was not required to attend. The presenters were Shamika Dalton, Interim Associate Director and Professor of Legal Research at University of Florida Levin College of Law, and Dr. Michele Villagran, Assistant Professor in the School of Information at San Jose State University. In addition to watching the webinar, attendees were asked to look over the two-part Dalton and Villagran article “Minimizing and Addressing Implicit Bias in the Workplace”, published in 2018 in College & Research Library News. Attendees also reviewed the ALA/ACRL informational page “Keeping Up with… Implicit Bias”, which contains additional background and resources.
A follow-up survey revealed that attendees found the webinar helpful in increasing professional knowledge of the topic, that networking and discussion opportunities were beneficial, and, based on a direct quote, that “webinars are good because one can usually view (them), even if can't attend, but face-to-face (interaction), including a panel or a discussion, is always superior". IACRL appreciates ACRL’s making educational opportunities available to its statewide chapters at no cost, especially since it gives Illinois academic and research librarians the opportunity to network and share ideas outside of the Illinois Library Association's Annual Conference in the fall. Thanks to ACRL!
RAILS/IACRL Academic Library Networking Event (April 29, 2019)
by Kelly Fisher, Public & Access Services Librarian at Eureka College
A small group of academic librarians met at Methodist College in Peoria on Monday, April 29, 2019 for a RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System)/IACRL (Illinois Association of College & Research Libraries) Academic Library Networking Event. For most, it was their first time at Methodist College, which is located in a large one-story building that was formerly an American furniture and appliance store. Participants were asked to introduce themselves, but also state one exciting thing that is happening at their library. (My exciting thing was the creation of a main floor student lounge in our former Reference collection space.)
Dan Bostrom, Member Engagement Manager at RAILS, then provided RAILS news items, including the Find More Illinois service and Biblioboard, and he reviewed the RAILS survey. This survey concluded that academic libraries are more concerned about what their end users know about their library than other types of libraries, and that they are also looking for compelling ways to describe their programs and services.
Based on the survey results, the main topic of the jointly sponsored event was articulating the value of academic libraries. Participants were invited to share tips, ideas and best practices related to telling their library’s story as part of the “My Library Is…” campaign. Part of the morning was spent engaging in the steps of The Library Story toolkit, which is designed to help promote libraries to their community through strategic storytelling methods.
Participants also wrote down issues their library was facing that they most wanted to discuss with others. These issues that were listed and discussed included engaging commuters, combating the “everything is online, so there is no need for libraries” idea, how to utilize data to demonstrate student success, issues with online vs. face-to-face instruction, best practices in communicating with students, and ideas for marketing library services using social media. To conclude the event, Michelle Nielsen Ott, Director of Library Services at Methodist College, provided a thorough tour of the library and campus.
Overall, attendees benefited from learning more about how to promote their libraries, networking with fellow academic librarian members of RAILS, and discussing issues with fellow librarians who could relate to their problems.
Chapters Council Roster
Alison Marie Larsen
Heather A. Dalal