All posts tagged “conference presentations

title slide from the presentation "a practice of connection" [image of a cat and dog cuddling]
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CLAPS Presentation Slides & Notes

I just returned from the Critical Librarianship & Pedagogy Symposium at the University of Arizona and feel so lucky to have spent time with such thoughtful, intelligent, engaging friends and colleagues. In the frantic lead up to the conference I neglected to share the slides and notes from the discussion I helped co-facilitate and the research panel I co-led.

First up was A Practice of Connection: Applying Relational-Cultural Theory to Librarianship, with Anastasia Chiu, Joanna Gadsby, Alana Kumbier & Lalitha Nataraj.

As per usual, the slides have relatively limited text, but if you select the gear icon on the slide show you can see our speaker notes. Our guiding questions for this facilitated discussion included:

  • Based on what we’ve introduced and what you already know / have experienced, what are some ways you could incorporate RCT into your work?
  • What opportunities for mutuality are there in this work?
  • How can you create connection within this work?
  • Where are you finding connection and support in your work?
  • What relationships do you value and nurture in your work? What relationships would you nurture more if you felt you had more capacity to do so?
  • What are opportunities for empowerment / empowering others (alongside yourself) in your work?
  • Do you have any examples/ experiences of growthful conflict?

Then, Joanna Gadsby, Sian Evans, and I shared some initial research findings in Peers, Guest Lecturers, or Babysitters: Constructions of Power in the Library Classroom.

I’m always happy to talk about our presentations, and welcome questions! Also, I was asked about our slides a few times at the conference, so I’ll share my invaluable slide deck resources below:

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ACRL 2017 Excitement!

confetti against a white brick wall

Last week I was mentally, if not completely physically, on Spring Break, and this week I’m already in full-on ACRL Conference mode. The Critlib Unconference takes place tomorrow (Wed) and I am so looking forward to driving up to Baltimore to learn from smart enthusiastic colleagues and chill with old and new friends. Despite living only two hours away I rarely make it up to Baltimore, so this is a great opportunity to see more of the city, and–let’s be real–eat, drink, and shop my way through Fells Point and Hampden.

Shameless Plug Time

I’m presenting a conference paper with my wonderful colleague Joanna Gadsby, Instruction Coordinator & Reference and Instruction Librarian at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, on Thursday at 4:00pm (to 4:20pm) in Room 310. It’s called Gendered labor & library instruction coordinators: The undervaluing of feminized work, and you can read our paper or take a look at our presentation slides if you won’t be attending ACRL.

Sessions on My Must-See List

I’ve been combing through the conference schedule trying to mark a few must-attend panel sessions, papers, posters, and discussion roundtables, and although I’m nowhere near done, I thought I’d share a few that stood out to me (as of today). If you’ve put any of these on your list, let me know! Maybe we can meet up.

I’m also planning to hang out in the Art Lounge a bit and perhaps learn to crochet (finally), as well as attend the keynotes by Roxane Gay and Carla Hayden.


*Library Leadership and Gender: Expectations and Lived Experiences
Jennifer Brown, April Hathcock, Erin Leach, Jessica Olin, Maura Smale, Michelle Millet
8:00-9:00, Room 309

*How it all Comes Together: The Theory & Application of Intersectionality Studies in Academic Libraries
Annie Pho, Azusa Tanaka, Isabel Gonzalez-Smith, Juleah Swanson, Rose Chou
8:00-9:00, Room 341-342

*I might get some cardio in and dash between these two sessions.

Resilience, Grit, and Other Lies: Academic Libraries & the Myth of Resiliency
Angela Galvan, Jacob Berg, Eamon Tewell
9:40-10:40, Room 308

Embedded Peer Specialists: One institution’s successful strategy to scale information literacy services
Marc Levis-Fitzgerald, Annie Pho, Danielle Salomon, Casey Shapiro
3:00-3:20pm, Room 321-323


Who Steers the Boat? On Women in a Feminized Profession
Roxanne Shirazi, Emily Drabinski, Nicole Pagowsky
8:30-9:30, Room 327-329

Reclaiming Knowledge as a Public Good: Librarians Leading Campus OER Initiatives
10:30am – 11:30am, Room 327-329

Suffering from Midcareer Malaise? Re-energize your worklife!
10:30-11:30, Roundtable 7

How would you like to be remembered? Expanding your pedagogy & professional practice
Nicole Cooke
4:15-5:15, Room 314-315


Student-led Educational Experiences: The Risks & Rewards of Letting Go
8:30-9:30, Room 327-329

Try Something New

I am also trying to leave plenty of room in my schedule to attend sessions that don’t immediately stand out to me, or are completely outside of my usual professional focus. What sessions are on your must-attend list? Anything stand out to you? Is there something you’re presenting that you’d like to plug? I’d love to hear what everyone is doing.

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Does Experience Equal Research Expertise?

This July my friend and frequent collaborator, April Aultman Becker and I will be presenting at the Library Instruction West conference in amazing Portland, Oregon. We’ll be discussing the challenges and pedagogical opportunities that accompany teaching experienced or advanced researchers such as undergraduate thesis writers, graduate students, and researchers / faculty. The topic for our session was born out of the realization that research experience doesn’t always equal research expertise. Given the nature of her library and parent institution, April teaches graduate students, doctors, nurses, and medical researchers on a regular basis. Since I work at a primarily undergraduate liberal arts college, my “experienced” researchers are primarily senior students writing theses or working on guided research with faculty. Despite the obvious differences in these library user groups, they are all assumed to be at some sort of “advanced” research level, and that assumption brings with it all sorts of baggage.

We might think that experienced researchers are familiar with all of our library’s resources and how to use them. We might presume that they know how to organize their research efficiently. We take for granted that they know the primarily literature and resources in their field of study and are aware of new developments in this area. We might expect these researchers to be a “tough sell” and not be super interested in what we have to say.

Or we might flip all of those assumptions and assume, instead, that they know very little about research processes, tools, and strategies.

I work with a large number of psychology students (and some anthropology and political science students) who fall into this “experienced” researcher category. They’ve often had previous library-related research instruction in addition to a research methods course in their major area of study and frequent research assignments throughout their major coursework. They eventually work on a senior thesis or extensive seminar paper. Their skill levels VARY WILDLY. Some have never checked out a book once in their college career and only know how to use one library database. Others have an impressive grasp of their subject matter and are familiar with the library resources in their field of study. Of course, there are always those who fall somewhere in between that range.

So what happens when they all end up in the same library instruction session?

I teach 2-hour research sessions for senior thesis writers, seminar writers,  and research methods students every fall and spring semester. It is hard. They’re all working on vastly different research projects, and their levels of research expertise are kind of all over the map. It’s a strange balancing act that takes place in this kind of classroom: I try to respect students’ content expertise and research experience while still offering them much needed instruction and guidance. The approaches and activities I employ for first year students don’t work in this kind of classroom, and I’ve found greater success when I’ve relinquished control of the session and made it more about students’ research needs at that moment.

I’ve been trial-and-error-ing different activities, lessons, and approaches for the past 2 years. Sometimes they bomb, like that one time I tried to convince senior seminar students that reference materials could be a really useful tools. Their reply: What’s a reference? Like an article? I haven’t used an encyclopedia since the 6th grade. This is not helpful. Other methods have been more successful, like asking students to think about and share their research fears/problems (we shared some feelings in that class, y’all). Overall I think I’m beginning to learn that for these groups of students

  • peer-to-peer teaching works well
  • sounding like you’re trying to impart expertise is bad for business
  • letting students direct the content and pace of the class is really helpful
  • giving them CHOICES is THE THING TO DO.

April and I are still doing research on pedagogical approaches for “experienced” researchers, but I’d love to hear from others who teach similar groups of students. What’s worked for you? What do you enjoy most/least about working with this subset of users?