President’s Report

2019 Annual Conference

Katy Mathuews

Katy Mathuews, President

I am excited to share planning updates for our 2019 Annual Conference, Libraries Speak Up! Advocate. Collaborate. Educate. The conference will take place on October 18, 2019 at Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio with a pre-conference at the same location on October 17, 2019. Be sure to get registered and check out the program!

 2019 Executive Board Retreat

The 2019 Executive Board held its annual retreat on Friday, July 19, 2019 at Ohionet in Columbus, OH. The Executive Board Retreat is an opportunity for the Board to conduct strategic planning for the year and to provide training to incoming board members. This year’s Board Retreat saw the culmination of a year-long exercise to establish our strategic plan for 2019-2024. Strategic Plan will be reviewed each year to ensure mindful progress toward our goals. The board-approved plan is featured below.

ALAO Strategic Focus Areas and Objectives 2019-2024

Focus 1: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Goal: ALAO will exemplify equity, diversity, and inclusion in daily practices, foster those practices in its membership, and position members to become effective advocates on important issues facing the profession.

Focus 2: Expanding our Horizons

Goal: ALAO will position itself as a regional leader for an array of professional development activities, expanding and innovating upon its well-revered suite of programming.

Focus 3: Efficient and Purposeful

Goal: ALAO will build upon partnerships, management best practices, and sound organizational strategy to refine practices that position ALAO as current, efficient, and valuable.

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Call for Nominations: Jay Ladd and Kathryn Venditti Awards

The ALAO Awards Committee is now accepting nominations for the 2019 Jay Ladd Eric_Resnis-6149Distinguished Service Award and the Kathryn Venditti Mentoring Award.

The Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual who has:

  1. been an Academic Library Association of Ohio member for at least 5 years
  2. promoted academic libraries and librarianship on his or her own campus and within the state
  3. provided sustained leadership in the promotion of Academic Library Association of Ohio, e.g., committee service, interest group chair, position on the Executive Board

Additional information about the Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award is available at

Please submit nominations for the Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award through the Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award online nomination form.

The Kathryn Venditti Mentoring Award recognizes an individual who has:

  1. demonstrated excellence as a mentor to a librarian, library worker, or library science student
  2. a sustained record of effective mentorship, as demonstrated by activities that may include but not be limited to advising, developing, coaching, sponsoring, advocating, guiding, and/or supporting librarians, library workers, or library students

Additional information about the Kathryn Venditti Mentoring Award is available at

Please submit nominations for the Kathryn Venditti Mentoring Award through the Kathryn Venditti Mentoring Award online nomination form.

NOTE: You may nominate more than one person for each award! Your reasons for nominating your candidate(s) will be especially valuable to the Awards Committee so please be as detailed as possible.

–Eric Resnis, Past President, Coastal Carolina University

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Preliminary Plans for ALAO Annual 2020 Conference

Plans for the 2020 ALAO Annual Conference are underway. The conference will take Mandi Goodsettplace on October 30th at the Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center in Columbus. Stay tuned for more information about the Conference Planning Committee and conference theme!

–Mandi Goodsett, Vice President/President Elect, Cleveland State University

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Professional Development Committee News

ALAO Mentoring Program News

In early August, ALAO mentor and mentee matches were communicated and introduced for the upcoming academic year. We are currently working to arrange for lunch tables at the ALAO conference in case participants would like to meet up there. We’re also open to expanding the mentoring discussion by answering member questions in the ALAO Newsletter if there’s interest. This could be an informal way to tap into the collective wisdom of the hive. For questions or suggestions regarding the mentoring program please contact Co-chairs, Heidi Beke-Harrigan and Melissa Bauer.

–Heidi Beke-Harrigan, Professional Development Committee Co-Chair, OhioNET
–Melissa Bauer, Professional Development Committee Co-Chair, Kent State University-Stark Campus

Support Staff Grants Awarded

Congratulations to Lori Harrison (Library Media Technical Assistant II at the University of Toledo) and Halle Novotney (Library Assistant / Student Assistant Supervisor at Case Western Reserve University) recipients of the ALAO’s Professional Development Staff Grants for the 2019 Libraries Speak Up! Advocate. Collaborate. Educate. conference. Lori and her colleague Jennifer Babcock will be sharing their poster Library Lockout: Using Escape Room Programming to Promote Libraries and Their Services.  Halle will be presenting along with Erin Smith and Jennine Vlach. Their presentation is entitled Best Practices in Hiring, Retaining, and Collaborating with Your Student Assistants.

-Ann Marie Smeraldi, Professional Developement Committee, Cleveland State University

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Interest Group News


Call for Committee Members

The Community and Two-Year College Interest Group (C2YCLIG) Chairs are in the midst of program planning for the year, and we are excited to organize professional development and networking opportunities on topics critical to community and two-year college libraries.

We are seeking C2YCLIG members interested in contributing to these efforts! By participating in the C2YCLIG’s Committee, members can provide valuable insight into the unique needs of C2YCL staff and help the Committee and Chairs organize its events.

This Committee will largely work virtually and does not require in-person attendance at events. Please consider joining the C2YCLIG Committee, which you can do via the ALAO Volunteer Form on the ALAO website.

Focus on Homeless and Food Insecure Students

Student success work at many institutions across the country has turned its attention to the underlying causes of student distraction, stress, and trouble with their academics. Instead of assuming students are “just bad students,” many institutions are looking at students’ lives outside of college that impact their capacity to focus in the classroom and study outside of class. Community and two-year colleges in particular have students dealing with life situations that make it difficult to attend college full time (a general marker for success in college) because they have multiple responsibilities (children, aging family, multiple jobs, etc.) outside of class.

Given the diverse issues impacting students, the C2YCLIG is planning to focus in Fall 2019 on two critical issues for our students: homelessness and food insecurity. For insights into the impact of homelessness and food insecurity, we suggest watching Dr. Sara Goldrich-Rab’s “Campus Matters: Paying the Price” talk at The New York Times Conference in 2018. Dr. Goldrich-Rab is the founding director of Temple University’s Hope Center and has a long career as a sociologist studying the lives of college students.

Upcoming Events

C2YCLIG will host the following programs on topics related to homeless and food insecure students:

  • Roundtable at Annual Conference — Check the schedule for the Annual Conference to learn when and where we will be meeting in Columbus on Friday, October 18.
  • Fall Semester Soundoff — Be on the lookout for event details on our soundoff dedicated solely to Library Services to Homeless and Food Insecure Students, Staff, Faculty, and Community Members. We aim to hold the soundoff in November.

–Karla Aleman, C2YCLIG Co-Chair, Lorain County Community College
–Julie McDaniel, C2YCLIG Co-Chair, Sinclair Community College


The new Programming, Outreach, and Marketing Interest Group (PROMIG) continues to grow and now has 32 members. Over the past year, we’ve partnered and hosted a spring workshop with NEO-RLS, developed a Communications team, and established a team of Planning Coordinators.

The Communications Subcommittee will work to create a toolkit of resources for outreach and is made up of 5 members: Laura Birkenhauer (Miami), Kapil Vasudev (OSU), Melissa Cox Norris (UC), Jessica Crossfield McIntosh (Otterbein), and Vanessa Kraps (OSU). The Planning Coordinators Team is made up of 3 members: Zachary Lewis (U. of Dayton), Jessica Crossfield McIntosh (Otterbein), and Jaclyn Spraetz (Miami). They will lead the team in coordinating workshops and recruiting volunteers.

Over the past few weeks, PROMIG has piloted a Topic of the Week segment on the listserv to generate discussion centered around topics related to student success, high school outreach, reaching underrepresented audiences, and other focused areas listed on our page. This discussion has been led by Laura and Kapil of the Communications Subcommittee and has provided group members with a combination of personal reflections along with additional resources to consider for support in those areas.

Come join our roundtable at ALAO annual conference to meet PROMIG members and hear about the exciting things we have planned for the upcoming year!

–Shaunda Vasudev, PROMIG Co-Chair, Capital University
–Eboni Johnson, PROMIG Co-Chair, Oberlin College


The Special Collections and Archives Interest Group (SCAig) is pleased to welcome Rachel Makarowski, Special Collections Librarian at Miami University’s Special Collections and University Archives, as incoming co-chair for the 2019-2021 term.  Rachel will serve as SCAig co-chair with Suzanne Reller, Reference/Collections Librarian at the University of Cincinnati’s Archives and Rare Books Library, whose term will conclude at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

SCAig will be hosting a roundtable discussion at the ALAO annual conference during the IG Roundtable hour, focusing on reference and digitization services for researchers including: the charging of fees, student labor, and maintaining time restrictions for these services.  Attendees are encouraged to come and share their experiences and ideas. All conference attendees are welcome to join us!  We also would love to hear your ideas for future SCAig workshops and meetings.

For more information on SCAig, contact the co-chairs at

– Suzanne Reller, SCAig Co-Chair, University of Cincinnati 
–Rachel Makarowski, SCAig Co-Chair, Miami University


“Support Staff Interest Group onboarded its new co-chair, Rob Withers from Miami University, who joined current co-chair Erin Smith from Case Western Reserve University. Jennine Vlach, our outgoing co-chair from Case Western Reserve University, assisted with the onboarding process. The co-chairs wish to thank Jennine for her outstanding service over the past two years. SSIG intends to reach out to its current membership to ascertain whether this year’s meeting should be an online-oriented event, a physical conference, or a combination of the two, since membership gave last year’s webinar a warm reception. SSIG is open to partnerships if other Interest Groups would like to consider co-sponsoring an event this year.”

–Erin Smith, SSIG Co-Chair, Case Western Reserve University
–Rob Withers, SSIG Co-Chair, Miami University


The STEM Interest Group (STEMIG) is pleased to introduce a new mailing list for the members of the interest group To join this list please send an email to We are also inviting interested interest group members to join the Steering Committee to help with program planning for the Spring Meeting and the Annual Conference.

–Matthew Benzing,  STEM IG Co-Chair, Miami University,
–Daniela Solomon, STEM IG Co-Chair, Case Western Reserve University

Join the brand new Sustainability Interest Group (AKA SusIG)!

Just as we humans face huge challenges and uncertainties in our collective future, so too do libraries. The Sustainability Interest Group (SusIG) was formed this spring in order to provide a state-wide forum for the exchange of ideas and opportunities related to sustainability in academic libraries. The interest group’s intent is to encourage and support the actions of academic librarians and library staff in accordance with the following definition of sustainability: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Join us! And, if you have any questions, please check out our website ( or reach-out to the co-chairs with questions or ideas for what specific issues you’d like to help this interest group tackle!

–Evan Meszaros, Sustainability Interest Group Co-Chair, Case Western Reserve University
–Chuck Vesei, Sustainability Interest Group Co-Chair, Baldwin Wallace University

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Member Spotlight

Let’s shine the member spotlight on Laura D’Amato of Baldwin Wallace University ldamato headshot (2)in Berea, OH

What is your role(s) in academic libraries?

I am the Head of Access Services and Interlibrary Loan at Ritter Library, Baldwin Wallace University. I oversee the access services department which consists of numerous student employees (whom I hire and train) and three part-time assistants. I serve as BW’s PCIRC contact for OhioLINK. In addition to the circulation-related aspects of my position, I also do serials check-in and assist with library programming and weeding projects. Ritter Library’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) are my responsibility. I supervise the interlibrary loan process as well.

What do you like most about academic library work?

The part I like most about academic library work is getting to know my student employees and meeting all kinds of people from diverse backgrounds. I genuinely enjoy being able to engage with individuals who have talents, interests, and life experiences vastly different from mine.

What are some interesting projects you’ve been involved with lately? 

Ritter Library received a “Celebrating Ohio Book Awards & Authors” grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded the by State Library of Ohio. The funds were used to purchase children’s literature titles for our curriculum area. I am currently working with Education faculty and the Berea branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library to plan a “Family Literacy Day.” Education students will design activities and lessons using some of the purchased titles and the event will be held at the public library since families are used to visiting there to participate in story-time and literacy events.

We’ve also been trying to make use of students’ majors and areas of interest to help with library-related tasks. We’ve had a graphic design student work on creating more appealing signage for the library and a creative writing major work on writing text for exhibits and social media.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

 My husband proposed while we were in Rome visiting the Trevi Fountain. Yes, we threw in our coins – we returned a few years ago and took our son with us!

 What do you love about being an ALAO member?

There are so many fabulous people working in academic libraries throughout Ohio. I love that ALAO gives us a way to connect and learn from each other!

–Maureen Barry, Membership Chair, Bowling Green State University


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Membership Report

The current membership of ALAO includes a total of 376 members consisting of 337 regular members, 2 retiree members, and 37 student members. We are excited to welcome new members who joined between June 1, 2019 and August 28, 2019 are:

Heather Back, Wright State University

Dana Bjorklund, Cleveland Institute of Art

Stacy Chaney-Blankenship, Ohio Wesleyan University

Nathanael Davis, Cedarville University

Allison DeVito, Ohio State University

Gretchen Donelson, Ohio State University

Theodore Guedel, Kent State University

Henry Handley, University of Dayton

Wendy Harper, Columbus State Community College

Lisa Hoops, Edison State Community College

Sarah McGill, Aultman College

Beth Piwkowski, Cleveland State University

Nancy Story, Ohio University

Matthew Wisotsky, Wayne State University

–Maureen Barry, Membership Chair, Bowling Green State University

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