President’s Report


Gerald Natal, ALAO President

Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow and predicted several more weeks of winter, but Mother Nature has not seen fit to honor Phil’s prediction made one month ago as of this writing. On-again-off-again spring-like days and rain in lieu of snow have made me a happy camper (only an idiom–I have not been camping since I was a boy scout). Perhaps for some of ALAO members the coming of spring does indeed induce happiness in those who relish taking in the Great Outdoors; for me it is a reminder to start planning the next board retreat and tending to board elections. More on the board elections in this months’ newsletter…

Board Meeting Report 2-17-23

The board was informed that an alternative to PayPal, which is currently used by ALAO to receive fee payments, was investigated. ALAO’s Treasurer considered the budget, systems available through ALAO’s banking institution, and the system already in use by ALAO for event registration, Wild Apricot. As a result, negotiations are underway to utilize the payment features in Wild Apricot to supplement PayPal. This should improve the process for fee registrations and membership renewals.

ALAO’s ACRL representative reported that the ACRL Section Newsletter is out and will feature a report on the fall conference. Also, ACRL continues to offer two free webinars to section members; as there currently is no process in place for selection of the webinars and dissemination of links for registration and recording, the ACRL representative will be working on a process to present to the board at the next meeting.

An investigation is in progress to see if ALAO might qualify for LSTA grant money which could be used to transition the annual conference to a hybrid event.

To attract more applicants, the Professional Development Committee proposed changes to two grants offered by ALAO. The committee suggested that the Support Staff Conference Grant–the purpose of which is to encourage support staff development and participation in ALAO activities—include free registration in addition to up to $150 reimbursement for travel, lodging, or presentation related expenses. The committee also recommended that the existing Student Presenter Grant be renamed to“Student Conference Grant” and that it be available to undergraduate students who express an interest in library science. This grant would also include one free registration in addition to up to $150 reimbursement for travel, lodging, or presentation related expenses. The proposed changes were accepted by a board vote.

Executive Board Elections

The 2023 nominating committee consisting of me (acting as Past President), Laura Birkenhauer as co-chair, Alison Ricker (Oberlin), Clayton Hayes (Kenyon), and Lynn Warner (U. of Cincinnati), has been hard at work over the past several weeks seeking candidates to run for Vice President/President Elect, three Board-Members-At-Large, and Public Relations Coordinator. Since the initial call for nominations went out in the December ALAO Newsletter there have been several postings to the ALAO listserv and individual contacts to potential candidates. Thanks to all who nominated themselves to serve—as always, we have a great slate of dedicated individuals! On the ballot for this election are:

Vice President/President Elect:

  • Paul Campbell — Ohio University
  • Sara Klink – Stark State College

Board Member-at-Large (3 positions):

  • Allen Reichert—Otterbein University
  • Derek Wilmott—The University of Toledo
  • Jaclyn Spraetz—Miami University
  • Tracey Overbey—The Ohio State University
  • Rich Wisneski— Miami University

Public Relations Coordinator:

  • Christine Rigda—The University of Toledo

The date for last call for nominations was extended to March 6th; the ballot is now available here. You must be an active member to vote. If your membership has lapsed, this is a great time to renew.

Do your part to select our future leadership—don’t forget to vote!

Thank you from the Nomination Committee!

P.S. – In a related topic, the ALAO Diversity Committee—a very important committee for the organization—is seeking dedicated individuals to act as Co-chairs. If you have a passion for furthering the causes of DEIA and would like to gain valuable leadership experience, this is a great opportunity. You can find out more about the work of the committee by contacting Gwen Short at or visiting

Future of ALAO Conferences Task Force

A task force made up of Don Appleby, Melissa Bauer, Mark Eddy, Brian Gray, David Green, Ken Irwin, Sara Klink, Seth Sisler, and Jason Wardell considered the pros and cons of hybrid events with the ALAO annual conference in mind. We considered the barriers to attending in person events and best practices to ensure equity and inclusion. Virtual events may overcome many barriers to attending in person events such as lack of funds, time, staffing, traveling long distances, and accessibility, yet in person events still are popular. Hybrid events are a solution and are becoming the norm for large organizations, which have more funds and resources than organizations the size of ALAO. The task force discussed several options, including having an in-person event with virtual sessions on a different day, having alternating conferences in person one year, virtual the next, and using a third-party vendor to broadcast live sessions. The ACRL series of webinars on hybrid events was very useful in informing discussions.

The task force concluded that ALAO should work towards some form of hybrid conference event, and that it is best to proceed in small steps. The 2023 conference committee is already moving in this direction and will be piloting hybrid features on a small scale, with a working group assigned to discuss particulars such as necessary technology and fee structure. Meanwhile there is still the need to continue to explore physical spaces for future conferences.

I would like to thank the individuals on the task force for contributing their time and opinions on this matter.

Other Business

I expressed my concerns to the board about the storage of recorded video. The increased importance of virtual events brought about by the pandemic means more video being produced, which necessitates having a plan in place. The ALAO web managers are formulating a process. I also informed the board to be wary of phishing attempts in emails using my name.

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ALAO Annual Conference Update

Conference Date: November 2-3, 2023

Mark Eddy, ALAO Vice President/President Elect

Conference Location: Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center, Lewis Center, Ohio

Online ILS Forum & Mini-Conference: Friday, Oct 27, 2023 via Zoom

The 2023 ALAO Conference Planning Committee is excited to share updates about the 49th Annual Conference! 

In the upcoming Conference Call for Proposals we’ll be encouraging presentations from all areas of library work.  We especially want to encourage our Access Services, Technical Services, and Support Staff colleagues to consider presenting at this year’s Conference.  To this end, we’ll be adding some new events and opportunities designed especially for them.

Here’s a preview of the new programming and participation opportunities we’ll be trying out for the 2023 Conference:

  • An Online ILS Forum & Mini-Conference – Friday, Oct 27, 2023

This year’s Conference will feature a separate online event one week prior to the in-person event at the Nationwide Conference Center.  For this event ALAO will host a virtual forum in the morning to discuss planning issues related to the upcoming OhioLINK ILS transition. The panel forum will include representatives from OhioLINK and other academic library associations from around the state.  The forum should be of great interest to academic librarians from all specialties.

ALAO will also host a mini-conference event in the afternoon with virtual lightning talks and informal discussions presented by Support, Access and Technical Services professionals about the new ILS or other topics.

  • A Hybrid Session Conference Track

This year our in-person conference on Friday, November 3rd will feature a “hybrid track room” where sessions will be simulcast online.  Each of these sessions throughout the day will feature presentations by Support, Access and Technical Services professionals.

  • Live Simulcast of the Keynote Presentation

Our ALAO 2023 Keynote Speaker will be Mr. Trevor Dawes.  Mr. Dawes currently serves as Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and May Morris University Librarian at the University of Delaware, and he was recently elected Vice President/President Elect of the Association of Research Libraries.  With his extraordinary leadership in academic libraries, and his extensive professional background in circulation and support services, Mr. Dawes maintains a commitment to the development of next-generation library workers.

  • A New Conference Fee Strategy

The CPC will be exploring new pricing structures to make the Conference more affordable and accessible for our attendees and presenters, especially for Support, Access and Technical Services professionals who may not have adequate funding support for conference attendance and participation.  New opportunities will include:

  • Options for both online and in-person Conference programming registration
  • Discounted registration for Conference presenters
    • Expanded options for Conference attendance scholarships

Be on the lookout for the official Call for Proposals coming soon this month!

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ACRL Representative Report

The most recent Chapters Council meeting was January 23, 2023. This included a presentation from Dr. Linda Miles—Hostos Community College, CUNY, who focused on “One Chapter’s Strategic Planning Process: ACRL/NY’s Committee for a New Vision.”

Reminders and updates:

–Jane Hammons, ACRL Representative, The Ohio State University

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Research & Publications Committee News

2023 ALAO Research & Publications Grant 

Every winter the RPC issues a call for grant proposals from the ALAO membership.  The 2023 grant cycle is over and the RPC is nearly done reviewing and will make an announcement to the membership shortly. 

If you are conducting LIS research and are in need of additional funding, please consider applying for the ALAO Research & Publications Grant for 2024. Calls for grant applications will go out at our 2023 Annual Conference and will close sometime in early 2024.  Learn more about the application process by visiting our webpage and looking at the ALAO Research Grant overview and checklist

Research & Publications Spring Webinar Series

Traditionally, the Research & Publications Committee (RPC) organizes a spring workshop at the State Library of Ohio on a topic related to the committee’s mission.  With the pandemic, the RPC hasn’t held such an event since 2019. In light of the pandemic’s impact, the RPC has chosen to go with a virtual option this year. The committee issued a call for proposals for a professional development webinar series to be held starting in late April.  The webinar series is titled, “Librarians as Researchers: Developing Our Scholarly Identities.” 

With the call now closed, we are pleased that we have had an overwhelming number of submissions.  More information about attending this series of webinars will be announced via the ALAO Listserv in the coming weeks.  

–Paul Campbell, Research & Publications Committee Co-Chair, Ohio University
–Sarah Nagle, Research & Publications Committee Co-Chair, Miami University

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Notes from the Trenches

Annual Health Science Campus Artist Showcase at UToledo

The annual Health Science Campus Artist Showcase has been an ongoing event at the Raymon H. Mulford Health Science Library for several years. Originally meant to provide University of Toledo students, staff, and faculty working in the health sciences an opportunity to show their creative sides, the event has grown to include lectures that involve the connections between art and health. Undaunted by the COVID pandemic, the show was made available virtually, and this aspect of the exhibit is now regularly included with the physical show.

This year’s exhibit consisted of a variety of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensuional works as well as a reception and a lecture by UToledo Professor of Art History Dr. Mysoon Rizk, titled “A Brief Consideration of Art’s Healing Powers.” Dr. Rizk’s lecture included examples throughout history; mentioned were a couple of conceptual artists from the former Soviet Union who coined the phrase “the healing power of art,” and who created guidebooks for museum visitors that pointed out medicinal properties inherent in famous artworks. The two artists prescribed Johannes Vermeer for back pain, Jackson Pollock for blood disorders, Andy Warhol for injuries due to repetitive stress, and Claude Monet for hay fever. 

For access to recorded lectures and the virtual shows (shameless plug—I have works in the shows), visit the Health Science Campus Artist Showcase LibGuide:

–Gerald Natal, ALAO President, The University of Toledo

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Member Spotlight

Let’s shine the Member Spotlight on Yiming Guo from Denison University!

What is/are your role(s) in academic libraries?

I am the Sciences Liaison Librarian at the Denison University Libraries. I work with the departments of Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Computer Science, Data Analytics, Earth & Environmental Science, Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy, and Psychology. I am also the Government Documents Coordinator at the Denison University Libraries. I oversee the Library’s government documents collection, and act as depository contact person for the Library with GPO and FDLP.

What do you like most about academic library work?

My favorite part of the job is consulting with students and faculty in analyzing, identifying, and fulfilling their information needs. I feel a real pleasure when I help someone. I also enjoy working with the experienced, thoughtful, and supportive colleagues in the Denison Libraries.

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

I recently participated in the FDLP Coordinator Certificate Program. I successfully completed this 8-week (16 hours) training program and got the certificate. I also joined the Denison Forward divisional team, which is Denison University’s committee for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Antiracism (IDEA). I hope I can do some work to promote IDEA in Denison University.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I like travelling, hiking, and fishing. The most exciting experience for me is fishing at the Bay of Fundy (between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada) at night.

What do you love about being an ALAO member?

I love attending the ALAO Annual Conferences and other professional development opportunities such as webinars and workshops.

–Laura Birkenhauer, Membership Chair, Miami University

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Membership Report

The current membership of ALAO includes a total of 286 members consisting of 251 regular members, 5 retiree members, and 30 student members. We are excited to welcome new members who joined between November 18, 2022 and March 1, 2023.

Meshia Anderson, University of Cincinnati

Jessica Berninger-Hill, Lakeland Community College/Cuyahoga Community College

Craig Gable, Ursuline College

Crissandra George, Student

Christina Heady, Wright State University

Roger Justus, Miami University

Lily Murray, Sinclair Community College

Nestor Rave, Student

–Laura Birkenhauer, Membership Chair, Miami University

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Interest Group News

Message from the Interest Group Coordinator

Interest Groups are beginning to plan for spring events! Please keep checking the ALAO Events page for updates. I’m excited for the events that are in the planning stages so far and looking forward to attending them. Special shout out to the Sustainability IG who hosted a virtual panel on Feb. 24 on an introduction to the Sustainable Libraries Initiative in academic libraries. Thank you to all the IGs for planning these events throughout the year and making ALAO a vibrant organization!

ALAO has 12 active special interest groups that have formed to discuss concerns, issues, and new trends related to academic librarianship in Ohio. Joining an interest group is a great way to participate in leadership events and network with fellow librarians and library staff. 

You can join an interest group at any time during the year! For more information visit the ALAO website or contact Abi Morgan, Interest Group Coordinator at

–Abi Morgan, Interest Group Coordinator, Miami University

Community and Two-Year College Libraries Interest Group (C2YCLIG) News

Mark Your Calendars: LibGuide Showcase

On Monday, March 20th at 11:30 the Community and Two-Year College Interest Group (C2YCLIG) is hosting a virtual session to highlight the work of two community college librarians. The focus will be on how they have used the LibGuides tool in new and interesting ways in their library. More information to come. 

Everyone is welcome to participate in the discussion. Please email C2YCLIG co-chairs at if you have any questions.

–Meagan Fowler, C2YCLIG Co-Chair, Cuyahoga Community College
–Zoe Orcutt, C2YCLIG Co-Chair, Overdrive

Instruction Interest Group (IIG) News

The Instruction Interest Group (IIG) is currently seeking new members for our workshop planning committee! If you are interested, please email We’d love to hear from you. It’s a great way to get involved with ALAO and meet new colleagues.

This summer’s workshop(s), in collaboration with DLIG and STEMIG, will focus on ChatGPT. Planning is underway and we look forward to sharing the event(s) with membership soon!

–Stefanie Hilles, Instruction IG Co-Chair, Miami University
–Jaclyn Spraetz, Instruction IG Co-Chair, Miami University

Special Collections and Archives Interest Group (SCAig) News

The Special Collections and Archives Interest Group (SCAig) is currently in the process of planning its spring workshop, tentatively scheduled for May 2023. The co-chairs are grateful to have former SCAig co-chair Henry Handley (University of Dayton) and Elizabeth Williams-Clymer (Kenyon College) as members of the planning committee. Thank you both so much for volunteering your time and expertise! In anticipation of the workshop, SCAig issued a survey to its members on SCA-related topics that are of interest to them. Based on the results, the workshop will likely revolve around growth and change in the SCA profession, as well as counter-archives–that is, nontraditional or alternative archives of marginalized communities. The planning committee will be reaching out to potential speakers soon!

–Josh Zeller, SCAig Co-Chair, Mount St. Joseph University
–Miriam Intrator, SCAig Co-Chair, Ohio University

Support Staff Interest Group (SSIG) News

The Only Constant in Change: How Libraries and Support Staff are Responding to / Preparing for Changes.

College and university libraries have changed in response to the COVID pandemic and are now looking at responding to future challenges such as the predicted decline in student enrollments, changes in usage patterns, and the imminent change to a new Integrated Library System (ILS) for OhioLINK libraries.

Please join the Support Staff Interest Group as we take this opportunity to re-connect and share past, present, and future adaptation to changes in a 60-90 minute guided discussion. Discussion topics will include:

  • Scheduling: In the wake of COVID, some institutions have extended work-from-home modality for at least some positions. What do the policies look like at our institutions? How do they differ depending on classification and the type of work? What are the benefits and challenges of the new arrangement?
  • Staffing: The impact of COVID has changed the way students and faculty work, and many institutions are expecting a decline in the number of students from our state and region to lead to enrollment challenges – how are these impacting your institutions choices of what positions are filled and where they are allocated?
  • Migrating to a New System: As OhioLINK prepares to migrate to a new ILS, what are strategies to keep in mind for planning for the changeover? What can we do ahead of time to prepare.
  • Coping with Change in General: Change seems to be a constant. As we look forward to an environment where the desired skills for staff and types of services offered continue to evolve, and budgets can be an ongoing concern, how do we practice self-care, continue to be productive, and keep a positive outlook?
  • Moving into the future: SSIG has two co-chairs who serve staggered two-year terms. Wondering what it might take to be the next incoming co-chair? This is your chance to ask and possibly volunteer. This is also a chance to share your ideas for future SSIG programming!

Join us on  Friday, May 26 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m on Zoom. Please register at

-Rob Withers, SSIG Co-Chair, Miami University
–Peggy Rector, SSIG Co-Chair, Denison University

Sustainability Interest Group (SUSig) News

On Friday, February 24, The Sustainability Interest Group hosted a webinar on the Sustainable Libraries Initiative. This Academic Library specific Certification Program will soon be launched. SLI co-Founder Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, an SLI Advisory Board Member gave an overview on the program and how to introduce sustainable thinking at your library and then Nardia Cumberbatch, a librarian from Valencia College talked about her personal experience at one of the pilot program libraries. More than 35 participants tuned in to hear this exciting presentation on such an important topic.  

We are looking forward to our Earth Day event which will be held Thursday, April 27 at 11 a.m. Elyse Adrian, a senior at Bowling Green State University, will share information about EcoBricks, building blocks made from plastic bottles packed with used plastics. Registration information is forthcoming.

–Maureen Barry, SUSig Co-Chair, Bowling Green State University
–Megan Jaskowiak, SUSig Co-Chair, Miami University

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Funding Opportunities Column

Student Conference Grant 2023 Application

Apply Online: Student Conference Grant Application

Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m., August 4th, 2023

Statement of Purpose

The Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) seeks to provide opportunities for students and new graduates to encourage participation and professional growth towards a career in academic libraries. To that end, each year the ALAO Executive Board may award one free registration plus up to $150 to an undergraduate student with a demonstrated interest in the library field, or to a student enrolled in a Library and Information Science (LIS) graduate program to support attendance or presenting at the ALAO Annual Conference. Grant monies are intended to assist with the costs incurred in preparing the presentation and modest travel costs associated with presenting at the conference. An ALAO Executive Board member or volunteer from the membership will be assigned as a mentor to help the recipient prepare their program, highlight ALAO membership benefits, and facilitate networking opportunities at the conference.

General Information

The Student Conference Grant is awarded to one person or program, either a presentation or poster session at the ALAO Annual Conference. Priority will be given to applicants with an accepted program proposal for the upcoming ALAO conference. If more than one student presenter is involved in a program, the grant is awarded to the program. Disbursement of grant monies amongst the student presenters is at the discretion of the eligible parties. Grant monies may be applied to registration, travel, lodging, and/or presentation-related expenses. If grant monies have been dispersed and the grant recipient fails to appear at the conference, ALAO may request the check be returned, depending on the extenuating circumstances around the absence.


Undergraduate students with a demonstrated interest in a library career (e.g. student workers, library volunteers, members of the Luminary program, etc.), students currently enrolled in an accredited LIS program, or a recent graduate (within one year) from an LIS program, are eligible to apply for the Student Conference Grant. Applicants may be full or part-time students who have expressed a career interest in academic librarianship. Priority will be given to applicants with an accepted program proposal for the upcoming ALAO conference. Completed applications include completed application form, plus an essay of 250 words or less describing how attending and presenting at the ALAO Conference will benefit the applicant in their future academic library career, and a program proposal submission if the student plans on presenting. ALAO membership is not required.

Support Staff Conference Grant 2023 Application

Apply for the ALAO Support Staff Conference Grant

Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m., August 4th, 2023

Statement of Purpose

The Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) seeks to encourage support staff development and participation in ALAO activities. To that end, the ALAO Executive Board may award one free registration and up to $150 annually to support and encourage support staff to attend and/or present at the ALAO Annual Conference.

General Information

All support staff currently employed in an Ohio academic library are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to applicants with an accepted program proposal for the upcoming ALAO conference. Co-presenters may apply jointly for the grant, in which case grant money may be shared amongst the awardees at their discretion. Grant monies may be applied to registration, travel, hotel, and presentation-related expenses. If grant monies have been dispersed and the grant recipient fails to appear at the conference, ALAO may request the check be returned, depending on the extenuating circumstances around the absence.


Support staff currently employed in an Ohio academic library are eligible to apply for the Support Staff Conference Grant. Priority will be given to applicants with an accepted program or poster proposal for the upcoming ALAO conference. Completed applications include completed application form and an essay of 250 words or less describing how attending the ALAO Conference will help enhance the applicant’s library and work experience. ALAO membership is not required.

–Kristen Peters, Professional Development Committee Chair, Wittenberg University

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People & Library News

Bryant & Stratton College News

Joseph Dudley (System Librarian, Bryant & Stratton College) recently participated in an international review of BIBFRAME records in the Share-VDE PCC data pool.

–Joseph Dudley, Bryant & Stratton College

Case Western Reserve University News

From January Through March (6th), Case Western Reserve University has hired 2 people:

Alyssa Pierce – Digital Preservation Manager Lisa Longenecker – Metadata Librarian

–Effy Brewer, Case Western Reserve University

Oberlin College News

The Oberlin College Libraries Discovery and Metadata Services team, led by Timothy Keller, has been working in collaboration with the Five Colleges of Ohio Collection Services Subcommittee to implement a LC subject term flagging project in the Oberlin College library catalog (OBIS), and in CONSORT, the shared catalog of Denison University, Kenyon College, Ohio Wesleyan University, and College of Wooster. The project went live to the public in mid-February, and small red flags now appear beside problematic subject headings, alerting library users that these subject terms are being reviewed.  The source for the flagged terms is the complete list of problematic subject terms maintained by The Cataloging Lab, an open, community-driven initiative that facilitates collaborative development of proposals for new and modified subject headings to be submitted to the Library of Congress. Clicking on the flag brings up a contextual note that leads to the “subject term flagging info” page on the libraries’ website.  Contact Tim Keller for more information.

–Alison Ricker, Oberlin College

Ohio Library Support Staff Institute Announcement

OLSSI: the Ohio Library Support Staff Institute will hold its annual conference July 23 – 25, 2023 at the University of Dayton.

–Michael Bradshaw, OLSSI Chair Emeritus, Supreme Count of Ohio

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