Executive Board Meeting Report
On September 22, the ALAO board met at OhioNET. At this meeting, board members discussed the following items:
- Continuing the Innovation Conversations (webinars), co-sponsored with SWON Libraries Consortium.
- An update from the website task force.
- Voting on a procedure for a Special Recognition Award for acknowledging a person’s service to ALAO.
- Reviewing a proposal to subsidize a Value of Academic Libraries ACRL workshop as part of the 2018 conference programming.
- Partnering with the Michigan Academic Library Association (MiALA) to offer reciprocal membership rates to conferences.
The next ALAO board meeting is February 23, 2018, at OhioNET.
Annual Conference Report and Program Session Summaries
A 14-person team of library colleagues from across the state successfully hosted 265 attendees at “Libraries Act. Respond. Transform: The ART of Empowerment” at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus on October 27.
The conference’s 28 programs and additional poster sessions and roundtable discussions explored how academic libraries and librarians provide resources and initiate programs, partnerships, and policies that empower patrons, staff, and stakeholders while advancing equity and social justice. Congratulations and thank you to all of the presenters.
Keynote speaker April Hathcock, scholarly communications librarian at New York University, presented “Race Matters in Our Profession: Empowering Antiracist Praxis.” April’s talk explored how our professional values and abilities to serve our communities well are dependent on how we address racialized oppression of our society. Her keynote offered a multitude of suggested readings and ways these issues can be addressed by changing our interviewing practices and hiring policies and requirements. The talk and its question-and-answer forum set the open and honest tone for the day. Thank you to April for sharing her scholarship and perspective with the ALAO community. Additionally, thank you to OhioNET for its sponsorship of the keynote session. I presented a plaque and resolution to OhioNET’s staff and executive director Michael P. Butler in honor of the organization’s 40th anniversary.
The day prior, the planning committee hosted a pre-event “unconference” on Thursday, October 26. Gary Daniels, a representative from the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) gave a lively presentation on student rights. Gary began by teaching attendees about freedom of religion, voting rights, privacy, and due process. The majority of the talk, though, focused on student rights to free speech, a hot topic with many public institutions responding to it in different ways. Then, the event organizers Maureen Barry, Carrie Girton, and Bree Miller led attendees in an “unconference” with topics preselected by attendees. It fostered discussion on important issues such as challenging whiteness, critical librarianship, and collaborating on campus and in the community.
Thursday evening was a night to remember! OhioLINK hosted its 25th anniversary party, and I presented a plaque and resolution as part of the spirited occasion. Check out the photos on OhioLINK’s Facebook page. Past ALAO presidents Brian Gray, Sue Polanka, and Krista McDonald joined me for our first-ever “Battledecks,” where we each told a story with a series of slides that we had never seen before. Hilarity ensued (you probably had to be there), but I will never forget the horse figurines that were a consistent theme throughout my slidedeck. Thank you, OhioLINK, for sponsoring this Thursday social and program!
For our conference service project, we were pleased to partner with the Conscious Connect, an innovative urban library ecosystem that creates and sustains literary oases in low-to-moderate-income communities to end book deserts. The 30 diverse books collected at the conference will be distributed predominantly in West Dayton and South Springfield. Attendees also donated $200 toward the Conscious Connect’s Reading Park project.
The annual conference is volunteer-driven, and the planning committee’s careful consideration of each detail resulted in positive evaluations. At our wrap-up meeting on November 17, we saw that 98% of attendee survey respondents rated the overall conference as outstanding or good, while 97% rated the event at high or satisfactory value for its cost.
I started my involvement with ALAO as a conference planning committee member back in 2011. I always found the experience rewarding; this year as chair was no different. My sincere thanks and kudos to all involved; your involvement has furthered ALAO’s mission of providing support, encouragement, and professional development opportunities for our library colleagues.
Want more conference? See event photos on the ALAO Facebook page or take a look at the social media posts tagged with #alao2017. ALAO members can access conference presentation files by logging in at alaoweb.org and navigating to the Members Only section. Also, save the date for 2018: We’ll be back at Nationwide on Friday, November 2, with a preconference on Thursday, November 1. I look forward to participating in the program, which will be led by Vice President/President-elect Eric Resnis and his committee.