Annual Conference Update

Mandi Goodsett

Mandi Goodsett, Vice President/President Elect

Clearly much has changed since the last annual conference update! The conference planning committee (CPC) has made the difficult decision to move the annual conference to a completely online format. Even though the conference has been moved online, we are still very eager for ALAO members to participate by submitting proposals! The proposal form is open and submissions are due June 26th.

Submit your proposal here.

There will now be two different kinds of proposals that can be submitted: presentations (which will consist of an asynchronous recorded video with a live Q&A session during the conference) or posters (which can be any static or multimedia format with asynchronous commenting and questioning by attendees).

Registration for the online conference will open in the next several weeks, so stay tuned! The cost will be no more than $50 per person, with an exact cost to be determined. In addition to engaging sessions and posters presented by your colleagues, registrants will have access to the presentations of our two keynote speakers, Rebekkah Smith Aldrich and Nancy Kirkpatrick.

We look forward to seeing you at our online event this fall!

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

ALAO Annual Conference 2020 Call for Proposals


Conference Call for Proposals

Dear ALAO Membership,

We are very excited to announce that our 2020 ALAO Conference call for proposals form has been reopened! Submissions are due June 26th.

To learn more about the session types that will be available, please visit the ALAO website.

The Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) conference planning committee invites you to submit proposals for the 46th Annual Conference, Resilience: Sustainable & Thriving Academic Libraries for the Future.

Conference Date: October 29-30, 2020

Location: Online

Submission Deadline: June 26, 2020

Submission Form:

We encourage thoughtful, timely proposals from all areas of library work. Adherence to the conference theme is encouraged but not required.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Change management
  • Sustainability
  • Mentoring next generation
  • Equity, diversity, inclusion
  • Open education & other trends
  • Mindfulness
  • Preservation

One proposal form will be used for all presentation types:

  • Asynchronous Recorded Presentation
  • Poster Session

We invite you to contribute your ideas to make 2020 the best ALAO conference yet!

–Melissa Norris, Public Relations Coordinator, University of Cincinnati


Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Research Grant Recipients Announced

The Research and Publications Committee is pleased to announce that Kayla Harris and Heidi Gauder have been awarded 2020 ALAO Research Grant funds for their project “Teaching to the same audience: Exploring instruction connections between instruction & special collections teams”. This project explores collaboration, coordination, and alignment between special collections instruction and more traditional library instruction efforts. We congratulate Kayla and Heidi and look forward to hearing about the results of their research.

–Brittany Brannon, Research and Publications Committee Co-Chair, OCLC
–Ken Irwin, Research and Publications Committee Co-Chair, Wittenberg University

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mentorship Program Call for Participants

The Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) Professional Development Committee (PDC) is excited to announce a call for participation in the 2020-21 Mentoring Program.

New this year: The mentor application contains a few fields that will be posted on the ALAO web page as a prospective mentor bio.  Mentees will select three potential mentors from the bios and the PDC will match participants and reach out to new mentor-mentee pairs.

Program Overview

The Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) Professional Development Committee (PDC) reviews registration information and matches mentoring pairs over the summer months. The annual program typically runs from August through early May.

We invite people interested in being mentors to complete the application: 

Applications are due July 10, 2020

  1. Mentor bios will be posted to the ALAO web page
  2. The prospective mentee looks over the list of available mentors and identifies three mentors they would like to work with
  3. In August we will invite prospective mentees to complete an online mentoring application listing their three mentor choices in order
  4. Once the completed application is received, PDC will contact the mentees to go over the program, answer any questions, and confirm their mentor choice(s)
  5. We will then work to create a match. When a match is confirmed, both parties will be notified
  6. Prior to your first mentoring meeting, we will provide some guidelines and suggestions to help get your mentoring relationship off to a good start
  7. Because each mentoring relationship is different, we’d rather not mandate how many times to meet. Typically, most mentoring relationships meet for at least four sessions spread out over a few months
  8. At the end of the mentoring relationship, a program evaluation will go out to both parties

Who Can Be a Mentor?

We welcome mentors from all levels of professional experience in academic libraries. Mentoring offers a meaningful way to engage with a colleague, be a supportive listener, and help them identify and achieve their professional goals.

Questions? Please contact Amanda Black or Jen Starkey

–Amanda Black, Board Member at Large, University of Dayton
–Jen Starkey, Board Member at Large, Case Western Reserve University

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

ALAO Member Spotlight

It’s time to shine the ALAO Member Spotlight on Tammy J. Eschedor-Voelker, Associate TammyVoelkerLibGuide2Professor at Kent State University.

What is your role(s) in academic libraries?

I am a subject librarian for English Studies, Modern and Classical Languages, and Applied Linguistics. My key roles are library instruction, research assistance, and collection development in those subject areas. I also manage our High School Outreach program.

What do you like most about academic library work?

What I enjoy the most is providing personalized research help for students. Working one-on-one with someone who is struggling with their research not only provides the best opportunity for us to use our knowledge to impact student success, it also allows us to better understand the experience and perspective of our students.

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

I have been fortunate to be added to our University’s new Parenting Student Taskforce. One of the projects we are planning is Family Friendly study times in our library starting in the Fall that will include the creation of a child-friendly space in our library.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I am a Drum Corps International fanatic! I attend the DCI World Championships every year in Indianapolis. Unfortunately, the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19 which will leave me wanting for a good, loud, live brass-line in the coming year! ☹

What do you love about being an ALAO member?

I love attending the conference in the Fall each year to learn from colleagues around the state. I appreciate having an active and vibrant organization at the state level, as National conferences can sometimes be cost prohibitive to attend.

–Anita Slack, Communications Editor, Kent State University

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Membership Report

The current membership of ALAO includes a total of 321 members consisting of 289 regular members,  5 retiree members, and 27 student members. We are excited to welcome new members who joined between January 1, 2020 and May 29, 2021:

  • Joanna Anderson, Wright State University
  • Richard Bazile, Cuyahoga Community College
  • Danielle Bernert, Columbus College of Art and Design
  • Betty Cole, Southern State Community College
  • Alexis Fintel, University of Michigan
  • Meagan Fowler, Cuyahoga Community College
  • Lindsay Friedman, The Ohio State University
  • Madeleine Gaiser, Indiana University-Bloomington
  • Tressa Graves, The Ohio State University
  • Kimberly Hoffman, Miami University
  • Kathy Ladell, University of Cincinnati Clermont College
  • Michelle McKinney, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College
  • Natalie Mitchell, University of Akron
  • Halle Novotney, Case Western Reserve University
  • Stevo Roksandic, Mount Carmel College of Nursing
  • Brittany Schluter, Kent State University
  • Ragan Snead, Lakeland Community College
  • Margaret Storrs, Southern State Community College
  • Laracarina Suarez, University of Washington

 –Maureen Barry, Membership Chair, Bowling Green State University

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Notes from the Trenches

Teaching with Empathy Beyond a Pandemic

Librarianship, at its heart, is a service profession. All librarians and library staff strive to serve our patrons with compassion and empathy, regardless of our areas of expertise or work responsibilities. During times of crisis, it is especially important to focus on connecting with our students as human beings first and foremost. It’s the perfect time to refresh our commitment to teaching with empathy and compassion.

At the beginning of April, Melissa Wong, an adjunct instructor for the iSchool at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, went viral with a series of tweets regarding a student who had contracted COVID-19. The student was concerned about completing an assignment, one for which she had already been granted an extension. Wong has been teaching online for twenty years. This was her response:

“I am so sorry you are sick. Please do not worry about missing the due date. IT IS FINE. I am not worried and there will not be a late penalty. We can chat about the course when you are healthy again.

More importantly: 1. Do you live with an adult who can care for you (and any children)? 2. Do you have enough food & essential supplies? 3. Since your caregiver (if you have one), will be quarantined for at least 14 days, do you have a way to get more food?”

IT IS FINE. How different would our classrooms look and feel if we always incorporated this “human first” approach? When I am teaching or interacting with students (or faculty), I try my hardest to embody empathy. Do I always succeed? Of course not. But, when a student is sleeping during an instruction session, we should not see it as a form of disrespect or an insult to our teaching. When we’re helping a student at the reference desk and the assignment is due tomorrow, don’t label that student as a lazy procrastinator. When a faculty member’s question on chat feels more like a demand, strive to be as quick (and kind) as possible. The student sleeping in class could have stayed up all night studying for a test or taking care of a sick family member. The procrastinator may have had an extensive workload in their other classes. The faculty member could be under pressure to complete a deadline.

None of these things may be true but we can choose to view the students and faculty we help as human beings with all the messiness that can entail. I have been short with colleagues or those attempting to help me when on a deadline. I have (definitely) procrastinated on assignments or projects. I hope those people choose to see my inevitable shortcomings not as a judgement of my character or professionalism but as my innate “humanness”. Strive to incorporate empathy and compassion into our teaching always, not only during times of crisis. It will only help our students succeed.

Suggested Readings

Chang, A. F., Berger, S. E., & Chang, B. (1981). The relationship of student self-esteem and teacher empathy to classroom learning. Psychology: A Journal of Human Behavior, 18(4), 21–25.

Coffman, S. L. (1981). Empathy as a Relevant Instructor Variable in the Experiential Classroom. Group & Organization Studies, 6 (1), 114-120. doi:10.1177/105960118100600111.

Etches, A., & Phetteplace, E. (2013). Know Thy Users: User Research Techniques to Build Empathy and Improve Decision-Making. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 53(1), 13-17.

Franzese, Paula A. (2017). The Power of Empathy in the Classroom. Seton Hall Law Review, 47, 693.

Supiano, Beckie (2020). ‘Don’t Worry About the Class’: How One Professor Responded to a Student with Covid-19 Symptoms. The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 9, 2020.

Wheeler, R. (2016). On Empathy. Law Library Journal, 108(3), 489–498

–Laura Sheets, ALAO Secretary, Bowling Green State University

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Interest Group News

Community and 2-Year College Library Interest Group News (C2YCLIG)

The Community and 2-Year College Library Interest Group is seeking dedicated members interested in leadership! We have one to two positions open as Co-Chairs of the Interest Group. If you’re interested in leadership opportunities at the state level and are a member of C2YCLIG, then please contact Julie McDaniel ( and Karla Aleman (

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

Special Collections and Archives Interest Group News (SCAig)

SCAig and the Society of Ohio Archivists (SOA) co-hosted the workshop “Opening Doors: Outreach with Archives and Special Collections.” In this workshop, our five presenters discussed their outreach efforts and provided their tips and tricks for improving outreach efforts, no matter the size of the institution and staff, to engage with the public and communities served. Our first speaker, Natalie Fritz of the Clark County Historical Society at the Heritage Center, spoke on the importance of developing and maintaining an online presence to engage with community members even with limited access to their collections. Steve Ammidown of Bowling Green State University walked participants through choosing the right social media platform for their needs and how to let those accounts go when it is time to delete them. Jenifer Baker and Jen Haney Conover discussed how they started their oral history program at Warren County Records Center and Archives, what they might have done differently to better promote their program and the benefits they have seen come out of the program. Miriam Intrator of Ohio University demonstrated how to move classes successfully online during this pandemic. She also taught participants the do’s and don’ts for creating virtual classes with special collections and archives so that they can start planning fall classes with faculty members with confidence. Further information can be found on SCAig’s ALAO webpage.

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


STEM IG continues to strive to build a community of STEM librarians within Ohio. Thus, soon after our libraries were closed, we quickly adapted our spring workshop to a virtual format. On March 20 we came together for a very instructive spring workshop on curriculum mapping. Video recording from the workshop is available at Additionally, we have started virtual monthly open discussion sessions as a place for STEM librarians to connect with each other and discuss STEM librarianship issues in the time of COVID-19.
For questions please contact

–Daniela Solomon, STEM IG Co-Chair, Case Western Reserve University
–Zach Sharrow, STEM IG Co-Chair, College of Wooster

Support Staff Interest Group News (SSIG)

Support Staff Interest Group held their online conference throughout the end of April and into May with selected articles for group reads and written discussion alongside a Zoom session for verbal discussion held on May 14th. The co-chairs are evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of holding online programming in the future since the reception from members was so positive. The co-chairs will be sending out a call for a new co-chair very soon, as Erin Smith will be ending her 2018-2020 term.

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

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

People and Library News

Bryant & Stratton College, Cleveland and Solon News

Joseph Dudley (Bryant & Stratton College, Cleveland and Solon) presented “Creating eBook Collections at Bryant & Stratton College” at the Teaching, Colleges, and Community (TCC) Online Conference, April 14, 2020.

–Joseph Dudley, Bryant & Stratton College, Cleveland and Solon

Case Western Reserve University News

The Kelvin Smith Library was selected for the ALA IRRT-ICC 2020 Best Practices from World Libraries Photo Gallery.  The “Best Practices from World Libraries” photo gallery presents a selection of photographs from around the world, which feature library projects and programs that best demonstrate this year’s ALA theme: the Value of Libraries in Promoting Social Justice and Inclusion. This collection of photographs has been curated by the International Relations Round Table (IRRT) International Connections Committee. See the full photo gallery at See the Kelvin Smith Library’s “Voices A Century Apart” entry at The project at Kelvin Smith Library represents the century separating (and uniting) two men fighting for civil and human rights as outlined in both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. This modernized conversation between Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr., portrayed by actors, serves to deliver historical impact through their speeches examining the city’s racial issues.

From the Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship:

  • Stephanie Becker presented “Using an Assessment Rubric to Evaluate & Set Digitization Priorities” on March 10 at the Ohio Digitization Interest Group meeting.
  • Ben Gorham presented a paper at the Northeast Modern Language Association (NEMLA) in Boston in (March 2020). The paper titled Ph{D}H: Digital humanities as escape hatch, goal, or compromise?, was co-authored with Charlie Harper.
  • Ben Gorham and Charlie Harper are participating in CWRU COVID-19 Working Groups, which involves collaborating with others around campus to identify risk and impact factors of COVID-19.
  • Charlie Harper oversaw the 2020 Freedman Fellow Faculty application process, which closed on 5/15.  A faculty committee will review the applications and make decisions about new fellowships before the end of May.
  • Amanda Koziura co-facilitated an ACRL Digital Scholarship Section Professional Development webinar focused on Digital Scholarship Pedagogy models on April 15th.
  • Ben Gorham and Charlie Harper were included on an NSF/DoD grant submission, Derogation of Human Rights and Covid, initiated by Brian Gran, Sociology.
  • Jared Bendis gave a talk on April 17th for the Office of Admissions titled “Bridging the New and Old: High Tech Scholarship for the Next Generation”
  • Stephanie Becker and Amanda Koziura worked with 2019 Freedman Fellow Heather Hurwitz (Sociology) on the Occupy Archive Scalar Digital Exhibit:
  • Naomi Langer presented on April 29th, Image Analysis for Cultural Heritage Digitization, during the #PresTC2020 Twitter conference:

–Brian Gray, Case Western Reserve University

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

President’s Report

A Special Message Regarding COVID-19

Katy Mathuews

Katy Mathuews, President


Like you, the ALAO Board has been diligently monitoring and adapting our plans and workflows in response to the developing COVID-19 pandemic. As we look toward spring workshops and Executive Board meetings, organizers are assessing online options and other ramifications of modifying in-person meetings. Please note that currently-published event information may be subject to change. As plans become solidified, event organizers will communicate new information via email and social media. If you have any questions about specific events, please contact the event organizers. I hope you are all well. I wish you the best as you navigate these unique challenges at your institutions.


Board Meeting Report

The Executive Board met on February 21, 2020 at Ohionet in Columbus, OH. Major topics discussed included:

Code of Conduct

A draft Code of Conduct was presented and discussed. Revisions will be incorporated and further discussion will take place at the April board meeting. In related efforts, the ALAO website and written materials will be revised to reflect inclusive language.

Sponsorship Policy

The new sponsorship policy and procedure are posted on the website here:

Strategic Plan Initiatives

In an effort to address the strategic plan objective to be an efficient and purposeful organization, the Board embarked on an organizational review that included an environmental scan of peer ACRL chapters and a survey of ALAO Board members. Results of these efforts were discussed at the February meeting with plans to continue discussion at the April meeting.

The Board also initiated projects to consider the logistics surrounding (1) the mechanism through which members can volunteer for ALAO committees, Board positions, projects, and related initiatives; and (2) the logistics of hosting Board minutes openly online.

April Board Meeting

The next Executive Board meeting will be held on April 24, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ohionet.

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 1 (March 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment