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

Posted in Vol. 38 no. 3 (Sept 2019) | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Vol. 38 no. 3 (Sept 2019) | Tagged | Leave a comment

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


Posted in Vol. 38 no. 3 (Sept 2019) | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Vol. 38 no. 3 (Sept 2019) | Tagged | Leave a comment

People & Library News

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) News
Kelvin Smith Library (KSL) is pleased to announce the following promotions and new library staff members:

Brian Gray: Special Projects Officer (3/1/19)
Previous position: Research Services Team Leader, KSL, CWRU

Jen Green: Digital Learning & Scholarship Team Leader (3/1/19)
Previous position: Digital Scholarship Librarian, Dartmouth College Library, Dartmouth College.

Jen Starkey: Research Services Team Leader (4/1/19)
Previous position: Research Services Librarian, KSL, CWRU

Naomi Langer: Library Assistant V (6/3/19)
Previous position: Photographer and Sales Associate, Ripcho Studio.

Julia Teran: Archivist (6/17/19)
Previous position: Term Archivist. Kelvin Smith Library, Case Western Reserve University

Erin Smith: Research Services Librarian for the Humanities (9/9/19)
Previous position: Library Assistant IV (Student Supervisor). KSL, CWRU

Publication Announcement:
Brian C. Gray (Special Projects Officer) and E. Gail Reese (Associate Director for Public Engagement and Library Administration) of the Kelvin Smith Library, Case Western Reserve University, co-authored a book with two others on personal librarian programs. Personal Librarians – Building Relationships for Student Success ( provides practical advice and case studies examining how to develop, sustain, and assess personal librarian programs.

–Brian C. Gray, Case Western Reserve University
Oberlin College News

Oberlin College welcomed Timothy Keller, new Head of Discovery and Metadata Services. Keller comes to Oberlin from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he was Head of Cataloging and Metadata. Previously he worked as University Cataloger at Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea.

Megan Mitchell has been appointed Coordinator of Academic Engagement and Digital Initiatives/Team Lead, Instruction. She will focus on strengthening the libraries’ engagement with faculty and various faculty-focused and faculty-led centers and entities. Previously, Mitchell served as Digital Initiatives Librarian at Oberlin; prior to that, she was one of four Reference and Instruction Librarians in Oberlin’s Main Library.

–Alison Ricker, Oberlin College


The Ohio State University Health Sciences Library News


  • Lynda Hartel was recently named assistant vice president, Health Sciences and director of the Health Sciences Library (HSL). Lynda is associate professor and has served the HSL in various capacities since 1991. Now she will lead the strategic planning, budgeting, and programs in support of over 27,000 faculty, staff and students in the College of Medicine, School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, Colleges of Dentistry, Nursing, Optometry and Public Health as well as the Wexner Medical Center, James Cancer Hospital, and related research institutes.
  • Judith Wiener has been named associate director for collections and outreach. Judith is associate professor and has been at the HSL since 2001.  In addition to leading general and special collections services and outreach efforts, Judith manages HSL fundraising and development programs.
  • Stephanie Schulte has been named assistant director for research and education. Stephanie is associate professor and has been at the HSL since 2008.  Stephanie directs health sciences research, education, and clinical information services and is leading several space planning initiatives.
  • Eric Schnell has been named assistant director for technology and communications. Eric is professor and has been at the HSL since 1992. In this position, Eric oversees library IT systems and operations, medical illustration and graphic design services, and an expanded communications and marketing effort.
  • Missy Creed has been named consumer health librarian at the HSL’s Library for Health Information, located in the OSU Wexner Medical Center. Having recently completed both levels of the MLA Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) program, Missy is leading a variety of expanding consumer health programs.


In May, the HSL received an All of Us Community Engagement Network Ambassador Program Award from the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.  With this $95,000 award, the HSL will serve as a link between the NIH All of Us Research Program, area public libraries, community organizations, hospitals, and individuals from underrepresented populations in Franklin County, Ohio. Hartel, Wiener, and Creed are leading these efforts in collaboration with partners including the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) and the library at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.


The HSL physical space is also changing. The HSL occupies space on five of seven floors in Prior Hall. Over the last year, the HSL has been gathering current and future space-related ideas from students, staff and faculty. In August, all general collection books and journals were moved to an OSU Medical Center space located just off-campus.  Materials will be delivered to the HSL customers via campus courier.  This move allows the HSL to provide a full floor of quiet study space complete with new carpeting, updated furnishings and lighting, and a prayer/meditation area.  This renovation is scheduled for next year along with renovations to the busier, more collaborative spaces on the first and fourth floors.


Wright State University News51107 Heather Back, LIBRARY PUBLIC SERVICES Reference & Instruct Librarian, 8-9-19, Studio Portrait

Wright State University Libraries are pleased to introduce the newest member of our staff, Heather Back. As the Student Success Librarian, she will coordinate First-Year instruction, English Composition instruction, lead the collaboration with the University Writing Center, and serve as the liaison to the Education programs in the College of Education and Human Services.

A native Tennessean, Heather holds a Bachelors Degree in English Literature with a minor in Information Studies from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and a Master’s in Information Sciences, also from University of Tennessee Knoxville.

–Mandy Shannon, Wright State University

Posted in Vol. 38 no. 3 (Sept 2019) | Tagged | Leave a comment

President’s Report

April Board Meeting Report

Strategic Plan Update


Eric Resnis, President

Thanks to the ALAO members who provided feedback as part of the strategic planning process. This feedback has been integrated with other data gathered, and the 2019-2024 plan is currently being drafted and will be reviewed by the board at their retreat in July.


The board adopted a set of guidelines and a review process for activities that ALAO may choose to sponsor.  The process will begin later this summer, and the guidelines will be announced at that time.

Advocacy Chair

The board voted to approve the appointed role of Advocacy Chair, which is an expansion of the duties that were part of the former Government Relations Liaison position.  The tenets of the role can be viewed here. If you are interested in serving in the role, you can let us know by completing the call for interest here.

Support for ALAO Meetings and Webinars

In response to the movement of some ALAO meetings and webinars to the web, the board voted to pilot the online meeting software Zoom.  After a year, the board will review the use of Zoom and make a more permanent decision on support for online meetings and webinars.

Posted in Vol. 38 no. 2 (June 2019) | Tagged | Leave a comment

2019 Election Results


Katy Kelly, Past President

Congratulations and welcome to the newly elected ALAO board members! Their terms begin at the July 20th board meeting.

Vice President/President Elect: Mandi Goodsett
Treasurer: Don Appleby
Public Relations (PR) Coordinator: Melissa Cox Norris
Board Members-at-Large: Amanda Black; Pamela Espinosa de los Monteros, and Jennifer Starkey

Thanks to all candidates for stepping up to run this year; ALAO webmaster Melissa Hill for coordinating the online voting, and to my fellow members on the nominating committee: Maureen Barry, Stefanie Hilles, Yuimi Hlasten, Christine Morris, and Edith Scarletto.


Posted in Vol. 38 no. 2 (June 2019) | Tagged , | Leave a comment