Panel: Demonstrating Library Value through Outreach and Engagement

“Engaging our communities can be the defining aspect of what a library is to any given community” Emily Ford, Portland State University

The nature and value of academic libraries have changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Our one-time preoccupation with building up physical collections, understandable in an age of information scarcity, has given way to a thoughtful reconsideration of the purpose and value of libraries. In an age of ubiquitous information and global connectivity, the value of campus libraries is no longer a given. In today’s digital world, academic librarians often struggle to find ways to demonstrate the value of libraries beyond holdings, subscriptions and gate counts. While tenacious and energetic problem-solvers, librarians have been a little slow to recognize the critical importance of engagement as a way of communicating and demonstrating library value. It is our contention that librarians can most successfully communicate the value of the library by focusing on people, on building relationships, listening more, talking less, and looking for ways to create engagement.

The panel will explore ways in which to build an engaged and engaging library. Each panelist will discuss a different dimension of this effort. Panelists will discuss the value of partnerships, networking, outreach and engagement strategies and programs (such as campus-community partnerships) as well as social media, in reaching out to (and engaging with) primary decision makers on and off campus, and of using virtual tools, including social media, to communicate value to campus and community users and share methods of communicating value within the context of campus culture, strategic priorities, and shared values. The panelists will address opportunities and challenges; and will prompt audience participation in identifying ways in which academic librarians are starting to integrate outreach and engagement activities into their primary roles (e.g. liaison models, engaged activism, volunteer work).


Theresa Byrd, Dean, University Library, University of San Diego

Amy Kautzman, Dean and Director, California State University, Sacramento

Pat Kreitz, Dean of Library and Academic Resources, St. Mary’s College of California

Kathlin Ray, Dean of Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno

IG Showcase: SCIL: “How do we advocate for underrepresented students?: A panel on how critical pedagogy and social justice value the student experience.”

SCIL: How do we advocate for underrepresented students?: A panel on how critical pedagogy and social justice value the student experience


This panel will discuss how critical pedagogy can provide a framework for social justice not only in the library classroom, but also within the library, its resources, and services. The way our communities and students will view librarians and libraries in the future depends on how we reassert the value of student experiences in the learning process and how we advocate for safe spaces that support experimental thinking, creative learning, and open dialogue.


Panelists representing diverse academic institutions and backgrounds will aim to present various experiences and perspectives on how critical pedagogy is intertwined with and affects issues of social justice. While libraries are stereotypically seen as passive actors or, worse, as budgetary burdens within the latent capitalistic ventures of modern institutes of higher education, critical pedagogy provides the necessary theoretical framework for practices of disrupting anti-intellectual, neoliberal, and hegemonic views of academic life.


Librarians’ unique status allows them to advocate for underrepresented groups on college campuses. By existing on a middle ground within academia, librarians are poised to act on behalf of students and subvert the power structures that may oppress them. As revealed by the work of librarian Anne-Marie Deitering on reflective practice, library practitioners exist between omnipresent binaries of academic institutions. Students absorb a never-ending set of beliefs during college — ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ information, scholarly and authoritative vs. amateurish and ignorant — that may inadvertently turn them away from their true pursuit of education.


The following questions may be used to stimulate dialogue during the panel:

  • What are some existing forms of oppression our students engage with at the academy?
  • How do librarians reinforce those systems of oppression in the classroom or inadvertently within library practices? How do our assumptions work their way into our teaching practices?
  • In what ways does your teaching fall into the “banking concept” of education? What have you done in the classroom to break out of, or dismantle, the banking model?
  • Do our collections and collecting practices assert hegemonic views of education and learning? If so, how can we work to incorporate critical pedagogy into our collection practices?
  • How does queer/feminist/racial theory work itself into your teaching practices?
  • What are some ways in which you design the classroom experience to be a democratic, collaborative, and transformative site?
  • How do we balance the lived experiences of our students with “canonical” sets of knowledge and skills that they are required to learn?
  • How do we provide a basis for a framework that asserts that authority is constructed and contextual in opposition to rote learning and peer-reviewed requirements?
  • How do you view your role as an academic librarian and its relationship to social justice?


Melissa Cardenas-Dow, Reference Librarian, University of California, Riverside

Mario Macias, Instruction and Reference Librarian, Pierce College

Stephanie Rosenblatt, Periodicals & Online Resources Coordinator, Cerritos College

Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Instructional Services and Initiatives Librarian, California State University, San Bernardino

Gayatri Singh, Reference & Information Services Coordinator, University of California, San Diego



Anthony Sanchez, Librarian, University of Arizona, Tucson

Talitha Matlin, STEM Librarian, California State University, San Marcos

Lua Gregory, First Year Experience Librarian, University of Redlands



Panel: Assessment in Action Program: Four Perspectives in its Value to Librarians, Institutions and Students

This panel presentation will present four perspectives from librarian team leaders and team members from all three cohort years of ACRL’s Assessment in Action (AiA) Program. All of the assessment research projects reflect the theme of the value of the academic library by providing concrete data about the effects of its services on students and faculty. The panelists will report on both their experiences participating in the 14-month long AiA program and on the status and success of the programs undertaken.  Panelist projects include assessing the impact of information literacy instruction models in composition courses at both a small liberal arts college and a large public university, and assessment related to identifying and addressing the information literacy needs and skills of transfer students.

The panelists will report on the learning community they were part of and describe the process and content of key elements of action research that they learned about and put into practice during the various AiA projects. They will discuss strengths and weaknesses of the program and discuss the long-term effects of the projects on their competency as researchers, on the team and on the institutions and students. The panelists will also offer advice on how to do the kinds of creative collaborative assessment projects sponsored by AiA without having the benefit of the framework of the AiA learning community.


Sharon Radcliff, Associate Librarian, California State University, East Bay

Stephanie Alexander, Social Sciences Librarian, California State University, East Bay

Gina Kessler Lee, Information Literacy Librarian, St. Mary’s College

Sara Davidson Squibb,  Head, User Communication & Instruction, University of California, Merced

IG Showcase: DIAL: “Black Lives Matter: How Librarians Can Serve as Allies.”

Diversity in Academic Libraries (DIAL) is an interest group of the larger California Academic and Research Libraries (CARL). DIAL’s focus on diversity in academic and research libraries is particularly relevant to the current culture of academia and academic libraries.  DIAL was reestablished in 2015 with the following objectives: to promote an understanding and sensitivity about services and resources for the diverse students/faculty using California academic and research libraries, and to promote inclusivity, equity, and diversity within institutional policies, practices, and the profession. We understand the power of community and recently consolidated DIAL South and North to become one DIAL encompassing both regions.  Our group hopes to inspire and be inspired by conference attendees interested in the value of social/cultural competence.

DIAL intends to showcase the best practices that California academic libraries/librarians can utilize in their efforts to support diversity, particularly in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter is a national movement begun in 2012 in reaction to the injustice of Trayvon Martin’s murder and the acquittal of his murderer, George Zimmerman. Black Lives Matter seeks to move beyond a narrow sphere of acceptance that exists in individual communities e.g. the black community, the Asian community, the gay community to adopting a broader affirmation of all people regardless of ethnicity, ability, or sexual orientation.

Black Lives Matter focuses on bringing to the forefront groups that have been marginalized and rendered effectively invisible in our culture. We will demonstrate how the academic library has supported projects to bring marginalized groups to the forefront of the academic community, creating an environment where academic success is achievable and students and educators are supported through resources and provision of pedagogical tools.

Social inequality exists on school campuses across our nation. Academic libraries have the obligation and the honor of bringing these students out of the shadows to stand among our best and brightest. Black Lives Matter is an important movement in advancing social justice. Academic Libraries further this movement as will be demonstrated in our presentation. We seek to inspire a spirit of advocacy for all groups in the interests of intellectual and cultural freedom, the bedrock upon which academic libraries stand.


Panel: Sustaining the Value of Academic Archives Through a Residency Program

Residencies are not new to academic libraries. For decades, recent MLIS graduates have been placed in temporary one-to-two-year “apprenticeship” positions to practice their newly acquired knowledge and learn, firsthand, about real-life academic librarianship. Thus the libraries help to sustain the profession by imbuing new librarians with best practices and a broad overview of the value of academic work. Residencies for fledgling archivists are far more rare, however, especially in the academic library world. Therefore, in 2014, a three-year Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) leadership grant was awarded to University of Southern California Library to create a residency program for recent graduates with archival studies emphases. Through this innovative project, three recent MLIS-degreed archivists have been placed in three host institutions—including a private and public university—where they have applied the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Archival Continuing Education components to complete professional-level projects. In addition, the three Resident Archivists rotate among local archives, including university special collections, gaining skills and acquiring experience accomplishing a wide variety of assignments. The Resident Archivists and host institutions, alike, have benefited greatly from the residency program.

Today, the value of a university or college collection may actually be measured by the identification and availability of its unique holdings. A residency program that encourages new graduates to become academic archivists not only helps sustain this particular aspect of the profession, it also imbues the Resident Archivists with a commitment to promoting the value of archives and special collections.

The panel will provide a brief background on the qualities of successful academic residencies and share the best practices of our residency program. We would also describe the methods used to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of the project (e.g., one-on-one interviews and pre/post surveys). The speakers, including the project coordinator, representatives from the university host institutions, and a former Resident Archivist, will share lessons learned as well as discuss how a residency program helps promote the value of the profession.


Cindy Mediavilla, Project Coordinator, L.A. as Subject.

Liza Posas, L.A. as Subject Coordinator, University of Southern California.

Claude Zachary, Associate University Librarian and University Archivist, University of Southern California.

Ellen Jarosz, Head of Special Collections and Archives, California State University, Northridge.

Kelsey Knox, Archivist for Special Collections and University Archives, Pepperdine University.