Home 9 Blog Posts 9 ACRL 2023: Day Four

ACRL 2023: Day Four

by | Mar 21, 2023 | 0 comments

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by Leah Hinds, Executive Director, Charleston Hub

Links to previous reports:

Day Four: Saturday, March 18

The final day of the conference was more lightly attended than the rest of the week, but sessions were still going strong and were still well attended. Up first was (again) my favorite session format, the Lightning Talks.

The first of these of fast-paced presentations was a talk from Jessica Epstein (AUC Woodruff Library) on using Digital Tools such as Bitmoji Rooms, Tableau, or Story Map and how to leverage these tools for campus outreach, particularly to faculty and students in the humanities and social sciences. Abigail Mann (Illinois Wesleyan University) presented on involving faculty in student-focused Digital Humanities initiatives, especially at the undergraduate level. Some notes from her presentation were to focus on student projects since that’s how you often get funding at small schools. Faculty mentors work with student scholars and receive a stipend to show that DH is something serious and worth investing in.

Next was a presentation from Christine Nieman (University of Maryland, Baltimore/NNLM) on a resources toolkit for the new NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy, available on the Open Science Framework. It was developed by a group of over 30 librarians and research data professionals collaborated to develop resources aimed to assist librarians and researchers in implementing the new NIH requirements This toolkit can be “sliced and diced” to your specific needs.

The final lighting talk in this session was on recent changes to longstanding problematic Library of Congress Subject Headings. by Tina Gross (North Dakota State University). Tina noted that many times people are complaining about subject headings that have already been changed, because the news isn’t getting out. It is valid and important to talk about the problems, but we need to do so accurately. Tina works specifically with the Latin American an Indigenous Peoples SACO funnel, but has noted changes across the boards in many other areas. This presentation also made me aware that I missed a talk on Friday on a similar topic that I would have loved to attend: “There’s no Library of Congress Subject Heading for the Middle Passage or the Great Migration?” This presentation discussed a cross-institutional project committed to the remediation of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) related to African American history and culture, and included Charleston Conference Director Glenda Alvin as a presenter.

Panelists for “Textbook Broke: How libraries are helping students succeed”

“Textbook Broke: How libraries are helping students succeed” was an excellent panel presentation from librarians at three different institutions who were all working on textbook affordability initiatives. Textbook prices have increased 180% over the past 20 years, even when adjusted for the rate of inflation. The only thing to increase more is hospital/health care and college tuition and fees. The impact is huge, and it’s an equity issue since it’s more likely to affect students of color, first generation, and/or low-income students. Students are deferring other important expenses such as food and rest in order to afford their textbooks.

Univ of Maryland College Park discussed their “Top Textbooks on Reserve” program that identifies 100 or so of the largest courses on campus and provides the required textbooks available for 4 hour loans. University of Wisconsin Superior is employing a multi-pronged strategy to facilitate and expand the use of OER’s on campus, including a grant program for faculty who create OER’s for their courses. And Northern Arizona University used a crowd-funding approach to fund their initiative, which raised $7,500 mostly from current staff and alumni to provide ebooks to students.

John Culshaw, 2023 Conference Chair, welcome attendees to the final session on Saturday at 11:00 am. After a warm welcome, we saw a video recap of the week:

Following the video, he introduced ACRL 2025 Conference Chair Alexia Hudson-Ward, of MIT LIbraries. Alexia noted that they’ve already begun working on the next conference, which will be held in Minneapolis, and encouraged attendees to join conf planning committee and to look for Call for Papers this fall. ACRL Vice President, president-elect Beth McNeil, Purdue University introduced the speaker, Heather McGhee.

Closing Keynote Speaker Heather McGhee

Heather thanked attendees for sticking around to the end, joking that we “could’ve left after the party last night.” She opened the talk by recounting how she dreamed of being a fantasy author as a child, who would write “about a girl like me who was riding dragons and slaying witches.” She said that 12-year old Heather McGhee was keenly aware of social justice issues, and told a story of a classmate who was evicted. She was the kind of kid who would ask why? And she was lucky because mom didn’t say because his parents were lazy or didn’t work hard enough, she pointed towards the most powerful people in any system of injustice. Developers, landlords, slum lords, to look upstream to what was causing the issue. That became the great pursuit of her career, to try and figure out this thing called inequality. She started her career at a non-profit organization to develop evidence-based solutions, to use her voice and advocate for people in power to make better economic decisions. Although she loved it, in 2017 she made the unexpected decision to quite the job she worked so hard to attain. She went on a literal journey, on planes trains and automobiles, and in the height of pandemic she even rented an RV. Heather sat down with or Zoomed with people who had done research, but also talked to non-experts like stay at home parents, church deacons, factory workers in Mississippi, Memphis TN. This became her book The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, and later a podcast called The Sum of Us.

She closed on an uplifting note: “Even though we’re at a new moment where people are trying to sabotage what we’ve accomplished, its not going to work. Media and social media encourages bad behavior. When you go out and see Americans beyond the screen, talk to folks about their hopes and dreams, see the courage of every day people, you’ll be encouraged.”


The conference proceedings are freely available online at https://www.ala.org/acrl/conferences/acrl2023/papers.

ACRL 2025 will be held April 2 – 5 in Minneapolis, MD. Save the date!

View on the drive to the airport.

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