Symposium on the Future of Libraries - Schedule
The Symposium on the Future of Libraries explores the near-term trends already inspiring innovation in libraries and the longer-term trends that will help us adapt to the needs of our communities.
The tentative schedule below helps you plan for your participation. Additional sessions will be added as they are scheduled.
Saturday January 26th
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Libraries Transform - Social Innovation
Sarah Studer, Managing Director, Impact Hub Seattle
Join Seattle-based social innovators for the morning's plenary session exploring what’s next for communities.
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Bridging the Digital and Physical: Increasing Engagement with Unique Collections Through Digital Tools
Alix Norton, Archivist, Center for Archival Research and Training (CART), UC Santa Cruz; Ann Hubble, Digital Initiatives Librarian, UC Santa Cruz; Kristy Golubiewski-Davis, Digital Humanities Librarian, UC Santa Cruz
At UC Santa Cruz, we’re creating and supporting digital projects which aid student scholarship, enhance on-site exhibit experiences, engage broader communities through online exhibitions, and promote our unique collections. This session will explore how interactive digital tools enhance physical exhibits of unique collections, like the Grateful Dead Archive, to create immersive virtual experiences for viewers. Session attendees will learn how they can use digital tools to promote their library’s unique collections, engage students in creating new forms of scholarly work, preserve a record of physical exhibits after deinstallation, and increase use of collections and resources.
Breaking Down the Barriers to Advocacy for School Libraries
Deborah Rinio, Adjunct Instructor, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Ann Ewbank, Director, School Library Media Certificate, Montana State University; Jenna Nemec-Loise, Head Librarian, North Shore Country Day School
Join ALA Policy Corps members for a conversation surrounding political advocacy for school librarians. In this session, you will hear directly from decision makers at various levels to learn their perspectives on advocacy and what makes a good advocate. You will also learn how to connect with your local, state, and national legislators; communicate effectively; and break down the barriers standing in the way of your advocacy efforts.
Racial Equity: Libraries Organizing to Transform Institutions
Amita Lonial, Learning, Marketing and Engagement Principal Librarian, San Diego County Library; Sarah Lawton, Neighborhood Library Supervisor, Madison Public Library
Libraries across the country are working to identify and address institutional racism and structural inequities. Released in 2018, the Government Alliance on Race and Equity’s issue paper “Advancing Racial Equity in Libraries: Case Studies from the Field” provides an overview of successful strategies and a framework designed to drive change from the local level. Join colleagues from GARE and from the Public Library Association’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to learn more about the work that is being done and to discuss the opportunities and challenges that libraries and communities face as we transform our institutions.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Algorithms, Implicit Bias, and Search Literacy: Exploring Beliefs among Computer Science Students about Search Engine and Machine Learning Models
Shalini Ramachandran, Science Librarian, University of Southern California; Steven Cutchin, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Boise State University; Sheree Fu, ECST Librarian, California State University, Los Angeles; Karen Howell, Head, Leavey Library, University of Southern California
What role do library professionals have in raising awareness about algorithm design and human bias? In this presentation, we share insights from a survey of computer science students – the future architects of algorithms and AI systems that shape our information infrastructure – about their perceptions of the biases in search engines and big-data algorithms. All librarians can benefit from our presentation as it will help them understand the significance of developing ethically informed search literacy. In our discussion, we underscore that library and information professionals have a role in partnering with information scientists to ensure that libraries can be spaces where users can optimize their search for information and expect fair treatment from automated systems.
Building a Future-Ready Workforce: How Public Libraries Can Create Resilient and Entrepreneurial Communities
Audrey Barbakoff, Community Engagement and Economic Development Manager, King County Library System; Jay Lyman, Librarian, The Seattle Public Library
Learn about key trends shaping the future of work and how public libraries can play an important role in creating communities that are prepared for change. Structural shifts in our workforce such as automation and AI, the sharing and gig economy, systemic income and educational inequity, and entrepreneurship and design thinking will impact workers and businesses in your community. By the end of this session, you will: understand some key workforce shifts impacting your patrons; be able to connect those broader trends to impactful library partnerships and services; and have begun formulating a plan to develop services responses for your own library.
Checking Out YouTube: Using Online Video as a Library Outreach Tool
Peter Musser, Host of Stacks & Facts;Colleen Thiesen, Chief Curator, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University
It all starts with a question: how can libraries turn YouTube from a patron’s final destination into a stepping stone to the stacks? Whether it’s young adults trying to learn new skills, parents looking for something to entertain their kids with, or pundits questioning whether libraries even matter -- all of these situations would benefit from a librarian’s expertise. Unfortunately, people might go to YouTube instead (for better or worse), and lose out on everything their library has to offer them. Libraries don’t have to be in competition with YouTube to serve their patrons, though! This presentation will discuss the online video platform and its potential role in supporting libraries’ missions to support their communities, both as a tool for outreach and for information-seeking.
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Return to the Real: The Library as Social Connector
Betha Gutsche, WebJunction Programs Manager, OCLC; Jennifer Peterson, WebJunction Community Manager, OCLC
Studies show an increase in loneliness and depression because of too much time spent online. Communities experience steady erosion of the bonds formed when people share real-time activities together, which affects our health and well-being. As a magnet for social connection, libraries offer that sense of community and shared place that humans as social animals crave. Active learning programs that offer participatory activities to enhance individual learning can go further to cement social connection when people are learning and doing together. This session will explore library programs through the lens of social possibilities, with the goal of strengthening community bonds.
Creating a Healthy Marketplace With FOLIO
Peter H. McCracken, Electronic Resources Librarian, Cornell University; Sebastian Hammer, President, Index Data LLC
Library decision-makers have the ability to affect the library industry by thoughtfully determining how they spend their money. The FOLIO Marketplace can help them do this, by combining elements of a farmers market, a vibrant mall, and a town commons, all to the greater benefit of the entire library community. This session will propose some ideas about what comes next, and how the FOLIO Marketplace can improve the overall library marketplace, well beyond the world of FOLIO implementers. After presenting these admittedly speculative views, the speakers will welcome considerate feedback -- and pushback -- from the audience.
Making the Connection: Early Literacy and Computational Thinking for Young Children
Claudia Haines, Youth Services Librarian, Homer Public Library (Alaska); Paula Langsam, Children's Librarian, DC Public Library
Computational thinking, a problem solving process often associated with computer science, has become a buzz word as libraries and other cultural institutions move to support STEM and STEAM learning. But beyond the “coding” buzz, the universal ideas behind computational thinking – decomposition, pattern recognition, and abstraction – connect with familiar early literacy practices, like reading, singing, and playing. By exploring the relationship between early literacy skills and computational thinking skills, library staff can challenge themselves to think differently about our fundamental services and programs and the ways our work supports the whole child. Young children can become successful problem-solvers, creative thinkers, and lifelong learners at the library.
Pushing on the Frontier: Disability Access and the Future of Libraries
Katherine N Deibel, Inclusion & Accessibility Librarian, Syracuse University Libraries
To be truly inclusive, the future of libraries must take great strides in promoting disability access. This goes beyond just web accessibility. Yes, we should be more obstinate regarding the compliance of our own web sites and collectively push on vendors to be compliant. True change, however, requires libraries to further involve themselves in the creation, remediation, and sharing of accessible content. As stewards of content throughout history, we understand how content’s structure and usage has evolved. Using this knowledge, libraries must play an active role in shaping the technology, standards, and practices to make content truly accessible to all.
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Leadership for the Future of Libraries
Harry Bruce (Moderator), Dean Emeritus and Professor, The Information School, University of Washington; Brian Bannon, Commissioner, Chicago Public Library; Rolf Hapel, Past Director, Citizens’ Services and Libraries, Aarhus Denmark, and Professor of Practice, The Information School, University of Washington; Susan Hildreth, Interim Director, Sonoma County Library, and Past Professor of Practice, The Information School, University of Washington; Lisa Rosenblum, Director, King County Library System
It is inevitable that the future will have an impact on public libraries and librarianship. But, we must also ensure that it is equally the case that public libraries will have an impact on the future - upon the enrichment of communities, creativity, learning, innovation, social justice, positive social change, and more. The answer to the question - what is the future for libraries? - belongs to librarians and the communities they serve. Identifying a robust and relevant future for our public libraries and "making" that future happen, is in part, a function of effective leadership. Participants attending this session will learn what leadership for the future of libraries means to five distinguished public library leaders. Participants will leave the session with the determination and confidence to actively participate in "making" an exhilarating future for their public library.
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Efficient, Paperless, Private - Streamlining Holds Processing for Current Needs
Katie DuPraw, Marketing and Development, P.V. Supa Inc; Mika Passila, Software Engineer, P.V. Supa Inc; Cody Flood, Access Services Manager, Hancock Public Library
Today’s users want convenient and efficient access to their holds requests, even as library staff contend with upholding patron privacy and the time-consuming challenges of processing and shelving new holds and removing expired holds. This session will feature a librarian perspective on holds processing in today’s environment and look at how new solutions like the Holds Management System developed by P.V. Supa can offer more efficient features (paperless, self-service, and patron notifications) while also helping library staff ensure patron privacy and save time.
Modernized Collaborations: Technologies Affecting Librarian Research Connections
Ngoc-Yen Tran, Research Impact Librarian, San Jose State University; Emily K. Chan, Interim Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship, San Jose State University
Have technologies, academic research networks, social media, and evolving communication methods influenced how librarians seek and select potential research collaborators? This presentation offers recently collected data on how these tools and methods underscore collaborative research and publication endeavors. LIS graduate students; and new librarians seeking first-time research or publication opportunities; and administrators and organizers who wish to sponsor and promote research acumen opportunities for aspiring researchers at their institution, professional organization, or conference meeting will find the session informative and instructive.
Speculative Design: Design and Strategy
John Jung, Design Research Consultant, johnjung.us
Speculative design is a way that design can be used to explore future possibilities. Thinking from the perspective of organizational strategy, it can be a way to prototype alternate possibilities for the future and to stimulate discussion about those possibilities. It can also be a way to confront what the strategist Dan Hill would call the "dark matter" around problems: deeply embedded assumptions and organizational orthodoxies that make it difficult to get to where we would like to be.
Public Libraries as Partners in Healthy Communities
Bobbi Newman, Community Engagement and Outreach Specialist for Public Libraries, National Network of Libraries of Medicine; Carolyn Martin, Consumer Health Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine
Public libraries are on the front lines of the health information needs of their communities. Public libraries are often the only access to computers and/or broadband in their communities and are a trusted institution. This session will provide attendees with ideas for getting started with health outreach and programming in their communities (including funding suggestions!). We will look at no-cost resources for evidence-based health information in multiple languages. Attendees will leave with at least one new thing that can do immediately to improve their health services in their communities.
Sunday January 27th
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Libraries Transform - Civic Innovation
Lesley Bain, Principal, FRAMEWORK
Join Seattle-based civic innovators for the morning's plenary session exploring what’s next for cities.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Community, Equity, and Storytimes
CiKeithia Pugh, Early Learning Program Manager, The Seattle Public Library; Betha Gutsche, WebJunction Programs Manager, OCLC
Leading for equity means examining our library practices and policies with an equity lens. This shift in practice moves away from viewing our services as merely transactional and instead builds them in partnership with community. This interactive session will highlight The Seattle Public Library’s work to prioritize community voices and equitable partnerships to create relevant, responsive youth services programming. We'll also explore how Supercharged Storytimes is applying an equity lens to a training program that builds the skills and knowledge of storytime providers across the country as they nurture early literacy skills in the readers of the future.
The Role of Libraries in Addressing Homelessness and Poverty
Julie Ann Winkelstein, Researcher, Author, Teacher, Activist; Tina Reid, Library Assistant II, Felix G. Woodward Library, Austin Peay State University; Jessica Ball, Librarian, Memphis Public Libraries; Hilary M Jasmin, Research and Learning Services Librarian, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Across the United States, public libraries in particular are considering their responsibilities in serving well their community members who are experiencing homelessness and poverty. The role of libraries in addressing societal challenges like these is one that hasn’t received much specific attention in library schools and this fact has left many who are addressing these challenges on a daily basis without the necessary vocabulary, background and tools. Using a new library school class as an example, this interactive session will offer examples of exercises, readings, videos and conversations that can help libraries move forward, dream big and take action.
Re-Imagining the Public Library
Sara Rothholz Weiner, Architect, Gensler; Anthony Harris, Architect, Gensler; Allison Marshall, Design Manager, Gensler
Gensler Research Institute's architects, designers, and strategists have been exploring meta and micro-trends impacting public libraries and developed a framework for engaging the communities served. This session will share some of the findings from our nationwide snap survey of library staff and community administrators and three “dialogue” panel events (Houston, D.C, Minneapolis) that included insights from urban library leaders, community activists, city administrators, artists, educators, and social workers. Emerging themes from these findings include Serving Vulnerable Communities, Social Resilience & Promoting Equity, Libraries as Third / Fourth Place & Libraries Beyond the Library, Private & Non-Profit Partnerships, Serving Changing Demographic, and more.
Community Webs: Empowering Public Librarians to Create Community History Web Archives
Maria J. Praetzellis, Program Manger, Internet Archive; Julie Tabberer, Librarian III, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids History & Special Collections; Dylan Gaffney, Local History, Arts, Music and Film Specialist, Forbes Library
Local history collections in public libraries have long served as vital resources for dynamic communities, but how are they adapting to the predominance of web-based publishing? In this session you will hear from participants in, and organizers of, the IMLS funded Community Webs: Empowering Public Librarians to Create Community History Web Archives project who are developing web archiving programs to document the lives of their communities as expressed on the web and in social media.
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Machine Learning: How Does It Work?!
Andromeda Yelton, Web Applications Developer, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and Past President, LITA
You've probably heard of machine learning, but how does it work, and what does that mean for libraries? In this talk I'll make you laugh - and then think - as we walk through real-world examples. You'll get a high-level overview of how neural nets work and you'll get to explore Hamlet, a prototype library discovery interface based in neural nets. You'll also see why machine learning might NOT be the right tool for your job, due to its limitations, biases, and social risks.
Designing Future Library Leaders: Incorporating Design Thinking, Methods and Principles into Master’s Level Library Education
Rachel Ivy Clarke, Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University
Design thinking is a creative problem-solving approach that uses mindsets and principles like building empathetic understanding to identify problems; ideating and prototyping to develop solutions; and iterating solutions through implementation and modification. Libraries of all types are increasingly using these methods to improve library spaces and services and support increased community engagement. But how does one learn to be a “design thinker”? Design thinking is not traditionally included in MLIS programs. This panel of library educators will discuss how they are incorporating design thinking in their courses and curricula to foster the creative problem-solving mindset called for in future librarians.
What Does Your Community Want? Using Google Search Data for Strategic Planning
Peter Velikonja, Head of Research, Koios LLC
Libraries generally have a good idea of what their patrons are interested in, but Google, to whom patrons routinely address their questions, has the data. Using Google's API, we tried out a few hundred themed key-phrases in 3000 public library service areas. The results confirmed some of our assumptions, and also included surprises. A survey like ours can inform library marketing efforts, and help administrators with resource management and planning.
Global Citizenship Education: Making Libraries Innovative for Learners of All Ages
Michelle Carton, Founder, Global Education Alaska
Join Michelle Carton, 2018 School Library Journal Champion of Civic Engagement, for an innovative and informative look at how libraries can become the hottest place for communities to learn about, engage with, and take action around global citizenship. Global Citizenship Education helps foster a sense of enlightenment and global mindedness across users. Utilizing video conferencing and virtual connection, libraries can find ways to bring astronauts, TED speakers, STEM innovators, social activists, and world change makers into their library’s programming – and build connections across a network of peer libraries and cultural institutions.
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
The Academic Library in an Open Access World: Threats and Opportunities
Rick Anderson, Associate Dean for Collections & Scholarly Communication, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
Given that one of the academic library's central value propositions is as a broker of access to scholarship, what happens when access to scholarship no longer has to be brokered? This session will explore both threats to the library's future and new opportunities that an open-access information future would make possible, taking into account both the likelihood of different scenarios and their implications both for libraries and for the people who use them.
Where Journals and Journalism Collide: Does a Future for Libraries Lie in News Creation, Aggregation, and Dissemination?
Kenn Bicknell, Digital Resources Librarian, Metro Los Angeles Library, Archives and Records Information Management
While libraries recognize information literacy as a critical component of finding and assessing accurate information, they are not alone in valuing an informed citizenry. As one of the last trusted civic institutions in America, libraries should adopt elements of journalism to diversify efforts to cultivate this critical skill. This session and conversation focuses on librarianship and journalism’s shared mission of information provision, making them logical partners in exploring how best to capitalize on cooperation and collaboration around digital content. This session explores how some libraries are publishing digital newspapers to engage existing users with high-quality, value-added products, while others are taking over local news coverage to ensure that critical hyper-local information doesn’t disappear. Still others are partnering with news agencies in innovative, mutually beneficial partnerships such as training citizen journalists to surface compelling community stories.
Libraries in the Subscription Economy
Karen Kleckner Keefe, Executive Director, Hinsdale Public Library
From makeup and meal kits to movies, many of the most successful companies of the last ten years are turning customers into subscribers, delivering services that keep revenue and engagement strong. Libraries already provide access to institutional subscriptions for newspapers, magazines, and online learning platforms with our database management software. Hear how one public library is delivering curation as a service by inviting their patrons to subscribe to a monthly interest-based “Book Box.” Discover the fundamentals of the “Subscription Economy” and explore how you can deliver recurring services that maximize fulfillment and integrate library services into your busy patrons’ lives.
Build Awareness, Drive Engagement, Measure Impact: A Hands-on Workshop to Improve Your Library’s Community Engagement Strategy
During this hands-on workshop, attendees will participate in real-time polls that will allow them to benchmark their community engagement efforts against other attendees. Poll results will be used to facilitate discussions about community engagement best practices, focusing on areas with the greatest opportunity for improvement. Participants will then be guided in building action-oriented, measurable strategies to address their libraries’ community engagement challenges.
Monday January 28th
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Libraries Transform - Education Innovation
Betheny Gross, Senior Research Analyst, Research Director, Center on Reinventing Public Education
Join Seattle-based education innovators for the morning's plenary session exploring what’s next for elementary and higher education.
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Intentionally Intersectional: Feminist Programming in a Public Library
Rebecca Stanwick, Adult Services Librarian and Head of the Steinem Sisters Collection, Toledo Lucas County Public Library
How can librarians be ‘intentionally intersectional’ in the way we program? Intentional intersectionality encourages a purposeful way of looking at systems to make more visible, and give voice to, the stories and voices of our most at-risk and marginalized community members, especially women. In library programming, intentionally intersectional programs are purposefully designed to transform culture so that people are treated equally and with the respect owed to all humanity. Together, we will critically self-reflect on the biases we bring to creating programs and work to dismantle these biases in order to form a meaningful and intentionally intersectional way of thinking about library programming.
Learning from Each Other: Intergenerational Learning with Storytelling and STEM
Ashley Braun, Digital and Family Learning Librarian, The Seattle Public Library; Amy Twito, Informal Learning Program Manager, The Seattle Public Library; Dr. Carrie Tzou, Associate Professor, University of Washington Bothell
When families use STEM concepts to tell their own stories that center around their culture, creativity, and values, learning comes to life. Hear about the transformative partnership between a public library, university research team, science center, and community-based organizations that codesigned family programs incorporating stories, robotics, and e-textiles. At the heart of this learning is family storytelling, a practice that brings folks of all ages together in a culturally responsive, strengths-based way. Attendees will learn ways to incorporate participatory design elements with partners, as well as how to cultivate intergenerational learning experiences by prioritizing storytelling in STEM programs.
Optimizing the Library Foundation's Impact
Elizabeth Castleberry, Executive Director, King County Library System Foundation; Lisa Rosenblum, Executive Director, King County Library System; Nicole Partridge, Business Program Manager, Microsoft Library
Properly resourced, public library foundations are positioned to serve as innovation engines that help their libraries move forward. Learn how the King County Library System (KCLS) Foundation and KCLS maximize both efficiency and community engagement through the KCLS Foundation Board's Impact Committee, which formalized the funding process between library and foundation in 2016. This process allows the library ecosystem as a whole to benefit from the flexibility of philanthropic funding to iterate and "fail forward," free up public funding to scale and operationalize what works, and ensure that decisions about programs, services, and community outcomes remain with the library experts.