OCLC-ARC 2018, Chicago

I’m in Chicago today at the OCLC-ARC conference. Constantia opened the session and introduced Skip Prichard, OCLC’s president.

Next up was Rolf Hapel, currently serving as Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the University of Washington Information School. He usually works at drool-worthy library Dokk1 in Aarhus, Denmark. I saw his colleague, Marie Østergård, speak at the METRO Conference in 2017. One of the things Dokk1 is doing is moving library management to the citizens, letting them propose initiatives and vote on budget. This is an extreme example of user-centered librarianship and I think it’s phenomenal! They have also distributed power to patrons in other ways, they started hiring teens on a part-time basis to plan and conduct youth programming and did focus groups with children to determine which materials and objects would populate the children’s spaces.

I presented at the first breakout session on Using Library Data to Impact Staff & Organizational Culture. My session was well attended and we had many good questions. It was a combined session with Michael Perry and Stephanie Simko from Northwestern University who presented on a staff engagement project they worked on.

In the afternoon, I caught part of Phyllis Lockett, the Founder and CEO, LEAP Innovations who talked about her company’s reading product, myON, which is a product that brings customized reading to students. Then I heard Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, Membership and Research, and Chief Strategist at OCLC talk about OCLC initiatives.

At the next breakout, I attended Increasing Inclusion: Expanding Library Services for Under-represented Communities. First up was, Justin de la Cruz and Amy Winfrey talking about work they did interviewing LGBTQ students at two HBCU’s. They conducted peer focus groups, with trained student leaders to interview their peers. They found that students conceptualized libraries as white, straight spaces and wanted libraries to overcome this by being more proactive about acceptance in inviting LGBTQ students to use library spaces and services. Also in the session was Matthew Sheehy, the University Librarian at Brandeis University.

The final plenary session of the day featured Elaine Westbrooks, the Vice Provost for University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She talked about orienting her institution towards student success by being a catalyst for change.

On Friday, the conference opened with Brian Bannon, Commissioner and CEO at Chicago Public Libraries discussing creating partnerships in public libraries and Dr. Louise Bernard, the director of the Museum of the Obama Presidential Center. Embedded in the planned Obama Presidential Center will be a branch of the Chicago Public Library.

Next, I attended Crafting Library Narratives: Data Mining and Assessment for Stakeholders presented by Lorely Ambriz, Head Librarian at El Paso Community College Library / Northwest Campus and Devin Savage, Associate Dean for Assmt/Scholcomm at Illinois Institute of Technology. Lorely is a former medical librarian and worked virtually with a worldwide MLA team to conduct a systematic review focusing on librarian research competencies. Devin talked about creating a narrative that’s accurate, convincing, and memorable to present to different stakeholders within the institution.

The final plenary session featured John Bracken, the Executive Director at the Digital Public Library of America. After that I jumped on a plane and flew back to New Jersey! It was a whirlwind, but I had a great time. Till next year, OCLC!