Please join us for the virtual 2022 Academic Libraries Conference

Online April 14, 2022 9am-3:30pm

Higher ed and academic libraries have been through a lot during the past two years, prompting changes in how we approach our work and how our students approach their education. Health – both physical and mental – has taken center stage for all of us. In our work, we have seen innovations born in the crucible of what we have been through. We seek to acknowledge the impacts of the past two years while highlighting the innovations that improve our services and our lives.

All conference sessions, including networking lunch break, will take place via Zoom. Attendees will receive connection information in advance of the conference. There is no cost to attend this conference.

Most of the conference sessions will be recorded and made available after the conference. We will provide a Certificate of Attendance for all conference attendees.

IMPORTANT: If you have signed up for the conference but have not received the confernce program and Zoom links via email, contact Laura Osterhout.

Conference Schedule

9:00 am Keynote: Meet the Prospective Student: Moving between Generation Z and a Covid Generation, Nicole Eversley Bradwell (Ithaca College)

10:00 am Student Q&A Panel: Perspectives on Libraries, College, and Life

11:00 am Morning Break

11:15 am Morning Breakout Sessions

    • Better Together: The Impacts of Creating a Student Advisory Board from Scratch, Natalie LoRusso (Syracuse University)
    • Save Me a Space: Adapting the Library Learning and Workplace Environment to Protect and Support Students and Employees, Mechele Romanchock (Alfred University)

12:15 pm Networking Lunch Break

1:00 pm Lightning Talks

2:00 pm Afternoon Breakout Sessions

    • Overcoming Unprecedented Adversities: The Milne Library Experience, Leah Root & Alana Nuth (SUNY Geneseo)
    • How Will Libraries Deliver a Sustainable Future?, Gerald Beasley (Cornell University)

3:00 pm  Themes of the day and closing remarks, Jill Hurst-Wahl (Hurst Associates)

Session Descriptions

Keynote Session: Meet the Prospective Student: Moving between Generation Z and a Covid Generation

Abstract: The names may change but one thing is certain, there is a new generation of student in our schools and on our campuses. Our new generation of students are often identified as the most diverse, the most technologically savvy, and far more pragmatic than their predecessors. Clearly influenced by a global pandemic, racial and political friction, and war. Our current prospective students are challenging the value of traditional programs and practices in education. Nicole will discuss the major characteristics of and subsequent impacts on educational approaches to engage the latest generation of students, while promoting equity and fostering inclusion.

image of Nicole Eversley BradwellPresenter Bio: Nicole Eversley Bradwell is Director of Admission at Ithaca College. An experienced and dedicated higher education leader with demonstrated success in leading and supporting teams to align and achieve goals. Committed to engaging in strategic, student-centered, and data- informed enrollment strategy initiatives with a focus on inclusion and developing authentic connections. With nearly 30 years of experience, she has a record of student-centered leadership and has engaged in extensive undergraduate and international student recruitment, directed teams and many projects, and actively participates in campus-wide committees, including the President’s Advisory Council on Innovation, the Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and co-chaired the Ithaca College Middle States Self-Study Design & Delivery of Student Learning Experience Committee. She has served as an active mentor for the Martin Luther King Scholar Program and is an advisor for student organizations such as the Caribbean Students’ Association. In 2016, she received the Ithaca College Student Government Council Administrator of the Year award.

Student Q&A Panel: Perspectives on Libraries, College, and Life

Student Panel: Rochelle Burke (Oswego), Jaylea Ransom (Oswego), Ana Maniaci McGough (Ithaca), Morgan Buchanan (Oswego – Tentative)

Better Together: The Impacts of Creating a Student Advisory Board from Scratch

Abstract: In Fall 2019, Reference and User Experience Librarian Natalie LoRusso implemented a Library Student Advisory Board (LSAB). Based off the model that was used at the University of Oregon Libraries, Natalie created a pilot structure that encourages diverse membership, honest feedback, and outreach programs for further input from the campus community. The LSAB held a series of activities such as prototyping the Libraries website, providing feedback on library spaces with cognitive mapping, and gave students an opportunity to chat with the Dean of Libraries at a “Pizza with the Dean” event. The presenter seeks to provide a template for other libraries to incorporate student advisory boards (SABs) in their communities.

Presenter Bio: Natalie LoRusso is the Reference and User Experience Librarian at Syracuse University. She has over eight years of experience in academic libraries and earned her MSLIS from Syracuse University in 2017. Her interests include student engagement, service design, and data analysis.

Save Me a Space: Adapting the Library Learning and Workplace Environment to Protect and Support Students and Employees. 

Abstract: The Alfred University Libraries has been on a journey (along with our peer institutions) of adaptation and survival since March 2020.  From adapting previously in-person workflows to the new remote environment to rearranging two three-story buildings in order to create socially distanced makeshift classroom spaces, every pivot, shift, and adjustment has been with an eye to supporting student and staff mental, physical, and emotional health through our physical spaces.  This presentation will examine this unfinished journey, some practical applications we used, and the post-pandemic takeaways.

Presenter Bio: Mechele Romanchock has worked in libraries over the last 20 years at a variety of roles at Public, School and Academic Libraries.  She is currently Director of Libraries at Alfred University.  When not at work, Mechele enjoys backpacking, sewing, crocheting, and watching YouTube videos about making period clothing.

Overcoming Unprecedented Adversities: The Milne Library Experience

Abstract: In January 2020, the staff at SUNY Geneseo Milne Library as well as students and faculty were evacuated from the library building upon discovery of asbestos contamination. Two months later, library staff transitioned to working remotely and providing library services in a virtual environment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This presentation will discuss how Milne library staff used a combination of tools and strategies, including the library website, research guides, “on-the-fly space assessment,” physical signage, and social media, to both redirect and maintain services, and continue to share up to date information about library services with our patrons despite the challenges of working with minimal equipment, limited access to collections, and temporary building relocations. The presentation will also discuss how we restored access to library collections and services, and reopened in a new location in 2021.

Presenter Bios:

Alana Nuth is the Head of Collection Management at SUNY Geneseo Milne Library. She is responsible for the management of the print and electronic collection and oversees the collection budget. Alana is currently serving as the SUNYLA Secretary and chairs the Milne Library Collections Team and KnightScholar Team.

Leah Root is the Library Web Services Developer at the SUNY Geneseo Library . She is chair of the Library Accessibility Guidelines Team and member of the SUNY Geneseo Electronic Information Technology Accessibility Committee. She has over twenty years’ experience in Information Technology and web development.

How Will Libraries Deliver a Sustainable Future?

Abstract: Are there ways academic libraries can help to deliver a sustainable future? In this session we will explore some actionable suggestions and give examples. After a short presentation, participants will be given the opportunity to learn from each other.

Presenter Bio: Gerald Beasley is currently the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. He has written and presented extensively on various topics including the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.  Previous to Cornell, Beasley had leadership positions as Chief Librarian and Vice-Provost at the University of Alberta, Edmonton (2013-17); University Librarian at Concordia University, Montreal (2008-13); Director, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York City (2004-08); and Chief Librarian, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal (1999-2004).

Lightning Talks

The Library and Animal Assisted Activities: Let’s Paws for a Moment

Offering events that include pets to relieve stress has been a trend at academic libraries up until COVID restrictions. With these restrictions slowly being lifted, these activities may start to emerge again, and could prove to be very important in reducing the stress of both students and staff members. This talk will give information on past animal assisted activities and the planning that took place to host them.

Presenter Bio: Ben Hogben is the Access Services Manager for the Ithaca College Library. He has a BA from Ithaca College and training that includes employee and student coaching, and MBTI certification. He has written articles on coaching employees, conducting performance evaluations, hiring and training student employees, and co-authored an article on Animal Assisted Activities.

Developing a For-Credit Information Literacy Course

The Clarkson University instruction librarians developed a framework for a 3-credit semester-long elective information literacy course. Since the successful implementation of the course, we’ve been able to offer two separately focused sections on the topics of “Fake News” and “True Crime,” with plans to offer additional sections. The librarians will discuss the course design process, the structure of the course content, reflect on their individual observations and share what they have learned, and finally discuss plans for the future of the information literacy program at Clarkson.

Presenter Bios: Amber Dashnaw is the Public Services Librarian of Graduate Education at Clarkson University and works primarily in instruction and reference. Lisa Hoover is the Public Services Librarian at Clarkson University and works primarily in instruction and reference.

Growing through the Cracks: Adapting and Advancing Sustainability Initiatives in Academic Libraries during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In this lightning talk, we will give a brief overview of how the COVID-19 pandemic shifted our perspective, leading us to develop new time and project management strategies in regards to our sustainability initiatives. We’ll touch on the hindrances caused by COVID, the adjustments we made to adapt, and the ways we made sure to take advantage of opportunities presented by everyone’s ‘new normal’. We will cover this in the first five minutes. For the second five minutes, we’ll finish by giving a quick overview of some of the highlights of our newly formed, and quickly growing, Sustainability Hub.

Presenter Bios: Neyda is the Assistant Head of Sustainability & STEM Engagement and the librarian for the Decker College of Nursing & Health Sciences and the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. She is also a co-founder of the Binghamton University Libraries’ Sustainability Hub and Seed Library. She has a BS in medical laboratory science from the University of Utah and worked as a medical technologist in a variety of laboratories before earning her MLS from the University at Buffalo. Jen is the Sustainability Hub Coordinator and Subject Librarian for Biology, Psychology, Comparative Literature, Translation Research, and Latin American and Caribbean Areas Studies at Binghamton University. She is also a co-founder of the Binghamton University Libraries’ Sustainability Hub and Seed Library. In her free time, she loves to garden, hike with her dog Banjo, and binge-watch British comedy shows.

‘Leaf’ your Worries at the Door: Library Tree Grows Gratitude and Hope on Campus

In the middle of tough times, it can help to reflect on the past or dream about the future. The SUNY Cortland Memorial Library Tree gave our campus community an outlet to reflect on what they are most grateful for and dream about what they hope for the future during the wake of the pandemic. We found giving people the opportunity to reflect, dream, and display their personal thoughts anonymously as a leaf on our community created tree was empowering. Learn how to create a project using library resources to promote a positive mental health experience within your community.

Presenter Bios: Jennifer Kronenbitter is the Director of Libraries at Memorial Library, SUNY Cortland. She received her MS in Geoenvironmental Science from Shippensburg University and a MLS from Southern Connecticut State University. Jeremy Pekarek is the Archivist & Instructional Services Librarian at Memorial Library, SUNY Cortland. He received his MA in History from SUNY Oswego and a MSLIS from Syracuse University. Jenifer Phelan is an Assistant Librarian in the Teaching Materials Center at the Memorial Library, SUNY Cortland. She received her MLS from SUNY Albany and MEd from Seattle Pacific University.


This conference is generously sponsored by the Empire State Library Network and the Academic & Special Libraries Section of the New York Library Association.

Code of Conduct

ESLN strives to support an open exchange of ideas within a safe and respectful environment. We value your attendance at ESLN conferences, meetings, and events, and are dedicated to providing a positive event experience for all participants and members. We want all ESLN events to be welcoming, supportive, and comfortable for all members of the library community.

Treat ESLN staff, event attendees, and speakers with respect.

Participation in discussions and activities should be respectful at all times. All are expected to exercise tolerance of the perspectives and opinions of all present and use discretion with photographs, recordings, and sharing. Be aware of your presence, and be thoughtful in sharing, listening, and knowing when to do which.

We do not tolerate harassment in any form. If a participant engages in disruptive or harassing behavior, ESLN staff may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the event. Event organizers will assist participants in contacting building/venue security or local law enforcement or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event. If you are being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact an ESLN  staff person immediately.