The PILLARS Symposium:

Preparation, Information Literacy, Libraries, Academic Resources,

and 21st Century Skills for Transitioning from Secondary School to College


  • Why: A three-day symposium that will bring educators and librarians together to share knowledge on the topic of student readiness for college and beyond.
    • When: Wednesday, July 7 – Friday, July 9, 2021
      • Where: Virtually, from your computer.
        • What: This symposium is designed to introduce educators to a wide range of teaching and learning resources for practical use in the 21st-century classroom. Presenters will share their knowledge on teaching information literacy instruction, writing, using primary resources, bridging the digital divide, and related topics that will prepare secondary students for success in college and beyond. The format will include formal presentations, breakout sessions, and opportunities to connect with educators around New York State. This symposium is presented by and for educators in New York State, and we welcome the perspective of guests from other regions who will join as presenters and attendees.
        • Who: Presenters and target audience include but are not limited to:
          • Secondary school teachers, librarians, administrators
          • Academic librarians, professors, administrators
          • First year college transition specialists
          • Public librarians – both YA and Adult Services
          • Public historians and cultural heritage institution educators
          • Students (recent HS graduates and first-year college students)
          • Others invested in student success with High School to College Transition

        Symposium Schedule

        Wednesday, July 7 – Research Skills

        9:30 to 10 a.m. – Yoga/Writing Workshop
        Rivka Eckert

        10 to 11 a.m. – Research Skills for First-Year College Students: The Library’s Role
        Leslie Wong Loock, Nassau Community College
        Shikha Gupta Joseph, Nassau Community College
        Dina Ledwith, Nassau Community College

        11 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Making the Connections for Student Success: Common Themes Found in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy, the American Association of School Librarians Standards, and the Common Core State Standards
        Caroline Fuchs, St. John’s University
        Heather Ball, St. John’s University

        1 to 2 p.m. – Developing College-Ready Students: A Story of Collaboration and Active Learning
        Jocelyn Ireland, Mohawk Valley Community College
        Michael Hoover, P-TECH – Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES

        2 to 3 p.m. – Don’t Dread the Open Web: Empowering Students to be Confident, Effective, and Inclusive Information Seekers
        Christine Fena, Stony Brook University

        3 to 4 p.m. – What Today’s Students Need to Know About Research
        John Hayward, Naperville Central High School

        Featured Speakers:

        4 to 5 p.m. – From First Year Experience to Teacher’s Education: A Discussion on Practical Ideas for Information Literacy and Students in Transition

        Raymond Pun, Education/Outreach Manager – Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Stanford University
        Tarida Anantachai, Interim Head – Learning and Academic Engagement, Syracuse University Libraries

        Thursday, July 8 – Working with the Community

        9:30 to 10 a.m. – Good For Your Soul: A Cooking Show with Ms. Sarah – Dutch Babies for Breakfast!
        Sarah Gluck, Queens Public Library

        10 to 11 a.m. – Partnering with the Community to Help Students Transition
        Carli Wright, Randolph Central School MS/HS
        Allison Fischer, SUNY Erie Community College & Daemen College
        Maria Lowe, Buffalo & Erie County Public Central Library
        Dani Newman, Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES
        Amy Rockwell, SUNY Buffalo State

        11 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Digital History with Timeline JS
        Chelsea Gibson, Binghamton University

        1 to 2 p.m. – College and Career Pathways at The New York Public Library: Filling the College Access Gap in an Urban Setting
        Katrina Ortega, The New York Public Library
        Leanne Minkoff, The New York Public Library

        2 to 3 p.m. – Data Zines: A Hands-On Approach to Community Curiosities
        Tess Wilson, Network of the National Library of Medicine – Middle Atlantic Region

        3 to 4 p.m. – Digital Research Course: A First Step to College Transitioning
        Melissa Balk, Thousand Island High School

        4 to 5 p.m. – Reinforcement and Rapport: Supporting English Language Learners in Academic Libraries
        Megan Margino Marchese, SUNY Farmingdale State College


        Friday, July 9 – Preparing for the Future


        9:30 to 10 a.m. – Morning Mindfulness Art Therapy Workshop
         Lena DeLeo

        10 to 11 a.m. – “Aligning the Curriculums for College Success” High School and College Library Collaborations
        Carl R. Andrews, Bronx Community College
        Dickens Saint Hilaire, Bronx Community College

        11 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Digital Literacy Skills in an Inequitable Arena: How Will We Address Post-Pandemic Knowledge Gap in Classrooms for Student Success?
        Jenna Pitera, Skidmore College
        Maria Ishaq Khan, University at Albany

        1 to 2 p.m. – An Inadvertent Opportunity: Open Access, Digital Equity, and a High School-College Collaboration
        Kristen Totleben, University of Rochester
        Danyelle Westbrook, Victor High School
        Eileen Daly-Boas, University of Rochester

        2 to 3:30 p.m. – High School to College Roundtable
        Facilitator – Sue LeBlanc, Madison-Oneida BOCES
        Danielle S. Apfelbaum, SUNY Farmingdale State College
        Kathy Starks, Owego Free Academy
        Michelle Bishop, SUNY Oswego
        Kenneth Nichols, SUNY Oswego
        Theresa Zahor, SUNY Farmingdale State College
        Franki Kessler, SUNY Farmingdale State College
        Kari Whitney, Pierce College
        Kelle Rose, Pierce College
        Lizz Zitron, Pierce College
        Beth Thoms
        Amber Wessies, Union University

        3:30 to 4:30 p.m. – Bridging the Digital Divide (During COVID-19)
        Jonathan R. Wilson, East Tennessee State University
        Jeri Paddock, East Tennessee State University

        This event is presented at no cost to attendees by the Empire State Library Network with generous help from our sponsors.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Will attendees be receiving continuing education certificates?

        Yes. Attendees will have the option to request continuing education certificates for each individual session.

        Will attendees be eligible for Continuing Education and Leader Education (CTLE) credit?

        Yes. Attendees will be able to request CTLE credit for each individual session. It will be provided by the Western New York Library Resources Council (WNYLRC). For more information contact Caitlin Kenney at

        This event is a production of Empire State Library Network (ESLN) and is co-produced by New York School Library Systems Association (SLSA). 

        For more information, please contact the planning committee at

        Once again, we’d like to thank our generous sponsors for allowing us to present this event at no cost to attendees.

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