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2019 ACRL Conference Review

Posted by on May 2nd, 2019 Posted in: Conferences and Meetings, Funding, Success Stories


I recently received an NNLM-GMR Professional Development Award to attend the 2019 ACRL Conference in Cleveland, OH, where I planned for an experience that would help inform my work with my library’s new systematic review service and my work helping to launch a new undergraduate learning community centered on critical data studies.

My ACRL experience began with a pre-conference session, OER + Scholarly Communication, where I spent the day learning about licensing agreements and the design and use of OER tools. A colleague and I are planning to build a toolkit for librarians interested in diversifying and retaining students in extracurricular innovation activities that use biomedical data, like hackathons and case competitions, so this learning opportunity was especially timely.

The conference was full of opportunities to learn about how academic librarians are working with data, offering data literacy services, and applying critical theory to librarianship. A few of my favorite sessions were:

  1. Improving Ourselves and Improving Care: Mitigating Unconscious Bias in Literature Searching, a session on designing inclusive search strategies;
  2. Sharing with the Community: Advice for Getting Your Writing Published, a session with practical tips for publishing with ACRL;
  3. Academic Library Impact: New Research from ACRL Grant Recipients, a session focused on assessing the impact of academic libraries and library services; and
  4. Setting the Stage for Civic-Minded Education: Casting New Roles for Librarians in Critical Information Literacy Instruction; a session focused on critical info lit that complimented my interests in critical data studies.

There were also several informative sessions on issues experienced by pre-tenure track librarians and issues surrounding diversity and inclusion. And, there were several social opportunities—my favorites being the WOC + LIB Social Hour and a night at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I concluded my 2019 ACRL conference experience by presenting with a panel discussing recruitment and retention in STEM librarianship, alongside librarians from University of Michigan and Northwestern University. The panel was well received and presented a means to connect attendees searching for STEM librarianship jobs with open positions.

-Guest Post by Bethany McGowan, Assistant Professor of Library Science at Purdue University 

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This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant Number 1UG4LM012346 with The University of Iowa.

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