Sessions 2023


headshot of Emily Drabinski with a fire background

Emily Drabinski

Emily Drabinski is Associate Professor at the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. She currently serves as President of the American Library Association.

Concurrent Sessions

Personal is Professional

Sierra Webb
Erin Baker

It is difficult and unhealthy to keep the professional and personal separate. The Personal is Professional outlines how whole-person leadership cultivates healing and growth which supports a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Experienced library leaders discuss when the personal and professional collided and the strategies they utilized to be successful. All attendees will learn tools to create psychological safety for all to be their authentic selves, shift from a workplace of conflict to compassion, and overcome trauma while affirming the personal and professional.

Ready Access: Reentry Services for Decarcerated Populations

Lara Mayelian
Akiliah Manuel

Mass incarceration has burned down communities in America. The Ready Access team has created a two-fold website and community of practice for those who are ready to provide services to this largely underserved population. The presentation will touch on the importance of the movement, how to join the community of practice and showcase the two-fold website: (1) Inward-facing: a toolkit to encourage, inspire and support library staff to provide reentry services. Tools include a map to locate carceral institutions, partnership templates, programming workflow and reading list. (2) Outward facing: resources for folks impacted by mass incarceration including map to find their local public library and additional resources (housing, mental health, drug/alcohol rehab)

How Bookstagram, Booktok, and Booktube can connect librarians to young and new adults in libraries

Loriana Nicole Donovan

While in library school, my young adult literature professor had us create 1-3 book talks a week on tiktok. After finishing the class, I found an amazing community that I was able to learn from and teach about libraries and books!

One year later, my tiktok and instagram account connects to over 1,000 users both young adult and new adult. I have been able to provide reader’s advisory, engage with young and new adult readers online, and help patrons all over reconnect with libraries, books, and reading.

As the world becomes more digital, librarians need to learn how to engage and participate with users. Learn how to connect with users in your targeted age range or interest group, and understand how social media can help you reach the group that everyone wants in libraries, but everyone is struggling to get: teens and young adults!


“I don’t want to be a rockstar – I just want to be a library worker”

Liz Baldwin

How we talk to ourselves about what we do makes a difference in how we approach our jobs at the library. Not everyone has the ability, inclination, or outside support to make themselves a “rockstar librarian,” and that is not their fault (or necessarily a bad thing). “Vocational awe,” a library labor buzzword, persists, as does its effects on morale and sustainability. Using my own experiences and research, with a nod to “slow librarianship,” I will propose that our labor is morally neutral (also not a bad thing!), and give ideas for how we can maintain our careers and our sense of purpose at our jobs without contributing more to our own burnout.

On Complex Systems of Power

Tim Furgal
Taylor Roylance

Libraries exists within complex systems – of power, of funding, of injustice, of government, of community. In this talk, I will discuss the Pathways to Librarianship IMLS Research Grant with Syracuse University and the New York Library Association, whose aim is to build a foundational understanding of barriers that people of marginalized identities face in the library profession, in order to develop and pilot meaningful innovations across state and local systems, and how to engage with complex systems to create change. The talk will draw upon principles from social impact design, mechanism design, social choice theory, the presenters’ lived experiences, and their work related to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

From an Inferno to a Campfire: Leading with Love in Teen Services

Alexandria Armstrong
Symone Edwards
Amber R Loveless

The staff at Queensboro Hill have faced threats, fights, and every type of insult from teenagers. Yet, we are dedicated to creating a safe and welcoming space for all teens. Annually we greet a new cohort of teens from the local high school and hit reset on all we did the previous year to build relations. We constantly evolve and reassess to meet needs.  The pandemic greatly affected teens’ social development and ability to cope. School year 22-23 has been particularly difficult with fights occurring multiple times a week, rampant marijuana use clouding teens’ judgment, and complaints from adult patrons. Join us to learn how we approached the problems, tried out solutions, and ultimately provided teens with the care they needed to realize the library is more than just a place to kill time before the next fight. 

Decentering Gatekeeping, Whiteness, and Racism in Academic Publishing: A Panel Discussion by BIPOC Library Workers

Raymond Pun
Nicollette Davis

Patrice Green

In this panel discussion, we share how academic publishing for library workers has been constant and unnecessary hurdles and harm. These hurdles and burdens include interrogation, mixed messages, systemic racism, and gatekeeping from white peer reviewers and editors, and reinforcement of imposter syndrome towards Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) authors related to equity, diversity, and inclusion in the profession. This session highlights systemic issues within the academic publishing world for library workers and calls out how editorial boards and publishing need to do better and decenter whiteness, gatekeeping, and racism. The panel discussion is not meant to dissuade anyone from publishing but rather highlight the harm that may come from this activity, usually required from academic institutions/employers. We share our perspectives to address and dismantle these issues within academic publishing. If we must burn down the system and start over, then that is the path to consider.

Making Sense of Mindful Initiatives in Libraries

Megan Schadlich
Stephen Jackson
Kymberlee Powe
Wendy Stephens

Join our panel to discuss what’s currently being done to support communities in becoming more mindful. We’ll hear from researchers, content creators, and librarians who are hard baking mindful practices into their library’s core principals through staff trainings, meaningful programming, nontraditional lending initiatives, policy updates, and even driving documents (think mission statements, strategic plans, etc.).

We’ll explore activities and strategies you can begin employing immediately to improve your own mindfulness in your personal practice of librarianship, in your organization, and beyond the walls of your library to enact true and positive change for your community.

We’ll have time for questions, to paw through some nontraditional lending items, and to explore mindfulness together in a safe learning environment.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Burns Bright!

Matt Amory

Crushing Student Loan debt loads sap energy and morale for every librarian. The Administration continues to make it easier and more manageable for public servants to erase that debt through Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Arbitrary rules in place since 2007 made it maddeningly difficult for many to qualify for PSLF. But is now possible to consolidate ineligible loans without starting back at zero, and many other previously disqualified payments will count as well. 99.999% of librarians are eligible, so it pays to learn more!

The Library is Open: Encouraging Gossip in the Archives

Dani Stompor

Rumor, gossip, and tea have long served as crucial counter-narratives for queer people to preserve a sense of the past and present. Gossip is juicy. It can be sweet or bitter, and tends to accumulate around artifacts like journals, correspondence, prose– objects that often find their ways into an archive. To work toward building LGBTQ students’ sense of “representational belonging” in our collections, the Special Collections and Archives (SCA) at Queens College is working with current students to reactivate the club journals of student activists from 1987-2017. From exploring new ways to describe collections to throwing journaling parties to producing staged readings of the journals, SCA and our student collaborators are reimagining how to queer the archives and care for the fragile past.

Discussion Groups

Censorship and Staff Abuse

Library workers across the country are facing increased abuse and challenges to the basic tenants of our work connecting communities with the information they need. Join this guided discussion to talk about your experiences, how you have handled them, and to both teach and learn from each other.

Serving Asylum Seekers

The influx of asylum seekers from the southern border has put a strain on our social services and public space, and at the same time, library workers are being prevented from serving our new neighbors by red tape and bureaucratic gate keeping. Share your successes and brainstorm ideas for how we can serve this new population of patrons in this discussion group.