Meeting/Event Information



Welcoming Innovation with CLASS: CLA Support Staff Professional Development Conference 2017
This conference is an opportunity for library support staff to learn new skills and to network with fellow support staff members from throughout the state.
University of Hartford, Harry Jack Gray Center
200 Bloomfield Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06117




Welcoming Innovation with CLASS:

CLASS Professional Development Conference 2017


Gray Conference Center

University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT

Friday, October 27, 2017

8:30 am-3:30 pm


UPDATE: The workshop "Networking Your Net Worth (formerly known an Building the Village, Part II)" and the Diversity/Programming Roundtable have unfortunately been canceled. Registrants who initially made these programs their first choices may go their second choice or any other session. We apologize for the inconvenience. 

8:30-9:00 am   Breakfast and Registration


9:00-9:15 am   Conference Opening

Opening Remarks from CLASS: Alberto Cifuentes, Jr., Chair and CLASS Conference Coordinator

Opening Remarks from the Connecticut Library Association: Glenn Grube, CLA President    

Opening Remarks from the University of Hartford: Randi Ashton-Pritting, Director of University Libraries


9:15-10 am   Morning Keynote Speaker – Maxine Bleiweis, Library Innovation Consultant, Maxine Bleiweis & Associates, LLC

Anyone Can Be Innovative!

Learn how you can make a difference like never before in your library no matter what your title! You will be taken through a series of tips to enhance your work-life that you can immediately put into practice. Hear about ways to be innovative in each interaction you have -- and have fun while doing it!


10-10:15 am   Coffee Break


10:15-11:15 am    Library Roundtable Discussions (choose one)            

(1)  Academic Libraries with David Vrooman, J. Eugene Smith Library, Eastern Connecticut State University

(2) Children’s/Young Adult with Beth Crowley, Scranton Memorial Library  

(3) Customer Service with Maxine Bleiweis, Maxine Bleiweis & Associates, LLC                       

(4) ILL/Resource Sharing with Karen Carey, Russell Library

(5) [RECENTLY ADDED] Office Administration with Janet Valencis, West Hartford Public Library    

(6) Reference with Andrew J. Fal, Howard Whittemore Memorial Library

(7) Technology/Technical Services with Dana Hanford, Elihu Burritt Library, Central Connecticut State University


11:15-11:30 am   Coffee Break


11:30 am-12:30 pm   Breakout Session I (choose one)


    1A. Everyday Innovation

What does “innovation” mean to you? Breakthrough products or cutting-edge technology? Imagine if innovation could be built into daily life and achieved by anyone in an organization! Come hear the Connecticut Library Consortium (CLC) team share their tips, strategies, and real-life examples of how to be Everyday Innovators. We’ll talk about challenges like not coming from a library background; being the new kid on the block; and getting your “great idea” heard, embraced, and turned into a working plan.

Presented by Jennifer Keohane, Executive Director, Connecticut Library Consortium (CLC)


    1B.  Highlighting Your Local Collections in a Digital World

Do you have local historical records that you would like to highlight? Do you want to engage users both in print and online? Come to our talk and we will share with you some simple, practical ways to make your collections accessible in a digital format. Please bring some samples or descriptions of the collections you would like to highlight.

Presented by Tara Hurt, University Archivist/Head of Archives & Special Collections, and Deb Simpson, Archives Assistant, Eastern Connecticut State University


    1C.  Mindfulness in the Workplace

This relaxing and informative workshop with introduce you to mindful meditation. You will learn many different ways to seamlessly integrate mindfulness into your daily work routine. Mindfulness can bring vast benefits to the workplace including reducing workplace stress, anxiety, enhancing productivity and mental well-being.

Presented by Meredith Yuhas, Director, Counseling and Wellness Center, University of St. Joseph


12:30-1:30 pm   Buffet Lunch (included) and Special Announcements


1:30-2:15 pm    Afternoon Keynote Speakers – Jean Baur, author, and Bella, therapy dog extraordinaire

Joy Unleashed:

Lessons from an Unlikely Therapy Dog

Jean Baur, author of Joy Unleashed: The Story of Bella, the Unlikely Therapy Dog, will share what happened when she and her husband adopted a high-energy puppy from Dead Dog Beach in Puerto Rico. Bella is a dog who needed a job, and after trying agility, they discovered that they both loved being a therapy dog team. Jean will share stories of the ways Bella has touched so many lives, including her work with special needs children and hospital, cancer center, and rehab patients. Come meet Bella, and give her a treat.


2:15-2:30 pm   Break


2:30-3:30 pm   Breakout Session II (choose one)


    2A.  Grab Your Fake News!

Maybe fake news has always been there. Learn about the historical connections between fake news and propaganda and explore some contemporary examples. There will be both a presentation and an interactive component.

Presented by David Vrooman, Information Literacy Librarian, Eastern Connecticut State University


    2B. Innovate to Elevate!

Continuing to grow and learn in your career will not only keep your job fresh and exciting. It can also lead to advancement opportunities and higher paying jobs. Beth Crowley, who worked her way up the career ladder from library aide to library director, will share how library support staff can “innovate to elevate” by building on current skill sets to expand job responsibilities or achieve promotions.

Presented by Beth Crowley, Director, Scranton Memorial Library


     2C. Laugh for the Health of It

Hasya Yoga, also known as Laughter Yoga Exercise, is one of the easiest and most effective forms of yoga. Laughter releases hormones and chemicals within the body. These hormones reduce negative emotions of stress and tension, lower high blood pressure, and boost the immune system, which are some of the many health benefits of laughter. Laughter is the gentlest form of exercise. When you practice laughter yoga, you will find every inch of your body vibrating with your laughter.

Presented by Heidi Viener, certified Laughter Yoga Instructor, Toivo Center 


    2D. Library Origami

Learn basic origami folding techniques and create simple things you can use at your library. You will go back to work with some fun items to use and share. No experience necessary!

Presented by Janet Valencis, Office Operations Specialist, West Hartford Public Library



Cost of the program (includes refreshments and lunch):




Registration required by October 20, 2017. No walk-in registrations will be admitted the day of the conference. Space is limited so don't delay! 


Refund Policy: If you are unable to attend the conference, you may transfer your admission to someone else; we cannot provide a refund.


Directions to the University of Hartford:


Campus Map: --- The Harry Jack Gray Center is building #15 (the large U-shaped building).



Conference attendees must park in Lot F (Lot C if full). Anyone with a valid handicap permit may park in any handicap space or any non-reserved space in any lot. Parking permits are available for download on our registration page at from the document list below the CLASS logo. Please print the permit before the event and display it on your vehicle's dashboard.


If you need a special accommodation, please contact at least two weeks prior to the conference.


If you would like a Word or pdf format version of the registration form and/or to register by mail, or if you have questions about payment, contact Janet Valencis, Secretary of CLASS, at

Future Meetings

July 10, 2018

CLA Public Libraries Committee Meeting

July 10, 2018
10:00 AM EDT - 12:00 PM EDT

Ora Mason Library
260 Benham Hill Rd.
West Haven, CT 06516

Come help us plan the Public Libraries Fall Meetup