Program Information

Conference Schedule: 

8:30 – 8:45  Welcome and Introduction
8:45 – 10:00 Keynote Address
10:00 – 10:15 Break
10:15 – 11:15 Breakout Sessions
11:15 – 11:30 Break
11:30 – 12:30 Breakout Sessions
12:30 – 12:45 Break
12:45 – 1:15 EBSCO Presentation and Closing Remarks


Our Keynote:

Real People in a Digital Landscape: Students’ Use of Academic Technology

Maura Smale, Professor and Chief Librarian, New York City College of Technology and Faculty in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy and Digital Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center

Mariana Regalad, Professor and Head of Reference, Brooklyn College

Description: Even before the pandemic, digital technology had become integral to higher education, incorporated into teaching, student support, and operations. Our busy undergraduates bring prior experiences with technology with them to college. We also know that our students encounter barriers to learning and connecting with digital technologies, challenges that the pandemic has only exacerbated.

Drawing on more than a decade of research on the lived experiences of CUNY undergraduates, we explore the affordances of digital technology in our students’ academic lives and the barriers they encounter, both on campus and off, especially in information literacy instruction. In reflecting on the ways that students use technology both before and since the pandemic, we can consider strategies for bridging gaps to mitigate technological constraints, and develop new ways to use current and future educational technology to support student success.

Keynote Bios: Maura Smale is professor and chief librarian at New York City College of Technology and faculty in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy and Digital Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center, and Mariana Regalado is professor and head of reference at Brooklyn College.

For more than a decade Maura and Mariana have been engaged in ongoing multi-campus research into the daily experience of undergraduates at the City University of New York. In 2017, they published Digital Technology as Affordance and Barrier in Higher Education, exploring the ways CUNY students use technology in their academic work. Their 2018 book, Academic Libraries for Commuter Students: Research-based Strategies brings together librarians’ and researchers’ studies into the experiences of commuter students in libraries at public colleges and universities around the U.S. Maura and Mariana’s ongoing research continues to inform their library work – impacting decisions about space, technology, research instruction, and more – and offers valuable insights on the student experience for college and university librarians, administrators, faculty, and staff.


Breakout Sessions: 10:15 - 11:15

A. What does this meme? Combining media and information literacy to recognize misinformation in memes

Renée R. Fratantonio, Instruction and Research Services Librarian, Fitchburg State University

Description: By combining aspects of media literacy with information literacy, librarians can empower students to take control of their daily information consumption. This presentation and workshop will teach librarians strategies for deconstructing memes to recognize methods of persuasion in meme culture and identify claims that can be fact checked. Assumptions made about students and their ability to mindfully use Web 2.0 technologies can be detrimental to the development of information literacy skills. This presentation will cover aspects of social justice and information privilege present in daily information and media consumption and argue for more expansive approaches to information literacy instruction.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this session, attendees will be able to define a meme, identify platforms where students encounter memes, understand the effects of incidental information exposure, and apply information literacy skills to everyday misinformation problems.

Speaker Bio: Renée Fratantonio (she/her/hers) is the Instruction and Research Services librarian at Fitchburg State University, coordinator of the instruction program, and co-chair of the university’s Undergraduate Research Conference. She has devoted much of her energy as professional to mis/disinformation and recently completed (May 2021) a second masters in applied communication with a concentration in social media.


B. Bridging the Digital Divide: Onboarding Students with a Tech-Skills Ramp-Up Program

Jarrod Borek, Director of Information Technology, Quinebaug Valley Community College
June Dunn, Associate Dean of Student Outreach & Enhanced Learning, Quinebaug Valley Community College
Nina Hernandez, Student, Quinebaug Valley Community College
M'lyn Hines, Director of Library Services, Quinebaug Valley Community College
Patrick Keller, Campus Director of Institutional Research, Quinebaug Valley Community College and Three Rivers Community College

Fyiane Nsilo-Swai, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Quinebaug Valley Community College

Description: This workshop will present a case study of QVCC’s experience creating a tech-skills onboarding program, designed to supplement a device-lending initiative begun in response to the pandemic. In 2020 several campus units collaborated to provide devices to students who otherwise would not have been able to complete the spring semester after campus closure. Subsequently, two surveys distributed to students in August and December informed expansion of this device-lending program, but anecdotal evidence suggested device access alone was not sufficiently addressing the digital divide.  As noted in the literature, the extent to which students’ prior access to and experience of technology prepares them for the software and application skills necessary to academic success is widely varied. QV Librarians responded by developing an onboarding program for all device borrowers. Essential to the program is its one-on-one, strengths-based approach combined with personal follow-up that encourages additional tech-skills sessions and welcomes student queries.  

Learning Objectives: Workshop will address survey data, logistics, program content, lessons learned, and outcomes.  Workshop participants will leave with:

  • A guide to how we engaged campus stakeholders in a multi-pronged student outreach campaign;
  • A guide to how we gathered quantitative and qualitive data to identity our “Tech Skills Ramp Up” learning objectives;
  • A case summary including: specific onboarding learning objectives; the methods and logistics of both instruction and follow-up (on-ground and virtually); data on sessions and outcomes.
  • Lessons learned – don’t make these mistakes!
  • Happy surprises – positive outcomes we didn’t anticipate

Speaker Bios: 

Jarrod Borek, D.B.A., Director of Information Technology, QVCC, and an adjunct faculty member. He chairs the CIO Steering Committee for the CT Board of Regents of Higher Education and at QV he oversees network reliability, desktop support, quality assurance, security and updates, classroom technology, and telecommunications.  His team played a critical role in device and software acquisition, configuration, and support for the onboarding program. 

June Dunn, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Student Outreach & Enhanced Learning, QVCC, directing all advising and supportive services. Dr. Dunn is a campus leader in equity work, building initiatives that promote success for underserved students; her work also includes developing partnerships with local school districts, businesses, and community agencies to enhance student success. Her team provided critical outreach to students regarding the device and onboarding program. 

Nina Hernandez, Student, QVCC, completing her prerequisites with the goals of transferring to a four-year institution and becoming a registered nurse. Nina borrowed library devices and participated in the onboarding program that is the subject of this workshop. 

M'lyn Hines, M.L.I.S., Director of Library Services, QVCC, serves as the library’s liaison to the IT Department, Student Services, Marketing, IR, and other key collaborators in the device lending and onboarding program, and was co-lead in the development of the program. Her prior positions include reference and instruction librarian at QV and experience as a school library media specialist. 

Patrick Keller, M.S., Campus Director of Institutional Research, QVCC and Three Rivers Community College, has expertise in data mining and plays a key role on the campus team implementing 'Achieving the Dream.' He contributed research, deployed, and analyzed student surveys that informed the device and software onboarding program. His prior work includes teaching, test proctoring, and service as an assistant registrar. 

Fyiane Nsilo-Swai, M.L.I.S., Reference & Instruction Librarian, QVCC, coordinates all aspects of reference services and the information literacy program, on-ground and online, and was co-lead in the development of the onboarding program that is the focus of this workshop. Prior positions include faculty librarian at Tallahassee Community College; she co-authored a chapter in the 2018 ACRL Book, "Undergraduate Research and the Academic Librarian: Case Studies and Best Practices." 


C. Are You a Student Here? Helping Information Seekers from Across the World Through LibChat

Diana Hellyar, STEM Librarian, Southern Connecticut State University

Parker Fruehan, Systems Librarian, Southern Connecticut State University

Description: When campus closed at Southern CT State University, Librarians swapped the LibChat button on the homepage to a pop-up button across all library pages. Something unexpected happened with this change. Not only did chat traffic increase among people affiliated with SCSU but we also started seeing people from all over the world use our chat. Librarians started to figure out how to identify these patrons and to help them locate the resources they needed. In this presentation, we will show how these patrons are finding the library chat, share statistics about these users, explain how librarians approached these reference questions, and discuss what these specific cases might say about the digital divide and access to professional research assistance across the world.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn:

  • Tricks to identifying if a patron may not be affiliated with your institution.
  • How you might be able to increase traffic to your own library chat to help a wider range of patron types.
  • How to approach these reference questions without relying on your institution’s resources.

Speaker Bios: Diana Hellyar is the STEM Librarian at Southern Connecticut State University and is the subject liaison to the departments of Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Science, Mathematics, and Physics. She has an MLIS from Simmons University. 

Parker Fruehan has been the Systems Librarian at Southern Connecticut State University since 2017, with experience in managing library technology for 8 years. He has an MLIS from Florida State University. He enjoys living in the Naugatuck Valley with his family and pets.


Breakout Sessions: 11:30 - 12:30

D. Virtual Space to Grow: Information Literacy, Social and Emotional Learning, and FYE

Jenna Stebbins, Reference/Instruction Librarian, Naugatuck Valley Community College

Description: In 2020, librarians at Naugatuck Valley Community College were tasked with converting the standard library instruction that is required for all FYE students to the online environment. In this transition to virtual instruction, teaching foundational information literacy concepts was equally as important as encouraging social and emotional learning through communicating with peers and recognizing when and how to ask for help as they worked through a problem. The lesson also needed to allow time and space for students to adjust to the e-learning environment. Ultimately, half of the lesson was devoted to hands-on searching and small group discussion with librarian and instructor support throughout the activity. The lesson was also designed to be fully accessible outside of the live class time so that students who could not attend would be able to experience the same content as their peers. The result was a successful year of virtual FYE Library instruction through the use of interactive tutorials, pre-recorded videos, live demonstrations, breakout discussion groups, and an online assessment.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to

  • Incorporate collaboration and active learning into virtual library instruction.
  • Effectively use tools like Blackboard Collaborate, LibWizard tutorials, and LibGuides to create an accessible virtual library instruction experience.

Speaker Bio: Jenna Stebbins is a Reference/Instruction Librarian at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, CT. She has played an active role in instruction design and assessment for the FYE Library program since 2016.


E. Information Literacy via Digital Scholarship: Mapping the Framework to Demonstrate Benefits of Digital Scholarship for College Students of All Levels

Janelle Bitters, Systems and Technical Services Librarian, Raritan Valley College

Description: Community college students often lack access to robust library resources and personnel available at four-year institutions. This inequitable distribution may lead to limited understanding of information literacy concepts or reduced enthusiasm for library services. Introducing students to digital scholarship tools and techniques can improve their digital literacy and empower them to explore topics of interest using non-traditional materials and methods. This presentation will demonstrate how information literacy concepts can be taught with digital scholarship platforms by mapping the ACRL framework onto behaviors and attitudes developed by users of these tools. These platforms, like Voyant and Omeka, are free web-based platforms that require only a computer and internet access, further breaking down barriers. With a focus on process over product, emphasis on reflection and collaboration, and room to make mistakes or try something new, digital scholarship techniques allow inexperienced students to safely participate in scholarly conversations and improve their digital literacy.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to introduce students and colleagues to digital scholarship platforms, describe how information literacy is improved through the use digital scholarship techniques, and explain why it is crucial that all college students have access to and support for digital scholarship methods.

Speaker Bio: Janelle Bitter is the Systems and Technical Services Librarian at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, NJ, where she also teaches information literacy, provides reference services, performs collection development, and oversees the college archives. Prior to coming to RVCC, she held a similar role at Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ. She is interested in increasing faculty collaboration and student success through advocacy of and support for digital scholarship methods. She earned her MS in Library and Information Science at Pratt Institute and holds a Master of Music from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College.


F. Walking the Tight-Rope over the Digital Divide: Supporting Transfer and International College Students

Alicia Vaandering, Student Success Librarian, University of Rhode Island

Meagan Joseph, Public Service Librarian, Bryant University

Description: Over the past year, the pandemic has further illuminated the barriers of the digital divide with the increase in remote learning, services, and programming.  The pandemic has also highlighted the unique challenges that the digital divide poses for underserved college populations.  While many students have access to technology through their institutions, they continue to struggle with the digital divide in respect to usability and empowerment, which can lead to a lack of confidence in engaging with college-level research.  This presentation will examine how we adapted instruction and programming for transfer students and international students to support student learning and the development of digital skills while facing the challenges and uncertainties of the pandemic. 

Learning Objectives: To identify the unique challenges that the digital divide poses for international students and transfer students at colleges and universities. To demonstrate how librarians can meet the digital needs of underserved students through targeted tools, programming, and instruction.

Speaker Bios: Alicia Vaandering is the Student Success Librarian at the University of Rhode Island where she supports the learning and research of students, with an emphasis on undergraduate first-year, international, first-generation, and transfer students.  She completed her M.L.I.S. and M.A. in history at the University of Rhode Island.

Meagan Joseph is the Public Services Librarian at Bryant University. In her role she works with transfer students and freshman writing seminars. She completed her M.L.I.S at the University of Rhode Island.


Ebsco Presentation:

From Library Analytics to Learning Analytics

John McDonald, Director of Product Management for Analytics & Assessment, EBSCO Information Services

Description: Robust analytics and new ways of leveraging statistics are poised to become a transformative force in libraries as we are continually re-evaluating how we invest in our people, systems, and services. Some libraries have begun to invest in tools and methods of collecting data that are helping them to connect user interactions with library systems & services, and sometimes with overall patron success outcomes. Moving from simple descriptive statistics to correlations and connections between input, output, and outcomes measures can paint a more detailed picture of how the library contributes to the University’s educational mission. .Join EBSCO product management to learn about how we are thinking innovatively about how library data could and should be used and developing tools that enable librarians to gain greater insights into how their users are engaging with their libraries, librarians, and collections & services.

Speaker Bio: John McDonald currently serves as the Director of Product Management for Analytics & Assessment for EBSCO Information Services. He leads the development of products that help libraries and librarians to better understand their users, their usage, and the value of their collections & services. Just released, EBSCO newest product, Panorama, is designed as a library-centric modern analytics platform that provides librarians with a robust tool to connect disparate user engagement and usage data with output and outcomes data enabling new insights. Prior to EBSCO, John was the Associate Dean for Collections at the University of Southern California Libraries. Prior positions include serving as Chief Information Officer and Library Director for the Claremont Colleges and as Acquisitions Librarian at Caltech. John’s professional background in higher education and library management spans more than 20 years and his research has focused on collection development and information usage behaviors, with a focus on statistical analysis of data. He was the co-editor of the fourth edition of the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences. John holds a Bachelor of Science in History and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In his free time he enjoys baseball, brewing beer, making fermented hot sauces, and entertaining his teenager and their very big & sweet dog.


Questions? Please contact us at [email protected]