Meeting/Event Information

2018 CLA Support Staff (CLASS) Annual Conference


October 26, 2018 | 8:30 AM EDT - 3:30 PM EDT
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Manchester Community College | 60 Bidwell Street
Manchester, CT 06040


CLASS Professional Development Conference 2018


Manchester Community College

Arts, Sciences & Technology Center Building

Friday, October 26, 2018

8:30 am-3:30 pm



8:30-9:00 am                   Coffee and Registration


9:00-9:15 am                   Conference Opening


Opening Remarks from CLASS: Carolann Slayton and Samantha Partney, Conference Co-Chairs

  • Opening Remarks from the Connecticut Library Association:Kate Byroade, President
  • Opening Remarks from Manchester Community College
  • 9:15-10:00 am Morning Keynote Speaker - Rachel Leventhal-Weiner, Data Engagement Specialist, Connecticut Data Collaborative


"More Than Just Books: Telling the WHOLE Data Story"

Librarians have always been information brokers and libraries have always been open spaces where residents could find answers to their questions. Public libraries are doing more than ever with fewer resources. Libraries serve as social hubs, job training centers, and early childhood spaces, providing basic information, access to technology, and a safe, warm space for residents across the state. And yet, the way librarians measure impact does not capture the breadth and depth of the work underway. An educator, advocate and researcher, Rachel Leventhal-Weiner PhD is a Data Engagement Specialist at the Connecticut Data Collaborative She draws on her experiences coaching nonprofit organizations across the state and offers a new view on the data stories libraries need to tell to capture local hearts and minds. 


10:00-10:15 am              Coffee Break


10:15-11:00 am              Library RoundTable Discussions (choose one)


(1) Programming with Jennifer Bartlett, Manchester Public Library

(2) Customer Service with Beth Crowley, Cheshire Public Library

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

(4) Children's/Young Adult with Kari Ann St. Jean, Avon Public Library

(5) Statistics with Rachel Leventhal-Weiner, Connecticut Data Collaborative

(6) Reference with Andrew J. Fal, Elihu Burritt Library, Central Connecticut State University


11:00-11:15 am               Coffee Break


11:15-12:15 pm               Breakout Session 1 (choose one)


1A: Structures in Storytelling

Introduction to the dramatic and epic cycles of story structure with examples from familiar stories and movies.  Learn how to take the epic cycle structure and apply it to your own lives or to a movie you like.  Audience participation is encouraged. 

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


1B: Flipping Some Pages and Pushing Some Cubes- Gaming At Your Library

In recent years there has been an enormous increase in modern tabletop gaming, especially in libraries. With more and more people looking for ways to unplug from their screens, board games are an excellent, educational, and social way to cut electronic time. Gameification is a hot-topic phrase in libraries right now, and Bartlett will tell her story about gaming at Manchester Public Library. Join Bartlett as she gives a brief story on her experience with Silk City Board Game Group, a group she runs for adults, as well as her experience circulating more than 250 board games. 

Presented by Jennifer Bartlett, Head of Reference at Manchester Public Library and coordinator of the Silk City Board Game Group


1C: Meet the Makerspace

Makerspaces and technology centers are increasingly popping up in libraries. It's important for communities to have access to these resources so they can stay ahead of the curve in our fast changing society. Join Rebecca Livaich and Marc Peterson as they tell the story of the East Hartford Public Library Makerspace. They will cover how the makerspace started, the resources available for public use and programming in the makerspace. There will be samples of projects and a green screen demonstration. 

Presented by Mark Pettersen, Makerspace Associate and Rebecca Livaich, Makerspace Librarian from the East Hartford Public Library


1D: Data Storytelling Bootcamp

In this breakout session, we will cover best practices in data storytelling. Data storytelling is the marriage of data visualization and data reporting and in this breakout we will discuss the elements of compelling data stories and how librarians can employ some simple strategies in their work to tell their own data stories.

Presented by Rachel Leventhal-Weiner, PhD,  Data Engagement Specialist at the Connecticut Data Collaborative. 


1E:  Get In The Story!

Learn some tips on storytelling techniques and explain how telling a story is different from reading a story, and can help children with emergent literacy skills.   Participants will hear and tell stories.  They will experience how a story changes depending on who is telling it and who they are telling it to.  They will take their own artful journey into the oral tradition by playing with folk tales and their own personal stories.  

Presented by Ann Shapiro, Executive Director at the Connecticut Storytelling Center


12:15-1:30 pm              Buffet Lunch and Small Vendor Fair (vendors will be providing information and/or items for purchase)


  • 1:30-2:15 pm Afternoon Keynote Speaker -  Dr Raouf Mama, Eastern Connecticut State University professor, and an award-winning storyteller and author of international renown. 


"Storytelling:  A journey and a Joining--Talking to Each Other about Each Other"

Dr. Mama is a distinguished Professor of English and bestselling author of Pourquoi Le Bouc Sent Mauvais,” and winner of the 2008 National Multicultural Children's Book Award for Why Monkeys Live in Trees. Dr. Mama is the only one in the world today who tells in English, French, Yoruba and Fon folktales from his native Benin and from other parts of the world.  Both entertaining and inspirational, Dr. Mama's style of presentation blends stories with poetry, music and dance. He will take his audience on a journey of exploration and reflection on the humanizing virtues of storytelling and its power to entertain, to instruct and to inspire.  Come and listen with your inner ears, for only then will you hear the “roar on the other side of silence.”   


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


2A: Aren’t You All Volunteers?: How to tell the story of the value of library staff to those that matter!

Anyone who has worked in a library for more than a minute has heard the amazement when a patron discovers staff are actually paid employees.  Dispelling the myth that the library is not a volunteer-run organization is important particularly when it comes to receiving adequate funding.  All staff, regardless of position, play a role in telling the story of the value of the library and its employees.  Learn how your day-to-day interactions with patrons and library decision-makers can help your town recognize the importance of having paid, well-trained, professional staff providing library service to residents.  This session will also give you strategies for how you can tell your story of the value of support staff to your peers, managers, and town officials.

Presented by Beth Crowley, Director, Cheshire Public Library


2B:  The Missing Piece

Most public libraries have a picture book, easy reader and juvenile fiction collections. I will introduce attendees to the missing pieces which most libraries do not circulate. Together we will understand the  importance of building a pre-reading collection for young children to help guide families across the bridge of ABC's and into the world of fluent reading.  Let's gain confidence and build expertise in the world of early reader's advisory!

Presented by Kari Ann St. Jean, Children’s and teen services manager , Avon Free Public Library, in Avon, Connecticut. 


2C: Uncovering Your Roots: Genealogy at the Connecticut Historical Society

The Connecticut Historical Society (CHS), located in Hartford, is a great place to start or continue research into your family history. Our collection includes printed genealogies, Connecticut town and city directories, local histories for New England and some non-New England states and various published vital records, church records, and cemetery inscriptions. Ilene Frank, Chief Curator and COO, will provide an introduction to the resources in CHS's Waterman Research Center and tips on how to best use historical resources when searching your family's history.

Presented by Ilene Frank, Chief Curator & COO at the Connecticut Historical Society


2D: Telling the Story of a Reference Librarian

There are quite a few interesting stories for librarians who work reference with the public or with university students. Having done both for about twenty years I will share the similarities and differences in both environments. Public library reference questions can be a challenge but in the academic environment students often ask questions that  involve detailed searches.  I will discuss how reference has evolved since the 1990's and possible future scenarios within the reference world for a story ilding on the past but also with future possibilities. 

Presented by Andrew J. Fal Reference Librarian, Central Connecticut State University


Cost of the program (includes refreshments and lunch):




Registration required by October 19, 2018. 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: Manchester Community College: 

Parking:  Conference attendees can park in the West Lot.


If you need a special accommodation, please contact [email protected] 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 [email protected]



$50.00 Cost of the program (includes refreshments and lunch): $50.00 FOR CURRENT CLA MEMBERS

$65.00 Cost of the program (includes refreshments and lunch): $65.00 FOR NON CLA MEMBERS

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