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ForwardFocus Conference : 2016

ForwardFocus 2016

This year's theme was Strength in Numbers:

Working Together to Achieve Success. 

This year’s theme, Strength in Numbers: working together to achieve success focuses on the power of partnerships to facilitate problem solving.  Join us this year as we explore how collaboration helps improve library services, strengthen collections, manage change, and fuel advocacy efforts.  

Conference Dates: September 16, 2016 @ Illinois Central College -North Campus, Peoria, IL

Schedule of Events

2016 Schedule

The Future of the 21st Century Library

Maria Emerson & TJ Urbanski, Lewis University

9:00 a.m.

Seed-Planting: Using Data to Develop the Library Collection

Elizabeth Nelson, McHenry County College

10:30 a.m.

They Said What? Designing and Implementing an Ethnographic Study for Your Library

Laura Burt-Nicholas & Derrick Willis, College of DuPage

12:30 a.m.

Extreme Makeover: Library Assessment Edition

Dr. Sarah Parlier, Amy Glass, and Bryan Clark, Illinois Central College

1:30 p.m.

World Domination (In the Workplace): Managing the Management and the Minions

Rachel Fuller, Director of Library Media Services, Rochester Community Unit School District #3A

2:45 p.m.

Session Descriptions


Maria Emerson & TJ Urbanski, Lewis University

The 21st century academic library has been evolving over the last decade. What are some of the issues that accompany these changes? How are we working to reach all students successfully? Are there differences within different types of academic libraries, and if so, what do those differences look like? Come for a discussion on identifying key issues in academic libraries and what we can do to address them. 


Maria Emerson is the Public Service Librarian at Lewis University. Maria graduated in 2014 with her MLIS degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before that, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and International Studies from Hope College, in Holland, Michigan. Maria is interested in diversity in academic libraries, working with underrepresented populations, and the emerging trends and changes in academic libraries today.  


Elizabeth Nelson, McHenry County College

Developing a collection is more than acquiring resources for students to use today, but planting the seeds for the collection of the future. McHenry County College (MCC) has started using data from the program review process, circulation statistics, and enrollment numbers to create a picture of the collection and how it addresses student needs - now and into the future. This session will focus on MCC's philosophy behind seed-planting and data-driven decision making in collection management.


Elizabeth Nelson, Cataloging & Collection Development Librarian at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, IL, obtained her MLIS from Dominican University in 2007 and her MA from the University of Nebraska Kearney in 2014. Prior to her current position she spent seven years as a special librarian working on knowledge management and knowledge sharing projects, and also worked as a reference and instruction librarian. Elizabeth has written for Library Leadership & ManagementInformation Outlook, and College & Undergraduate Libraries and she reviews books and audiobooks for Library Journal, Booklist, and AudioFile.


Laura Burt-Nicholas and Derrick Willis, College of DuPage

Derrick and Laura will lead a workshop focused on how to run an ethnographic research study in your library. The presentation will summarize the structure, results, and materials used in a study conducted at COD library. Workshop participants will learn how to conduct studies at their own institution, including formulating research questions, involving key campus stakeholders, and approximating the costs involved in conducting this research. 


Laura Burt-Nicholas is the Science Librarian at the College of DuPage.  In her work as the chair of the library’s Public Services Committee, she works to foster a sense of community among the students, faculty, staff, and community members who use the library. 


Derrick Willis is an Associate Professor of Anthropology. He was trained at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. His area of expertise is in applied anthropology, specifically, Medical and Business Anthropology and the African Diaspora. He is the advisor of the student Anthropology club. He has presented papers at various professional conferences and community forums.

He recently chaired a panel of presenters at the Society for Applied Anthropologists in March of 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The other presenters on this panel were his students from his Methods class. He is constantly looking for ways to help his students apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to the real world in which they live.


Sarah Parlier, Amy Glass, and Bryan Clark, Illinois Central College

ICC Librarians share their experiences designing two different assessments of the effectiveness of library instruction. Their questions during the first project led them to partner with co-chairs of the college’s Assessment Committee to redefine and restructure their assessment process. Now, as they begin their second project with a new focus and clarified objectives, they will share how working across the college rebuilt their assessment from the ground up.  Presenters will provide details of what went wrong in the first project and share strategies for designing a successful assessment project.


Dr. Sarah A. Parlier is a composition professor in the English, Humanities, and Language Studies department at Illinois Central College and teaches developmental and transfer level composition and humanities courses for students in transfer and applied science degree programs.  Sarah also serves as the Co-Chair of the college’s Assessment of Student Learning Committee, a joint-advisory committee consisting of faculty, staff, and administration from across the college.  The Assessment Committee is responsible for facilitating, reviewing, and improving assessment processes at the course, program, co-curricular, and institutional level.  Sarah has coordinated three General Education assessment projects, assisted with the development of the college’s new program and co-curricular assessment processes, and been a faculty leader in two course level assessment initiatives. Sarah is also involved at the college as a faculty mentor, as Secretary for Faculty Forum, and as a faculty consultant in the college’s writing center. 


Amy Glass is a Reference Librarian at Illinois Central College, with much of her focus on information literacy instruction.  She is a member of ICC’s Assessment Committee, and recently was part of the college’s two year assessment of ICC’s general education goal for information literacy.  She is also the chair of NILRC’s Information Literacy Committee.  Her journey in information literacy assessment began with the selection of ICC as part of ACRL’s “Assessment in Action” program in 2013-14.


Bryan Clark is the Technical Services Librarian at Illinois Central College where he oversees Technical Services and Archives.  Aside from his daily tasks, he also co-chairs the library's Instruction Committee, and is a member of both the college-wide Assessment Committee and college-wide Adjunct Faculty Committee.  He serves on the NILRC Information Literacy Committee and just finished serving on the CARLI Resource Sharing Committee.  He was recently appointed to the ACRL Status of Academic Librarians Standards and Guidelines Task Force.  He received his MLIS from the University of Illinois in 2007.


Rachel Fuller, Director of Library Media Services, Rochester Community Unit School District #3A  

This session will discuss concepts to consider and strategies to employ when presenting a new initiative, persuading for a special interest project, or implementing a new policy.  Hone your ability to see the "big picture" in your work environment by taking an objective look at scenarios.  And, by discussing possible courses of action, improve your ability to consider the perspective of all stakeholders.  Whether you are a member of management, a minion, or someone who falls somewhere in-between (hello, middle management!), this session will provide actionable steps to help in your quest for world domination (in the workplace). 


As the Director of Library Media Services, Rachel Fuller manages five school libraries serving students in grades k-12 at Rochester CUSD #3A. Ms. Fuller serves on the Illinois Heartland Library System Board of Directors and is a member of the Abraham Lincoln Book Award Reading Selection Committee.  In 2016, she received Rochester’s Licensed Support Professional of the Year award.   In her spare time, Rachel enjoys knitting and running.