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ForwardFocus Conference : 2015

ForwardFocus 2015

The theme of this year's conference is Constructing Our Future:

Workplace Strategies for Community College Libraries.

Welcome to the fourth annual ForwardFocus Conference!
Our mission for ForwardFocus is to provide our librarian colleagues from community colleges with an atmosphere that showcases current projects, pilot projects, or out-of-the box ideas that have yet to take off. We hope the sessions you attend today inspire you to consider new services or think about a challenge you face at your institution in a different way.

Both On-Campus and Virtual Sessions were held. 

A pre-conference was held on November 5th, 2015. 

The on-site conference was held November 6th, 2015. 

The virtual conference was held November 13th, 2015. 

Schedule of Events

Schedule 2015

Pre-conference, Thursday, November 5th, 2015 at ICC, North Campus

In-Person Registration

12:45 p.m.

Libraries Count Data & Usage Project

1:00 p.m.

Using StrengthFinder 2.0 for Professional Development

2:00 p.m.

Networking Social and Dinner

5:00 p.m.

On-Site Conference, Friday, November 6th, 2015 at ICC, North Campus

In-Person Registration

8:15 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

Conference Kick-Off and Opening Remarks

Dr. Margaret Swanson, Interim Provost at Illinois Central College

8:45 a.m.

Constructing Our Future: A Panel Discussion on Redesigning Spaces and Rethinking Roles

Blake Walter, College of DuPage; Hannah Buckland, Leech Lake Tribal College; and, Erica Eynouf, Springfield Technical College

9:00 a.m.

Panel Question and Answer

10:00 a.m.


10:30 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions

How Can Help My Students?

Stephanie King, Illinois Valley Community College

10:45 a.m.

Creative Thinking Tools for Librarians

Becky Hodson, G.S.L.I.S., University of Illinois

10:45 a.m.

Reaching Under-Prepared Students

Michelle Nielsen Ott, Illinois Central College 

10:45 a.m.



Concurrent Sessions

The Singularity is Near (or is it?): Transitions in Libraries of the 21st Century

Dr. Dubravka Juraga, Triton College 

12:30 p.m.

E-Bibliographic Instruction: Teaching Resources in the One-Shot and Beyond

Kimberly Shotick, Northeastern Illinois University

12:30 p.m.

Assessment “Ain’t” a Dirty Word: Designing and Implementing Assessment Projects at Your Institution

Melvin Whitehead, Joliet Junior College

12:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

Shifting Staff Responsibilities to Meet Student Needs

Karen Becker, Kankakee Community College

1:15 p.m.

Copyright: Balancing Creativity and the Law

Alyce Scott, San Jose State University

1:15 p.m.


2:00 p.m.

Closing Session: Alleviate Writing Anxiety with Well-Timed Library Instruction and Required Research Appointments

Jennifer Swartout, Illinois Central College, and Randi Sutter, Heartland Community College 

2:15 p.m.

Session Descriptions

Libraries Count Data & Usage Project

1:00 pm

Higher education administrators are increasingly basing budget decisions on data related to measures of student success such as retention, GPA, etc. Librarians, however, struggle to collect meaningful data on student use of library resources. Through the Illinois State Library’s ILeadU program, team Make It Count is developing tools to help librarians collect and analyze data while maintaining patron privacy. Team Make It Count will share their tools at this session and ask for your feedback on making it better.

Using StrengthFinder 2.0 for Professional Development

2:00 pm

Join us for a session on StrengthsFinder 2.0™. All attendees will take the StrengthsFinder™ assessment and receive their results. The remainder of the session will focus on how to use the StrengthsFinder™ tool to create a more productive, collaborative, and positive workplace culture. This session will leave you with professional insight on how to enhance your own personal working style and provide fun ways to engage your staff in strengths based professional development.

Panel Description:

The theme of this year's panel is Constructing Our Future: re-designing our spaces, rethinking our roles.

Hard hats, re-orgs, and new job duties for community college librarians are signs that change is in the air.  Our panelists will speak about library leadership during construction and renovation projects. Specifically, how changes to our physical space also shape our future roles within the college. 

Each presenter will share details of their Library’s recent renovation projects, touching on the following areas: 

  • How physical workplace changes affect the daily work of staff, front-line librarians, and management teams.
  • How trends in higher education are impacting library spaces, organizational charts, services, and collections. 
  • How tools are used to assess the impact of these changes on student learning.

We’ve compiled a diverse group of Librarians to inspire you and set the tone for the day.  Read more about their constructions projects below:  


The Library Re-Created as Learning Commons: A Remodeling Project at the College of DuPage

In 2015, the College of DuPage Library completed a three-year, $30 million complete remodeling project of the college library. This involved renovating all 100,000 square feet of space on two floors while keeping the library open the entire time. I will outline the logistics necessary to make this happen and discuss the intended benefits of re-creating the library as a learning commons space. 


Leech Lake Tribal College has tackled massive changes in recent years.  Until 2005, the library was located in a renovated gym locker room at a former high school before moving into temporary space.  Last February, the library moved out of their transitional space and into a new 8,000 sq. ft. library building, constructed entirely debt free thanks to their extensive fund raising and grant-writing initiatives.  Along with the new building, the library has also adopted a new ILS, redesigned the website, joined the Federal Depository Library Program as one of the first e-only members, and begun the transition to being a joint-use library.  These updates occurred in the span of about a year, and the resulting increase in library usage has been huge. 

LLTC is on the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. Over 90% of their students are native, with members of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe representing the largest faction. Within the world of community colleges, tribal colleges like LLTC represent a small and dynamic subgroup, yet their presence and impact often remain unknown within the greater profession. At ForwardFocus, I am eager to introduce other community college librarians to tribal community colleges as we learn from one another.


"I don’t understand why you need offices. Don’t you just check out books to students all day?"

Libraries are changing, and so are librarians. It's not always easy to describe what kind of space you need, or what kind of physical and intellectual work will happen in that space. One thing is clear, however, the architects designing your space have a very limited, and often wrong, idea about what a library is, and how students, faculty and librarians use it. After countless meeting and questionnaires, the library at STCC received several versions of floor plans for our new library. Every one of these plans had key pieces missing: space for stacks, staff offices, reference area, circulation desk, group study rooms, etc. While describing library functions and needs can be challenging, one thing is for certain; your library staff will emerge with a much better understanding of what they do, how they do it, and how changing resources and technologies can shape the library space of the future.

The panel will be recorded and played at the virtual conference.  Panelist will be at the virtual conference at answer questions from virtual attendees.  

The Panelists


Blake Walter has been working in Chicago area libraries since 1989 when he was the circulation supervisor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He completed his Masters in Library and Information Science at Rosary College (now Dominican University) in 1993, and continued to work at Trinity as the Head Cataloger. He spent two years working in the Hyde Park area in Chicago as the Head of Technical Services/Systems Librarian at the JKM Library. He spent twelve years working at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard first as the Library Director and then in the dual role of Library Director and Vice President for Academic Administration. In 2014, he assumed his current position as Associate Dean of Learning Resources and Library Director at the College of DuPage.


Erica Eynouf is a Reference Librarian and the Electronic Resource Manager, and has worked at STCC since 2011. Erica also teaches an Honors Colloquium on the History of Information. She holds a B.A. in Critical Social Theory and Gender Studies from Mount Holyoke College and a M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. Additionally, Erica studied German Language, Literature, and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin for seven years.  Her hobbies include, knitting, cooking, and martial arts. She has a black belt in Shuri-Ryu Karate and Filipino Stick Fighting.


Hannah Buckland is the Director of Library Services at Leech Lake Tribal College, located in Cass Lake, MN.  In this role, she manages all aspects of a joint-use library, coordinating library services for students, college employees, and the greater Leech Lake Reservation community.  In addition, she serves on the Bemidji Public Library Board and is an appointed member of the Minnesota Governor’s Task Force on Broadband, a group responsible for developing an action plan to improve broadband access and adoption across the state.  Originally from a combination of Wisconsin and Indiana, Hannah received her BA from Knox College and her MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.  Prior to moving north, she held the position of Technical Services Librarian and Coordinator of Copyright & Fair Use at Eureka College.

Panelist will be available for Q & A during the virtual conference. 


Stephanie King, Illinois Valley Community College is a free online tool, owned by MasteryConnect, which allows teachers to interact with their students through questions and quizzes. This tool can be used as an icebreaker at the beginning of class, to assess what students already know about a topic, or as an assessment tool, at the end of an instruction session, to determine what students have learned. Participants will have the chance to try this tool for themselves and interact through various questions throughout the session. 

Stephanie King* is the Public Services Librarian at Illinois Valley Community College. She earned her Master’s degree through the University of Wisconsin’s library distance program and presented at this year’s CARLI Instruction Showcase. Recently, she developed an online library orientation to help IVCC’s distance students learn more about the library. She has also begun introducing new technology in the classroom by incorporating free tools, such as, into her library instruction sessions.

* Presenters will also be leading sessions at the virtual conference.  


Becky Hodson, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois

How do librarians successfully implement change in a world of budget constraints, time honored traditions, and uncertainty about the future?  In this interactive workshop, participants will learn how creativity is not an innate ability only artists are born with, if fact, creative thinking can be developed like a muscle which can be used to bring ideas to life.  At the end of this session the participant will: 1. Understand and use techniques to generate ideas, 2. Apply creativity to life, both in individual and group settings, 3. Lead others in creative processes, 4. Communicate ideas effectively and creatively to bring about change in your field. 

Rebecca (Becky) Hodson (MS ’13) is the Visiting Career Services Coordinator at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science.  She serves students pursuing their MSLIS by coordinating Practicum opportunities and advising on career exploration & pre-professional employment.  She previously worked as a Public Services Librarian at Kishwaukee College, and was a Spanish GED instructor at the same community college.  She is passionate about serving the public through innovative instruction, programs, and outreach.


Michelle Nielsen Ott, Illinois Central College

Community colleges promote access to higher education, but not all students graduate high school prepared for college. Sixty percent of Illinois Central College’s students do not test into transfer-level courses. Many must take developmental reading courses before being able to take transfer-level coursework. Learn about the various approaches Illinois Central College has developed to reach these under-prepared, and often under-served, students. Attendees will also have the change to share strategies and tips.

*This session will be offered at the Virtual Conference, breakout group C

Michelle Nielsen Ott* is the Outreach and Reference Librarian at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, IL.  Michelle focuses on events and programs for the library, creating relationships with students, faculty and staff, and collection development. She is active in campus sustainability and ICC’s chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges.  Michelle is also an instructor for Illinois Central College’s Library Technical Assistant program.  She is currently chair of the LLAMA/PRMS Education & Training Committee and Secretary/Treasurer of the Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries.

* Presenters will also be leading sessions at the virtual conference.  


Dr. Dubravka Juraga, Triton College

From the Library of Alexandria, to the monastic libraries of the European Middle Ages, to the Bibliotheca Palatina of Heildeberg, to today’s community college libraries, the concept of a library, types of users and patrons, as well as forms and formats of books and materials, have been changing and adapting to the needs of time. Across centuries and cultures, despite the naysayers who, resisting change, predicted the demise of libraries at various points in history, librarians, scholars and readers accepted and successfully adjusted to changes their eras brought. Just as we are today. How are you adapting to the changes today? What strategies have you used to introduce changes to patrons and to staff? What have been the difficulties and struggles? And what successes? Share with us tips, ideas, recommendations which helped you transition your library to our contemporary mid-21st century context.

Dubravka Juraga has a Ph.D. in Comparative literature and an MSIS in Information Science. After a successful career as a literary scholar, writer and translator, she has transitioned into the field of information science and librarianship in order to merge her passion for books with the more recently discovered passion for new technologies, the internet and information studies. Currently, she is the Triton College Library Chairperson in River Grove, IL.


Kimberly Shotick, Northeastern Illinois University

In this breakout session we will explore how to incorporate materials in a variety of formats into instruction and information literacy efforts. Topics include: collecting data to prepare for an information literacy plan, creating one-shot lesson plans for undergraduate and upper level students that incorporate digital formats (such as eBooks), and preparing for reference and outreach efforts. We will begin with a discussion about how we teach the use and access of non-print resources in instruction. Frequently, librarians report that valuable instruction time is spent teaching complicated interfaces. I will share ways to incorporate instruction methods that focus on outcomes related to the new Information Literacy Framework and teach higher level skills, while allowing students to navigate interfaces through hands-on activities. I will also explore ideas for engaging faculty and peer mentors/tutors in instruction, and suggest ways to make marketing and outreach efforts instructional.

*This session will be offered at the Virtual Conference, breakout group B. 

Kimberly Shotick* is the eLearning Librarian and Head of Reference at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in Chicago. Shotick’s research interests include online learning and community informatics. She holds an MLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her MA from NEIU. She recently presented at the Association of College and Research Libraries conference, along with other NEIU librarians, on creating a suite of sustainable information literacy tutorials.

* Presenters will also be leading sessions at the virtual conference.  


Melvin Whitehead, Joliet Junior College  

This session will begin with a brief discussion of the presenter’s recent experience with conducting an assessment project examining the impact of library instruction on the information literacy skills of students enrolled in developmental reading. The presenter will share his experience with project design, data collection and analysis, and working with campus stakeholders to translate the findings into action. Afterwards, participants will develop strategies for conducting their own assessment projects at their institutions and discuss ways of over-coming anticipated barriers.

Melvin Whitehead is a Public Services Librarian at Joliet Junior College. He received his Master of Science in Information from the University of Michigan, where he was a Rackham Merit Fellow. He was a participant in the University of Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians from Traditionally Underrepresented Groups (2012) and in ACRL’s Assessment in Action (AiA) Program. For his participation in AiA, he conducted an assessment project examining the impact of library instruction and Libguides on student learning. The process taught him about study design, communicating with stakeholders, instilling a culture of assessment within the library, and creating partnerships with colleagues across campus to best meet the needs of various student populations. During his tenure at JJC, Melvin has been an active member of the college’s Student Learning Committee and Learning Technology Advisory Team. Melvin’s professional interests include library instruction methods, assessment, library outreach, and diversity and inclusion.


Karen Becker, Kankakee Community College

How are you and your staff managing the trend towards providing more services with fewer resources? In this breakout session Karen Becker, from the Miner Memorial Library (Kankakee Community College) will share information about a staff restructuring which took place in 2013. Information to be shared includes changes in the technical services/public services area which made restructuring necessary, data used to make these decisions and the impact this restructuring has had on overall services. There will be time for discussion.

*This session will be offered at the Virtual Conference, breakout group C. 

Karen Becker* is currently Director of the Harold and Jean Miner Memorial Library at Kankakee Community College where she oversees the day to day operations of the library.  During her tenure at Kankakee Community College she has overseen several projects, including the expansion of library services to the college’s satellite centers, a restructuring of staff and implementation of video streaming content.  She has taught information literacy and reference/information sources at both Kankakee Community College and Olivet Nazarene University.  She is active with Network of Illinois Learning Resources in Community Colleges (NILRC) where she has served on the executive board as president and currently recording secretary.  Prior to coming to Kankakee Community College she was library consultant for the Heritage Trail Library System and circulation manager at St. Louis County Library.

* Presenters will also be leading sessions at the virtual conference.  


Alyce Scott, San Jose State University 

A basic understanding of copyright law is something that every librarian should have in their skill set. This introduction to the topic of copyright law will provide information on the laws that govern copyright, the rights of libraries, what fair use really means, and how to avoid infringement.

Alyce Scott has an M.L.I.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is currently a lecturer for the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. She has worked in a variety of library settings, including developing an Electronic Reserves program for Brookens Library at the University of Illinois Springfield. Most recently she served as the Coordinator of the Digital Imaging Program at the Illinois State Library. At the Illinois State Library Ms. Scott was part of the team that developed the Illinois Digital Archives; oversaw the digitization of materials from the ISL collection, including copyright compliance; reviewed and monitored Library Services and Technology Act digital imaging grants awarded annually by ISL; and provided state-wide training in the use of CONTENTdm software for digital collections.


Randi Sutter & Jennifer Swartout, Heartland Community College & Illinois Central College

During the spring 2015 semester, a professor and a librarian worked together to integrate meaningful research support services into three sections of an upper-level composition course. Our goals were to increase persistence in the course, to support the greatest level of success on the assignment, to reduce anxiety about writing and researching projects, to expand students’ knowledge of support networks, and to increase the likelihood that students would return to the library to work on future research projects. The co-presenters will share data and artifacts from the project to highlight students’ outcomes and experiences. Participants will leave with ideas of how to use or adapt this type of collaborative approach to support students’ success in other curricular areas.

* sessions repeated at the virtual conference. 

Randi Sutter* is as an Information Services Librarian at Heartland Community College, serving a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff. Randi specializes in innovation and collaboration. She values faculty as partners, students as lifelong learners, and colleagues as team members striving to provide active, well-timed research instruction. At Heartland, Randi spearheaded assessment of information literacy skills, one-on-one research appointments, and the popular embedded librarian program. Randi loves crowd-sourcing solutions, humor in the workplace, and, most of all, providing exceptional services to library users.

Dr. Jennifer Swartout* is Dean of English, Humanities and Language Studies at Illinois Central College.  A longtime community college English instructor, she has taught composition and developmental writing since 1998 and student success courses since 2011.  Jennifer believes that affective skills – such as emotional intelligence and problem-solving – are as critical for students as cognitive and academic skills.  She relishes any opportunity to help students reach their goals by creating relationships with key college staff, such as (but certainly not limited to) librarians.

* Presenters will also be leading sessions at the virtual conference.  


Kent Seaver, North Lake College  

Due to the explosion of Internet driven resources, not to mention the decreasing numbers of qualified STEM students and graduates, the need for accessible, current, and specific learning resources has changed the format and content of traditional STEM classes. Because of the need to provide the latest and most topical resources to both our faculty and students, the Learning Resources staff at North Lake College have created Library Subject Guides specific to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) courses offered at NLC to assist the faculty in the instructional delivery of classroom materials.  This presentation demonstrates how North Lake College’s Library uses Library Subject guides (Lib Guides) to prepare students for not only Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) majors, but also STEM careers, leading to student success.  North Lake College Library (NLCL) is a two year college in Irving, Texas. 

This session will be offered at the Virtual Conference, breakout group A.

Kent Seaver has 17 years of experience in the field of Learning Resources. He is presently the Director of Learning Resources at North Lake College in Irving, Texas. While at North Lake, Kent has spearheaded the District effort to create a comprehensive pre-assessment model to allow for new to college success, as well as STEM-based partnerships between the Library and Career Services. Kent has written articles on Learning Resources and prior learning for the Library Innovations, NACADA and The League for Innovation.


Samantha Hines, Missoula College

While public libraries become proactive in engaging users in connecting with social services through outreach programs and partnerships with social workers and public health programs as a part of their mission to connect users with information and with the community, academic libraries have lagged behind. However, we in community college settings often work with students who are at risk and could benefit from stronger connections with social services. This session will describe why community college libraries should take action in this area, what other libraries are doing (including my own, which will host a social work intern this coming fall semester), and how to begin connecting their users with social services in ways small and large.

This session will be offered at the Virtual Conference, breakout group A. 

Samantha Schmehl Hines received her MS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2003. In 2004 she was hired as the Social Science Librarian by the Mansfield Library at The University of Montana-Missoula and is currently Head Librarian for the Missoula College campus library of The University of Montana. She writes and presents widely on issues of online library services, information literacy instruction, and library middle management, and is the author of Productivity for Librarians (2010, Chandos), and Revolutionizing the Development of Library and Information Science Professionals (2014, IGI-Global).


Stephanie King, Illinois Valley Community College

Could an online library orientation help your library reach out to distance students and increase student success?  This presentation will explain how Jacobs Library, at Illinois Valley Community College, developed and launched an online library orientation.  Participants will learn about the process and programs used to create the orientation, as well as, how student and faculty opinions were included in the development process.  The Jacobs Library online orientation is geared towards first and second year undergraduate students who are unfamiliar with the library and would like a basic introduction to the resources that are available to them. 

This session will be offered at the Virtual Conference, breakout group B. 

Stephanie King is the Public Services Librarian at Illinois Valley Community College. She earned her Master’s degree through the University of Wisconsin’s library distance program and presented at this year’s CARLI Instruction Showcase. Recently, she developed an online library orientation to help IVCC’s distance students learn more about the library. She has also begun introducing new technology in the classroom by incorporating free tools, such as, into her library instruction sessions.