Disabled People Use the Internet! Building and Maintaining Inclusive Library Spaces Online

Session Description

Online library services often exclude people with disabilities. Purposeful design and use of digital resources (including websites, databases, and social media) can improve inclusion. This session includes some basic technical considerations as well as institutional actions that can be taken to create more inclusive online spaces. Participants are encouraged to share their own accessibility-related concerns, questions, and comments.

While there are clear ethical and legal arguments for ensuring that all library services are equitable, there are many reasons why libraries should be particularly concerned with creating more inclusive online spaces for people with disabilities now. Young people with disabilities have higher rates of internet use than their elders and are more likely to be exposed to technology in educational spaces. Moreover, a library’s digital presence is key to advertising in-person events and sharing information regarding the accessibility of its physical space.

Along with institutional and website accessibility considerations, this presentation will also provide up-to-date guidance on ensuring libraries’ social media presence takes advantage of inclusive practices on social media. Social media connects institutions with community members who may never enter a library building but may attend events virtually. This includes activities such as online story-times, author read-alongs, and virtual book club meetings. Additionally, there are many disability activists and self-advocates active on social media who engage in conversations related to disabilities. Connecting the library to these conversations can educate library staff on community members’ experiences and needs as well as foster mutual engagement.

This presentation is designed for both current librarian practitioners and future librarians interested in accessible technology or tasked with developing inclusive practices for their institutions. Advanced technological knowledge is not required, although a willingness to test out digital tools will be encouraged during the session.


Laura March, PhD Student & Research Assistant, UNC-Chapel Hill

Laura March
Laura March is a PhD student and research assistant at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has over ten years of experience designing accessible online environments and teaching virtually. Her research interests are the intersections of technology, education, and creativity. Prior to beginning doctoral studies, Laura worked at the Carolina Office for Online Learning, American University’s Center for Teaching, Research & Learning, and the Pennsylvania State University’s Education Technology Services, Institute for Arts & Humanities, and Palmer Museum of Art. She received an MS in Art Education and an MEd in Instructional Systems from the Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Amelia Gibson, Assistant Professor, UNC-Chapel Hill: School of Information and Library Science

Dr. Amelia Gibson
Amelia Gibson is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her primary research interests focus on the ways that information and data are used by and against marginalized communities, with a focus on health and wellness in communities of color (particularly among women and girls) and among disabled people. Her work explores the ways we understand and replicate systemic information poverty, marginalization, and equity in local communities and on the internet. She is the director of the Community Equity, Data and Information Lab at Chapel Hill. Dr. Gibson is a UNC Thorp Community Engaged scholar and a fellow with the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, the Parr Center for Ethics and Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. She is the recipient of an IMLS Early Career Award and UNC Junior Faculty Development Award. She holds a Ph.D. and MLIS from Florida State University, and a BA from Dartmouth College.

Documenting Library Work: Lessons We Can Learn from Technical Writers

Session Description

Have you ever tried to write a how-to manual or other documentation for your library’s processes? Have you gotten overwhelmed trying to figure out where to start, or too busy keeping up with your day-to-day work to take a step back and document it? Most of us know that documentation is important to continuity and sustainability of processes in library work, but it’s a very easy thing to write off as too hard, or to mentally set aside for a “slow period” that never comes. Lessons from the field of technical writing can help us prioritize these important tasks. While most librarians are not trained technical writers, we can incorporate some tips from technical writers into our work to make our documentation creation easier.


Emily Nimsakont, Cataloging and Metadata Trainer, Amigos Library Services

Emily Nimsakont
Emily Nimsakont is the Cataloging and Metadata Trainer at Amigos Library Services. She has over ten years of experience in cataloging and the organization of information, including managing digital assets for a technology company, supervising the technical services department of an academic law library, and training on cataloging topics for the Nebraska Library Commission. She holds an MLS from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Emily lives in Ashland, Nebraska, with her husband, son, and cat.

3 C’s for Leading Community Engagement Initiatives in Academic Libraries

Session Description

Libraries have always been about connecting with their communities. For academic libraries, particularly those in high density, low-income urban areas, the need to provide service to non-affiliated neighbors is an increasingly essential element of the university and library mission. A tension, historically characterized as the “town-gown” conflict, will over time negatively impact the institution’s relationship with its local community. The shift towards positive engagement with their communities is an opportunity for academic librarians to advance their own mission and that of the institution. Public and private academic libraries have resources to benefit community members. Examples include access to computers, internet resources, technology support, job assistance, cultural programming and materials borrowing. These services help the institution demonstrate community engagement and the effort to improve the quality of life. Attendees, particularly with leadership aspirations, will learn how to incorporate three Cs, curiosity, collaboration and conviction, into their leadership practice in order to: [a] influence colleagues to support external community engagement; [b] create a welcoming and inclusive environment that invites, by design, neighbors to feel the library is their resource; and [c] position the library as a campus leader in forging relationships with internal and external partners.


Steven J. Bell, Associate University Librarian, Temple University

Steven J. Bell
Steven J. Bell is the Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University. He writes and speaks about academic librarianship, learning technologies, library leadership, higher education, open and affordable learning, design thinking and user experience. He authored two regular columns for Library Journal Academic Newswire, “From the Bell Tower” and “Leading From the Library” from 2009 through 2019. He is co-author of the book “Academic Librarianship by Design” and editor of the book “Crucible Moments: Inspiring Library Leadership”. Bell is currently an adjunct faculty member for the San Jose State University iSchool where he teaches design thinking and open education librarianship.

Cultivating Tolerance Through Conversation: Creating an Inclusive Community at Your Library

Session Description
In a world where tensions are high around sensitive topics like racism and implicit bias, libraries serve as a safe space for inclusion and the sharing of ideas. When a community was rocked by prejudiced acts against minority groups, one library system responded by engaging the public in a series of important yet sensitive conversations and book discussions. Learn how your library can collaborate with local agencies and diverse groups to help foster a more tolerant and understanding community through the library.

Caroline Dulworth, Associate Director, Pioneer Library System

Caroline Dulworth
Caroline Dulworth is Associate Director of Reader’s Services and Branch Projects and is the Branch Manager of Norman Public Library Central. She received her MLIS from The University of Oklahoma in 2000, and has worked for PLS since 1996.


Kelly Sitzman , Branch Manager of Norman Public Library East

Kelly Sitzman
Kelly Sitzman is the Branch Manager of Norman Public Library East, Pioneer Library System’s 12th and newest branch. Kelly is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with an MLIS in Library and Information Studies. Kelly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Library Association Leadership Institute, and was awarded the 2018 PLS Distinguished Colleague Award for her leadership in developing the first-ever PLS Customer Service Philosophy.

Breea Clark, Mayor, City of Norman, OK

Breea Clark
Breea Clark is the Mayor of Norman, Oklahoma. She serves as the University of Oklahoma’s Director of the JCPenney Leadership Center, which focuses on building and preparing leaders for the diverse and global opportunities presented in the 21st century. Breea previously served on the Norman Library Advisory Board, and is an enthusiastic supporter of public libraries.

Beyond “OK, Boomer”: Understanding Today’s Intergenerational Workplace Cultures in the Library

Session Description
In this interactive webinar session, the speakers will share their own experiences as part of a demographic cohort and reflect on how they have worked and managed different intergenerational workplace cultures. The purpose of the session is to discuss and explore the different generational cohorts in today’s workplaces. How do librarians from different generational cohorts share governance work? The speakers are librarians who work in school, public, academic and special libraries, and will share best practices in communication, management and leadership, for the different demographic groups including baby boomers, gen x, millennials and gen z. Which group does it best and does it matter? How does today’s library workplace support these different groups collectively? What about the experiences from librarians of color when it comes to intergenerational workplaces? Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and perspectives on the intergenerational workplace culture through a series of activities posed by the speakers.

Raymond Pun, Instruction/Research Librarian, Alder Graduate School of Education

Ray Pun
Raymond Pun is the Instruction/Research Librarian at the Alder Graduate School of Education.





Sarah Dallas, System Director, Southern Adirondack Library, New York

Sarah Dallas
Sarah Dallas is the System Director of Southern Adirondack Library in New York.





Eboni Henry, School Media Specialist, District of Columbia Public School, Washington,DC

Eboni Henry
Eboni Henry is a school media specialist at the District of Columbia Public School in Washington DC.





Jahala Simuel, Head of Access Services, Medical Librarian, Howard University-Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library

Jahala Samuel
Jahala Simuel is the Head of Access Services and Medical Librarian at the Howard University-Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library.

Managing Change From The Inside-Out: The Library as Catalyst for Transformational Change

Session Description

Located in downtown Denver, Colorado, the Auraria Campus is home to three institutions of higher education – University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Community College of Denver – the latter two are Hispanic-Serving Institutions. The Auraria Library serves the campus’ approximately 43,000 students, including many first-generation, underrepresented, and non-traditional students, and sees more than 750,000 visits a year. In 2018, I was hired as Auraria Library’s director. In addition to the challenges of serving three institutions with differing needs, I quickly realized that the library itself was in a state of transition and seeking answers for what was going to come next for the organization.

Library employees are incredibly passionate and dedicated, and it was important to build on the existing work that had happened, while redirecting efforts in respectful and productive ways. This session will provide participants with a practical application of change management elements and approaches including:
Internal perspective:

  • Discussing the main elements of transformational change which takes an ecosystem approach and where there is a shift in organizational attitudes, beliefs, and cultural values
  • Preparing for strategic change by establishing trust and transparency in leadership
  • Creating new policies and processes in areas such as hiring, workforce planning, and budgeting
  • Building internal capacity through training, recognition, and mentorship
  • Considering the human aspect of change management by addressing reactions to and anxiety about change (both at the employee as well as at the administrative levels)
External perspective:
  • Developing a robust stakeholder engagement framework to assist with strategic planning
  • Telling the library story and raising awareness about its impact for our faculty, staff, and students


Cinthya Ippoliti, Director and University Librarian, University of Colorado, Denver

Cinthya Ippoliti
Cinthya Ippoliti is the University Librarian and Director of the Auraria Library at University of Colorado Denver. Previously, she was the Associate Dean for Research and Learning Services at Oklahoma State University where she provided administrative leadership for the library’s academic liaison program as well as services for undergraduate and graduate students and community outreach. Other past work includes Head of Teaching and Learning Services at the University of Maryland where she was in charge of the spaces, services, and programming offered by the Terrapin Learning Commons in addition to coordinating the libraries’ First Year instruction program.