Cultural Responsiveness






Sarah Copeland is Director, Desks and Patron Experience, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Chapel Cowden is a Health and Science Instruction Librarian, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Lu Gao is a postgraduate student at University at Albany (SUNY). Together, they’re presenting the session “Culturally Responsive Public Services” on May 4, 2:50 p.m. EDT. Their guest blog post follows.

Libraries strive to welcome all members of their communities, but many fall short of their desire to truly engage the diverse communities they serve. The work of diversity and inclusion requires deep and continuous engagement to move beyond token gestures of inclusivity.

You may be reading about this upcoming presentation and perhaps wondering, “Yes -- but how?” It can be overwhelming to consider all the work that’s needed to make our libraries inclusive spaces that welcome our diverse constituents. This presentation will focus on practical steps that you can take today to start building more inclusive public services.

Transformation starts with individuals, and one very important step that we encourage you to take is to start a reflective practice. For you to get the most out of the “Culturally Responsive Public Services” presentation, we invite participants to consider in advance how they would answer the following questions:

  • What’s your cultural background? How would you describe your identity? In addition to race, ethnicity, and religion, consider other aspects of your identity. For example, are you a first-generation college student, working class, or belong to a group that has impacted your perspective on the world?
  • Can you think of ways that your cultural background affects your approach to providing library public services? For example, does your cultural background help you identify with some patrons?

We’ll be taking a closer look at ways that individuals can lead departments toward deeper inclusiveness in our presentation “Culturally Responsive Public Services.” We welcome your questions and thoughts on these topics, which you may share prior to our session by replying to this post (login required).

Managing Change from Inside-Out

Cinthya Ipololiti,  Director and University Librarian, University of Colorado, Denver, will present the session “Managing Change from the Inside-Out: The Library as Catalyst for Transformational Change” on May 4, 12:45 at 1:25 p.m. EDT. Her guest blog post follows.

Change management is widely discussed today in a wide variety of contexts, including libraries. At the organizational level, change can prompt the organization to question its core mission, vision, and values as it grapples with its situational conditions and experiences. Managing change in this environment is not about controlling the change and reactions to it, but rather engaging in activities and discussions that help to shape it. To effectively deal with change, one must first understand what it is and how it affects the organization on both a structural level (doing things differently), and an affective one (how each person reacts to these dynamics). Change is much more complicated than the application of a specific model or framework, and the other facets of change, such as anxiety and uncertainty, are often up to the individual to navigate without much direction or support.

Transformational change is defined by Jean M. Bartunek as one in which there’s a shift in organizational attitudes, beliefs, and cultural values. David L. Dinwoodie et al. draw comparisons between transformational change and ecosystems: it’s widespread and self-sustaining, occurs in stages and in networks that face systemic disturbances, and that it encounters challenges and opportunities that provide added layers of complexity. If we examine these elements more closely, we begin to see that what they’re discussing is a staged approach in which individuals help to prepare the organization for change by understanding the existing terrain, strengthening and growing relationships as change becomes integrated within the system, and creating an environment where it’s is widespread and sustained. 

This session will offer information about transformational change components, what type of leadership actions and considerations might be effective in navigating this environment, plus practical applications of these concepts through organizational examples and best practices.  Let’s discuss your questions about these processes and elements. Please insert comments and questions into this document via Google Docs.

Make the Most of Data Analyzation to Improve Library Website UX

Meng Qu is a Web Service Librarian in Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) since October 2018. She gained her M.A. in Library and Information Studies from University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2018. As a computer-technology fanatic, Meng keeps sharpening her skills on website UI & UX development and assisting with data analyzation and data visualization in her daily work. In a recent project to build a new university library’s website, she took the lead in designing the appearance of the website and conducted usability research. Meng’s research interests are website design and development, data analyzation and visualization, and GIS/indoor navigation pathfinding systems.
The Web Service Team in Miami University Libraries has conducted a series of user behavior and demographics data collecting. The scripts are generated in Google Analytics and, and be embedded in the university library websites. This action is under the approval of Human Subject Research Department from the university; and no personal-identified data is recorded.

The intention of collecting user data is simple: the website developers want to have better understanding of our users, in a more objective way; and to adjust the elements in presenting a more attractive, convenient, and human-friendly website. User Experience (UX) is the professional and concise term to express such process.

In this research, a large range of user behavior data have been collected, such as user stickiness, user activities, user events, page traffic, events flow, just name a few. Through the dataset, the developers were able to tell the preferences and trends from users, and to make adjustments. For example, we have noticed an increasing view on the Special Collections webpage during an event of that department. To provide faster access, we chose the top five items and placed them on the library website homepage, which lead to a faster growth of page views on Special Collections. Such decisions rely on large data collections and dataset analyzations, and result to better user experiences.

An other benefit of applying data analyzation mechanism on library UX development is that, realizing the trend in our user and adapt with the trend. For instance, our data shown there is an increasing raise of mobile and tablet usage among the users in the recent 12 month. Then we have realized the responsive design of the website needs adjustments to fit on that special needs. Not only the size and resolutions have been adjusted, but the layouts and functions have been optimized: for instance, we put more functions on the bottom 1/3 of the screen in mobile resolutions because of the different using habits between mobile and desktop users. Rely on data analyzation, we website developers could accurately tell what the users need, and how they approached to their goals. It is a benefit of online services and a new trend in the library field.

To Discovery and Beyond: Using Workflow Automation as an Opportunity for Collaboration and Education

Rebecca B. French
Rebecca B. French is the Metadata Analyst Librarian at James Madison University, where she develops workflows and tools for efficiently creating, manipulating, transforming, and analyzing metadata at scale. Her work spans traditional MARC cataloging, e-resource batch loading, and metadata for archival and digital collections. Rebecca was previously a music cataloger at James Madison University and at Indiana University’s William and Gayle Cook Music Library. She holds a BA from The College of William and Mary and an MLS with a specialization in music librarianship from Indiana University.
This poster describes a project to automate portions of JMU Libraries’ workflow for distributing Special Collections finding aids to various discovery platforms. Through the development of a custom Python app called Spaceport, we were able to greatly improve the efficiency and sustainability of this process while also providing a more consistent discovery experience for our patrons. The project also had broad impacts in other areas. Our incremental and collaborative approach provided space for professional development related to the project, supported evolving project goals and the process of adapting to the new workflow, and strengthened relationships between departments. In addition to describing these and other benefits, this poster includes an overview of the Spaceport app’s functionality along with recommended learning resources for technologies used in the project, including XSLTs, Python scripting, and APIs.

Assessing library spaces as achievement spaces

Christopher Stewart is the Discovery and Metadata Coordinator at Ottenheimer Library at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His research interest is in discovering and developing unrecognized resources for data driven decisions in libraries.


Louise L. Lowe is the Student Success Coordinator at Ottenheimer Library at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her professional focus is implementing meaningful student experiences and services through practical, collaborative, and achievable means. Her research interest is in demonstrating library value through communication and documented outcomes.

In 2019, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Ottenheimer Library began a space study to help maximize the use of the library spaces. The primary goal of the study included understanding students’ perceptions and use of the library while identifying and standardizing measures for continuous improvements. One measure identified was collection space performance. Collection space performance indicators outline how the physical and virtual collections in the applied sciences and formal sciences verses. humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences relate to student achievement and the amount of collection space given to those areas. The results of the collection space performance are then compared to seating capacity and the amount of space given to inactive and active collection space and library user spaces. The poster will demonstrate how collection space performance based on student academic achievement along with other metrics can provide data-driven collection development decisions in order maximize the use of library spaces.

Advisors as Allies: Connecting Libraries and Academic Advising

Laura Birkenhauer
Laura Birkenhauer is the Student Success Librarian for Campus Engagement for the Miami University Libraries in Oxford, OH.
Nearly every college student is assigned to and familiar with how to communicate with their academic advisor; unfortunately, the same cannot be said for most students and their liaison librarian. Though librarians and academic advisors typically perform markedly different duties, both connect students with valuable information and act as mentors and guides. How can librarians build on the commonalities we have with our advising colleagues in order to better connect with students? How might librarians and advisors mutually support one another?

This poster details an academic librarian’s work to forge connections with campus academic advisors in an effort to improve advisor awareness of library services and the role of librarians, focusing specifically on the development of an online training module for advisors about the library. This poster also describes successful and potential librarian-advisor collaborations, including a workshop series targeting undecided students and librarian involvement in the campus organization for advising staff.

Shaping the Future with Departmental Mission, Vision, and Values

Shelly Hypes is the Director of Access Services at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. At J. Murrey Atkins Library, Shelly works with her colleagues to develop thoughtful and innovative ways to connect the campus community with library collections and services. With professional experience in public and academic libraries, Shelly enjoys work allowing her to focus on the management of projects, systems, and change, applying for and managing grant funds, and library branding and design. Shelly is a Certified Ex Libris Alma Administrator and has been awarded the Virginia Public Library Directors Association Award for Outstanding Service for her introduction of ten Little Free Libraries to the city of Danville, Virginia.

Ryan Harris, Head of Research and Instructional Services, UNC Charlotte

Stephanie Otis, Associate Dean for Public Services, UNC Charlotte

While many libraries develop a strategic plan and define Mission, Vision, and Values at the administrative level, how do you accomplish this at a smaller, departmental level? Join us as we define and differentiate between Mission, Vision, and Values, and examine how the process of developing each of these statements benefits high-performing teams. This poster will outline a project to create defining statements for a Public Services unit consisting of Research and Instructional Services and Access Services, at a doctoral-granting institution with higher research activity. Presenters will provide practice-based information that can be used to lead your team through the highly collaborative process of creating your unique Mission, Vision, and Values. We will discuss strategies for honoring the already existing core values of your larger organization, approaches for creating space for all team members to participate, and techniques for honoring diverse learning styles and communication preferences. The process and final products of developing these defining statements can help us understand our purpose, the beliefs that guide our professional behaviors, and how we envision our futures.

The Librarian is Online: Providing support as courses move online.

Megan Wilson is an Assistant Professor and Research & Instruction Librarian at Murray State University. She currently serves as the liaison to the College of Science, Engineering and Technology as well as the School of Agriculture. Having taught and worked with courses in person and online using a variety of formats, her research interests include virtual reference, library outreach and online learning.
In this day and age, academic instruction is increasingly moving online. Many college courses have some degree of online engagement through LMS systems and as such students expect learning material to be deliverable through online venues.

As a liaison librarian, it is not uncommon for questions to be fielded about how to access and/or how to provide access to materials such as books, articles, library tutorials, and reference assistance online and through university LMS systems. Issues that often involve collaboration between library departments, technical support and the university community of faculty and students.

This poster aims to look at some of the challenges that are faced in this endeavor, including issues of equity and accessibility as well as some of the methods that can be used to address those challenges.

Google Colab: Easy Python code execution for non-programmers

Yukari Sugiyama is the Librarian for Discovery and Metadata Assessment at Yale University Library. She plays a key role in the areas of resource discovery and metadata management and performs analysis, remediation, and normalization of metadata in the library’s online catalogs and discovery layer. In ALA, she currently serves on ALCTS Cataloging and Classification Research Interest Group as vice co-chair and ALCTS Continuing Education Committee as ex-officio member.
Python is a programming language with a wide range of functionality including web searching, web scraping, data processing, and data visualization. It is becoming increasingly popular for automation and batch processing within technical services departments.

While it may not be easy to learn Python programming and write Python code, it is not necessarily difficult to execute a code itself.

Introducing Google Colab. Google Colab is a cloud-based software and is a newer addition to the Google Drive products. With the tool, you can write and execute Python programs in your browser without installing Python. What’s more, just like Google Docs or Sheets, Google Colab can be shared with others.

Here at Yale University Library Technical Services, I wrote some Python programs using Google Colab such as a backlog lookup, a link checker, and a MARC record generator for non-programmer cataloging staff. Without training, they can easily execute these programs on their computers. In this presentation, I will demonstrate how Google Colab works and explain how it made automation and batch processing much more approachable and accessible to non-programmer staff, resulting in increased productivity and collaboration.

Leading a Library Department Through Organizational Change

Hyun Chu Kim, Interim Director of Technical Services, Kennesaw State University
Hyun Chu Kim is a Librarian Associate Professor and serves as the Interim Director of Technical Services at Kennesaw State University. She is responsible for leading Technical Services, which encompasses the library’s metadata and discovery, acquisitions, and systems subunits. She holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Washington and an MLIS from Valdosta State University. Hyun Chu’s main areas of interest and research are technical services in academic libraries and immigrant families and education.

Ariel Turner, Department Chair, Kennesaw State University
Ariel Turner serves as the Chair of the Department of Library Resources at Kennesaw State University, which encompasses the library’s metadata, acquisitions, systems, institutional repository and collection development teams. She began her career in public libraries, and has experience in cataloging, systems, reference, and instruction work. Ariel holds a BA in International Studies and Art History from Oglethorpe University, a MLIS from Valdosta State University, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Practice from the University of North Georgia. Her current research focuses on the preparedness of university presidents in a changing higher education environment.

“Prior to July 2019, the Kennesaw State University Library was considered both a college and a department within the institution, which created ambiguity when the library interacted with faculty and the institution. Following the reclassification of Kennesaw State University as an R2 institution and a system-wide comprehensive administrative review to streamline efficiencies, the library reorganized to better reflect the structure in traditional academic units, as a college with two departments. This reorganization led to the creation of two Department Chair positions, which resulted in four interim leadership positions occurring in the institution simultaneously: two interim department chairs, an Interim Director of Technical Services, and an Interim Director of Collection Development.

This presentation will discuss the experiences of the Interim Director of Technical Services and the Interim Department Chair of Library Resources. Serving as interim in this period of change required the ability to lead library faculty and staff through a massive reorganization while learning new roles and gaining expanded leadership skills. These new roles necessitated change management skills, strategic planning, and workflow assessment. A key component of the success of this process was collaboration.

In this session, participants will learn about how to deal with an atmosphere of constant change at all levels, the importance of a willingness to adapt and be flexible, and how to handle ambiguity with workflows and job responsibilities.