SEFLIN librarians conference

Going Virtual July 29, 2021

Breakout Sessions

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
The Improv Stage

The Important Role Libraries Play in Supporting Local Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Presenter: Ginny Sterpka 

Now more than ever, libraries play a crucial role in providing support for small businesses and entrepreneurs in their communities. With the influx of resources and information for small businesses due to the Coronavirus pandemic and countless places to access them, the knowledge and expertise of a librarian is essential. Join us for a talk with Ginny Sterpka from Creative Startups highlighting the important role libraries play in bolstering entrepreneurship during this unprecedented moment, in the time that follows, and under regular everyday circumstances.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
The Second City Stage

We’ll Come to You: Outside Library Services and COVID

Presenters: Kathy Hage, Jennifer McQuown, and Lisa Hathaway.

COVID-19 challenged libraries to think outside the box. At Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach this meant thinking outside the library. Learn how an IMLS and FL Cares grants enabled us to bring essential services to neighborhoods adversely affected by COVID-19. The library’s Wi-Fi-enabled minivan offers homework assistance and educational enrichment for youth, helps individuals investigate free or reduced-price broadband internet plans, loans laptops and hotspots, provides ESOL services and assists with job applications and resume building. Presenters will share relevant community demographics and how COVID-19 further exposed the gap between those that can and cannot access the internet, safe transportation, and academic enrichment services. We’ll explain how we learned who the library was not reaching and identified barriers we could remove. Speakers will facilitate discussion on bringing library programs and services outside the library, what kind of data can be used to recognize existing service gaps and how to select potential venues for services. Additional topics to be discussed will include: the challenges and rewards of bringing services offered by numerous library departments together in the community; how to train a new versatile employee with the skills, expertise and programming knowledge of various departments and the roadblocks of hitting the pavement and how to best avoid potholes.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
The Upright Citizens Brigade Stage

Citizenship Inspired

Presenter: Kathryn Thorp

Citizenship Inspired (CI) is the name of a series of virtual citizenship classes designed to help registrants prepare for the naturalization interview, emphasizing the N-400, Application for Naturalization form, the Civics exam covering American History and Government, and basic vocabulary for proficient reading and writing in English. Beginning last March, the pandemic changed how libraries provided service while employees worked from home. Starting on 5 May 2020, CI classes were taught as online Zoom events. In the past 10 months, 154 CI classes were offered with 1857 attendees. We approximate a total attendance of 2228 for the year. In comparison, 132 classes were offered during 2019 with 1486 attendees. Online programming is safe, equitable, inviting, innovative, and convenient. CI registrants can participate from their homes. They do not have to find a babysitter or drive to the library; it’s much easier to accommodate varying work schedules, and it eliminates the social pressure of face-to-face interaction in a traditional class. It also provides greater access to a USCIS Community Relations Officer who can present important information as a co-host.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
The Groundlings Stage

Improvising During a Pandemic: Bring the Archives and the life of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune to Life

Presenters: Clarissa West-White, Brandon Nightingale, Tasha Youmans and Ebony Sampson

Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the ensuing pandemic, individuals and institutions were forced to make sense of their new realities. The Mary McLeod Bethune Home, on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University, serves as a museum that is dedicated to preserving the life of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. The museum had to close its doors to the public and commit to virtual programming to engage the community. With the help of staff from Bethune Cookman University’s Carl S. Swisher Library, the library and Home launched the #100DaysofBethune campaign that ran from August 17, 2020, through February 25, 2021. Staff organized a campaign using documents from the Archives, housed in the library, to highlight the legacy of Dr. Bethune, her continued relevance and historical significance to the nation and beyond. Staff also created The Lady’s Letters and Famous Figures, two digital promotions that focus on correspondence between Mary McLeod Bethune and other historically relevant figures to showcase her wide network of influential acquaintances across the world and involvement in state, national and word affairs.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
The Improv Stage

English as a Second Language Program Flourishes at South Holiday Library

Presenter: Claudia Ratay

Prior to the outbreak of COVID and the changes it necessitated for programming at the South Holiday Library, the branch had a small but thriving ESL (English as a Second Language) program. The program consisted of a classroom-style drop-in class and a few weekly one-on-one individual sessions which were also held in-branch. The English program was, and still is, run and managed by one staff member. It has grown tremendously since transitioning to the online environment. Its reach has extended throughout Pasco County. The format is primarily one-on-one sessions which are tailored to the needs of each individual student. A conversation group class was recently added to the schedule and has been well-received. This presentation will provide participants with information and resources needed to start and maintain an active, growing online ESL program through their libraries. Key topics will include scheduling, structuring effective thirty-minute sessions, online English teaching resources that are available free of charge, and how to manage cancellations and a growing waiting list.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
The Second City Stage

Whose Program Is It Anyway? Pivoting to Virtual Events and Take-and-Make Kits: Improvisation in Improbable Times

Presenters: Nancy Keough, Darlene Encomio, and Riki Donnelly

In this session the Martin County Library System will share how the pandemic changed the way we looked at programming. Participants will learn about the programs we will continue to offer and what did not make the final cut. We would like to share with our library community, how collaboration and innovation changed our services in ways that our communities and our staff embraced. In this presentation, we will share the templates of COVID surveys we used to assess community needs, event evaluations to evolve programming, and methods and procedures that made this last year a success for our communities. Providing opportunities for our staff interested in hosting events to be equipped with the tools they required to do this successfully. We will share how we pivoted to virtual events and take and make kits from 3 different perspectives, Literacy, Education and Outreach, Library Management and Technology Services divisions. Revealing insider information and sharing the roadblocks, the hiccups, the solutions and the successes. Participants will learn how we sought out performers, local organizations, and partners to fill in our COVID performer database. We will connect the pieces and share our targeted approach of collecting continual feedback, guiding and supporting our service direction.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
The Upright Citizens Brigade Stage

Uncommon Projects for the Common Reader

Presenters: Danielle Campbell, Iris Fiallos-Finstad, and Dr. David Pena

Each year Palm Beach State College’s Common Reader program promotes literacy, cross-disciplinary scholarship, and civic action by uniting the campus community to read a thought-provoking and culturally relevant book. By embracing creativity and expanding the librarians’ traditional roles, our library has made new and interesting points of engagement in connection with this year’s Common Reader: There is No Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee. The closure of the campus and move to online classes due to the COVID-19 Pandemic posed new challenges for engaging students and supporting faculty. The development of a specialized LibGuide using the principles of the Universal Design for Learning allowed us to reach students and provide ways to interact with the book and supporting library materials. The introduction of a Flip Grid space in the LibGuide added another dimension to promote discussion. Here, students could record their reactions to the book and how it had inspired them to promote environmentalism. An online, librarian-led book discussion with the college’s environmental club led to the implementation of Meatless Mondays, a collaborative campaign designed to provide meatless meal planning kits for students and faculty, as well as the community at large. The goal is to help participants reduce their carbon footprints by choosing a meatless alternative on Mondays. The librarian solicited support from the grocery store, the college’s Foundation, and the environmental club.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
The Groundlings Stage

Responding in a Crisis: Pivoting to a Tele-Reference Service Model during Improbable Times

Presenters: Sandy Avila, Sarah Norris, Min Tong and Richard Harrison

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Central Florida (UCF) Libraries’ Research & Information Services Department (RIS) implemented a virtual reference service called Tele-Reference providing a safe alternative to in-person reference desk service. This session will explore how the UCF Libraries RIS Department pivoted during the public health crisis and examined reference services to meet the needs of the community. It will highlight the formation and implementation of Tele-Reference, as well as explore future plans for utilizing this innovative technology. Perspectives from librarians who have staffed Tele-Reference will also be shared. Attendees will learn about the benefits and challenges of this service to help them implement and leverage virtual reference services in new and dynamic ways to meet the needs of their community and institution.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Improv Stage

Lightning Rounds

  • Virtual Volunteering at the Public Library for Community Service Credit
    One irony of the pandemic is that while how we must conduct ourselves in public has changed, some educational requirements and deadlines have not. Volunteer hours are still needed prior to graduation and colleges seek students who participate in meaningful community service to gain insights not taught in the classroom and impact the future of their neighbors and neighborhoods. These opportunities disappeared with the onset of Covid-19 in 2020, but the Miami-Dade Public Library System found ways to reconnect with youth to offer such engagement. Through virtual programming linked to attaining volunteer hours, librarians started an at-home recycling craft project. The expected outcome was our ability to provide a school requirement and fill in a supply chain gap for a bigger community service project. After the pandemic closed the library system from walk-in services for ten weeks, reopening meant social distancing. In-house volunteering and programming remain on hiatus. Along with community service hours, a successful library program dedicated to charitable works for the homeless also came to a halt. Using required volunteering hours as the incentive, one MDPLS branch coordinated training students to recycle plastic at-home through Zoom and YouTube.
    Presenter: Ellen Book

  • Improvisation and Adaptation in Developing a Successful Long-Term Laptop Lending Program
    The University of Miami Libraries (UML) has been offering a short-term laptop lending program that lends laptops for in-house use by patrons. With COVID-19, and the instructional model shifting to an online delivery mode, there was a need for longer-term laptop lending. The need was driven by some patrons not having access to personal computers, or personal computers not being adequate for online learning. One example would be the wide adaptation of online exams and the use of remote monitoring software, such as Respondus monitoring, which were not supported on platforms such as Chromebooks. In addition, patrons would need administrative access to laptops to use them efficiently over a lengthy period. These needs paired with IT security standards posed a unique technical challenge. In line with the conference theme on Improvisation in Improbable Times, UML Technology department designed and executed an enhanced workflow of long-term laptop lending. The modified workflow allowed patrons to use laptops over an extended period, without the technical restrictions available on short-term lending laptops. At the same time, an internal workflow was developed to ensure that devices were re-imaged in between loans, to maintain the privacy and the security of patron data. This talk will frame the challenge, the steps and the methodology adopted to overcome the challenge.
    Presenter: John Buckard
  • Staff Development Day at a Distance
    Planning a staff training event during these virtual times? We will take a look at transitioning from traditional in-person learning and events to virtual/hybrid models. This lightening round draws on experience from transforming our Staff Development Day from in-person to hybrid. Let’s work to create engaging training events, centered around user experience, while avoiding the dreaded zoom fatigue.
    Presenter: Mo Curley
  • Virtual School Outreach: Successfully Reaching Teachers and Parents
    The needs of schools changed significantly in 2020, with distance learning creating gaps in accessibility to educational resources. To support academic success, the Orange County Library System (Florida) offered schools virtual library workshops for teachers and parents. These informative sessions explained how to make the most of library programs and services while social distancing and learning from home. Workshops provided a ready audience for library staff to promote the new virtual format of storytimes and the Summer Reading Program.
    Presenter: Jennifer Schock
  • Virtual Instruction Delivery – Workshops and Consultations
    The Data Services unit at the University of Miami Libraries conducts workshops on data analysis and visualization. Historically, these workshops were conducted in a collaborative lab setting with students following the instructions along with the instructor. But the COVID-19 concerns forced us to move the workshops online. Learning a new programming language/software is challenging when the students don’t have a good foundation and can easily get lost trying to follow instructions. How did we alter our workshop material and teaching methodologies to deliver the content to the students effectively? How did we minimize the distractions for the students while keeping them engaged? Did moving consultation online help us reach more patrons? You will find answers to these questions during the talk. I will talk about tips for successfully conducting workshops and consultations via zoom.
    Presenter: Thilani Samarakoon

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Second City Stage

Fabulous Five: Successful Outreach Programs During the Pandemic

Presenters: Oyuki Poletz, Amanda Liebl

Outreach during the pandemic may have been more challenging but the impact was even greater. Boca Raton Public Library had just started a new Mobile Library Services branch when closures started and no in-person or offsite programs were permitted. The team quickly pivoted to new forms of outreach which supported partners trying to meet their goals of outdoor activities, home-based learning, and open preschools. We’ll talk about how we opened two permanent StoryWalks – one in partnership with Palm Beach County in a Natural Area and one in a City park – to support literacy and fitness. Then, we’ll present our first Community Bookshelf, including installing and opening a 700+ books community library in a walk-up community center. We’ll describe our very popular recorded storytime with the police, resulting in improved community relations. We offered hundreds of fun, educational activity kits to parents through our curbside service. Finally, we’ll talk about our popular new preschool outreach program which includes 1-hour early literacy sessions with activity bags. Not only did these programs provide an opportunity to maintain school partnerships, they provided essential support to preschool teachers struggling to maintain educational goals while meeting health and safety expectations. By focusing on their goals and being flexible, our community and our partners now have stronger interest and confidence in working with us on library projects and programs.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Upright Citizens Brigade Stage

The Candy Corn Question: Passive Programming That Pulls People Closer

Presenters: Paula Willey, Andria Amaral

Passive programming supplements your library’s scheduled programming and declares, “We see you and we’re glad you’re here. What’s up?” Newcomers to the library, non-English speakers, people who are housing insecure, and people with emotional, physical, and learning differences (not to mention teens, introverts, and busy people) appreciate a light-touch, low-pressure initial interaction that acts as an icebreaker with library staff – a standing, frequently-updated solicitation to share, weigh in, or accept a challenge. Passive programming can be responsive and light-footed – it’s perfect in a crisis. We’ll talk about using prompts, polls, quizzes, and other activities to let your library community declare itself as the open, interesting, diverse group it is – even from a distance. From art prompts that invite creativity in every language to puzzle challenges with no time limit, we show how to create activities that help forge and build on relationships with library staff. Bonus: these programs support reading initiatives, foster family engagement, encourage visit frequency, and barely make a dent in your programming budget. Everyone has an opinion on candy corn – let this poll and dozens more like it show your community that the library belongs to them.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Groundlings Stage

Pivot! Pivot!

Presenters: Antoinette Giamalva, Faith Wahlers

COVID-19 took libraries by storm a year ago. Staff had to stop and figure out new ways of doing things, especially programming. We all seemed to be thrown into fast rapids, spinning towards rocks that attempted to bring down the programming librarians’ enthusiasm to help connect the patrons with each other. Rocks we had to navigate around included: budget cuts, virtual platforms, familiar and popular speakers not wanting to do virtual, sharing materials but not sharing the germs, and more. We had to learn to pivot and go with the flow as much as possible, while avoiding the rocks in order to make lasting programs that once again engage, educate and entertain patrons both virtually and in person. Pivot! Pivot! is about how to assess current problems, new problems that pop up, and preparing as best as one can for the uncertain future. It’s important to assess the problems as they come; know that its okay if something doesn’t work; take your time finding the best tools for your library; and work on keeping your original patronage, but also finding a new one. Throughout the pandemic it was important to: Get our content out in the community, Keep the quality of physical and virtual content high while keeping the sense of community. We are striving to keep a sense of community as well as provide quality content on all avenues. Today, while walking with us through our experiences, you’ll gain the tools to take to your library and assess the new normal of a pending future.

Cost of Registration

Members:  $30 
Non Members:  $50 
Contact Irina Galilova for a special discount of 20% for group registrations with 10 or more attendees.

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