There’s No Map for That: Adventures in Library Innovation, Integration, and Collaboration

February 4, 2022 (10:00am – 3:45pm EST)

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Librarians are some of the most creative people, continually innovating to provide better service to our users. Sometimes our work turns out to be an adventure! Our presenters, representing a variety of public and private institutions from across the country, will focus on ways that libraries have been agile in pivoting on major projects, making connections and collaborations across campus, and innovating to save time and enhance the library experience. You’ll also learn about new ways to produce documentation, to provide better video captioning, and to build a digital community. Come join your library colleagues at the SUNYLA Midwinter Virtual Conference on February 4, 2022 (10:00am – 3:45pm EST).

Technology requirements for attendance: Computer, internet connection, microphone/speakers (headset recommended) or telephone. Zoom will be used for this conference and is free for use by attendees.

You do not need to be a SUNYLA member in order to attend this free conference. Recordings of the sessions will be available shortly after the conference on this webpage.

SUNYLA’s Midwinter Virtual Conference Committee:
Jennifer DeVito, Stony Brook University
Bill Jones, SUNY Geneseo
Jill Locascio, SUNY Optometry (chair)
Carrie Marten, SUNY Purchase
Jessica McGivney, SUNY Farmingdale

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10:00am – 10:05am

Introductory remarks

10:05am – 10:35am

Session 1: International Collaboration in Interesting Times: Salzburg, Skype, and Stefan Zweig, by Mandi Shepp (SUNY Fredonia)

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In January 2020, an agreement was made between the Zweig Digital Project team from the Salzburg Literature Archive and the Special Collections & Archives Division of Reed Library to collaborate on a massive 40-year update to the arrangement, description, and finding aid of Fredonia’s renowned Stefan Zweig Collection, along with the complete digitization of the collection. With plans to begin travelling internationally and working together starting that March in place, arrangements were made for the creation of internships to assist with the process and work with the collection materials, a workflow was created, and we were ready to begin the process!

Clearly, none of this happened as planned, but with some major help from technology, the willingness to experiment, and a little creative innovation, we were able to shift our workflows (and timelines!) in order to continue the project virtually. This session will discuss how we adapted, progressed, and persevered, and what’s happening next.

10:35am – 11:05am

Session 2: Critical Pivot: Shifting from In-Person to Online Promotions, by Kari Chrenka and Lisa Wilczak (Central Michigan University Libraries)

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In the last year and a half, we found that marketing during a pandemic is exceptionally challenging. Our Libraries’ marketing committee was eagerly looking for ways to amplify our efforts by leveraging and experimenting with new tools and applications. In past years, we hosted an in-person event informing students about Library services and the services of academic partners located within our building. Overall, we were satisfied with the attendance. However, this past year, we opted to create a digital presentation instead of having a face-to-face event. With this shift, we were astounded to find that we could reach over ten times the amount of people that usually attended our actual face-to-face event. This experience has helped our messages to become more focused, dynamic, and engaging. Our information is going further. We have fostered relationships that have sparked additional collaborative projects, and we have started to rethink how we package and disseminate our information.

11:05am – 11:15am

Break (10 minutes)

11:15am – 11:45am

Session 3: A Library Website Redesign in the Time of COVID, by Erin Rushton and Bern Mulligan (Binghamton University Libraries)

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In December 2019, Binghamton University Libraries initiated a website-redesign project. Our goal was to create a user-centered, data-driven website with refreshed content and upgraded functionality. Originally, our redesign plan included in-person card-sorting activities, focus groups, and usability studies, but when the Libraries went remote in March 2020, we had to quickly reassess and adapt our processes and workflows. In this presentation, we will discuss how we completed this significant project remotely by relying on effective project management, communication, teamwork, and flexibility. We will also share the outcomes of the project and discuss our future goals for the Libraries’ website.

11:45am – 12:15pm

Session 4: Chain will keep us together: Use of Power Automate to communicate approvals of eBooks, by Stephen Walker and Carlos Ruiz (Lehman College Library)

This presentation will discuss the new strategy of eBook acquisitions during Covid-19 and how the use of Microsoft Power Automate implemented a more efficient way of ordering. Academic Libraries across the world closed down their physical collections and relied purely on their electronic collections. This course of action forced many Librarians and staff think of different ways of conduction new approaches to their duties. The Head of Access Services and the Circulation supervisor were asked to replace their traditional physical textbook acquisitions to switch to a digital eBook purchasing format. Messaging the College community and the use of google docs were used first but were troublesome.

During the pandemic the Circulation manager transitions from Google docs to Microsoft SharePoint with Power Automate to aid workflow approvals when titles were submitted. The transition to this process became more important after the exit of our Head of Technical Services. Communication between Access and Technical Services staff needed to be planned and flow along the approval chain. This implementation allowed the approval of a purchase to be electronically sent to the Acquisitions assistant for purchase. The use of Power Automate has also been adapted to aid subject Librarians go through a 3 year back log of donations. This presentation will instruct and aid library staff how to set up a clean communication process for ordering materials, weeding and collection development.

12:15pm – 1:00pm


1:00pm – 1:05pm

Introductory remarks

1:05pm – 1:35pm

Session 5: Expand Your Search with Widgets, by Marisha C. Kelly (Northcentral University)

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The Northcentral University Library has embedded various search widgets from diverse platforms so that users can extend their searches beyond results provided in its discovery search engine. These widgets include Google Scholar, ProQuest, Statista, and ERIC among others. Strategies for incorporating search widgets will be discussed.

1:35pm – 2:05pm

Session 6: From metadata to PDF: leveraging literate programming to generate human readable documentation, by Daniel Woulfin (Global TIES for Children – NYU)

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While preparing to publish datasets, I ran into a problem: how can I make information in hard-to-understand and specialized metadata structures more accessible for potential users/reusers of the data? And can this solution help solve data deluge problems from multiple sources like ILS systems, repositories, web statistics like Google Analytics, usage statistics, program attendance, etc that can overwhelm users? My answer was to take an old approach to this relatively new problem by using literate programming, a methodology defined by Donald Knuth in 1984 that integrates a programming language and at least one document markup language in the same file, to generate replicable and versionable documentation and reports. This presentation will be useful for anyone who benefits from assessment reports or deals with data/metadata in a library. Attendees will be given access to a sample Github repository with examples along with resources that they can bring back to their institution in order to to generate their own custom reports as websites, word documents, PDFs, and other formats.

2:05pm – 2:15pm

Break (10 minutes)

2:15pm – 2:45pm

Session 7: Building Digital Community: Chat Reference as Virtual Volunteer Social Practice, by Andrea Marshall (Oregon State Library)

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Chat reference protocols evolved into virtual social practices for the volunteer librarians of Answerland, the digital chat platform of Oregon State Library. This presentation will examine how Answerland expanded from reference practices in a digital space to building community with staff and volunteers encouraging one another through collaboration and creativity.

2:45pm – 3:15pm

Session 8: Libraries and Archives Online: A New Hope, by Hannah Lee (California State University, Dominguez Hills)

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Some digital collections don’t fit within existing systems: the scope might not be right for one system, the file sizes too large for another system, or other systems limitations. When the University’s archivist asked for assistance in making the university course catalogs and class schedules publicly available in an online environment with serious limitations, the goal of the project was to quickly make the materials discoverable after.

The journey from inception to completion involved assessing system limitations, exploring compromises, and marketing the new materials to the departments and university personnel who would utilize the resource. This project used a combination of LibGuides, cloud storage systems, the University’s website system, Primo VE, and social media platforms.

3:15pm – 3:45pm

Session 9: Crash Course in Captioning: Tools for Making Your Videos More Accessible, by Christy Allen (Furman University)

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Do you need to caption videos but don’t know where to start? This session will provide an overview of several captioning options including: YouTube auto-captioning, outsourcing captioning, and manually creating your own captions. By the end of the session, you will have a good understanding of what captioning options are available and will be empowered to caption videos yourself.


Wrap up