Reflecting on Reference: A one-day conference

May 11, 2018, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm














Location: Hopshire Farm & Brewery in Freeville, NY


Description: Reflecting on Reference is a one-day conference for participants to learn about and discuss the most pressing issues in reference services today, including user-centered design, reference and "fake news" and how we respond professionally to uncomfortable or inappropriate reference interactions.



8:30-9:00 Check in and light continental breakfast


9:00-9:30 Welcoming remarks and Overview of the day with Tom Peters



Sharpening Your News Evaluation Skills with Michael Engle

Fake news is not news you disagree with. In fact, it is not news at all. It is content generated to drive eyeballs to ads (e.g., clickbait) or to spread false information (rumors, conspiracy theories, junk science, and propaganda, for example). Learn ways to spot fake sources, find reliable and accountable sources, identify bias, and share information responsibly that you can practice yourself and share with your patrons. 


10:30-10:45 Break



User-Centered Design: Listening to Patrons to Improve Reference Services & Spaces with Sara Wright, Tobi Hines & Camille Andrews

According to the New Media Consortium's Horizon Report, 2016 Higher Education Edition, "The Internet and mobile technologies have revolutionized how people find, consume and interact with content." Whether it's for a college or university, K-12 school, or public library, redesigning reference to accommodate users is seen as a major concern in long term planning for sustainability.


Sara Wright, Tobi Hines, and Camille Andrews from Albert R. Mann Library at Cornell University will discuss trends in redesigning service points in libraries and share some of the work done at Mann over the last several years to improve the experience for the 21st century library patron. Participants will learn about, and how to apply, a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods (many of which can be done with limited budget and staff time) to gather feedback on the behaviors and needs of your patrons. This will be a participatory presentation - be prepared to get creative!


12:15-1:15 Lunch



Sneaky Reference: Building Critical Inquiry with Margo Gustina

In this interactive session, participants will dig into the sticky work of helping patrons who want what we don't want to give. We'll uncover barriers to seeing our patrons as partners in inquiry, and identify practices that will empower staff and build critical thinking in the people we serve.


2:15-3:00 Short Presentations:


Finding Fiction with Leigh Romano

One public library's experience with genrefication.


The Future of Virtual Reference with Caitlin Kenney

A brief discussion of Ask Us 24/7 and its place in the ever-changing world of reference.


Patron Expectations in Special Collections with Hilary Wong

At Cornell's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, we help a wide variety of patrons: Cornell students and faculty, researchers from elsewhere, community members, genealogical researchers. Some of our most difficult patron interactions come when patrons don't know our limitations and are angry we can't immediately provide what they need. So one of our key tasks in Reference is managing those expectations, both before patrons come and once they arrive.


3:00-3:15 Break



B.Y.O.S. - Bring Your Own Stories moderated by Tom Peters

This part of the day is interactive and gives you, the participants, a chance to share your own reference stories whether they are awkward, funny, sad, horrible, maddening, inappropriate, heartwarming or bizarre. Feel free to share their outcomes and whether you would handle them differently in hindsight or not.


4:15-4:30 Summary of the day with Tom Peters & Wrap-up


4:30-5:30 Optional happy hour with local beer, wine and music 




221_Peters.JPGTom Peters has been an academic librarian for 30 years. During that time he has been involved in many reference services and projects, in-person and remote, low-tech and high-tech. Since 2012 he has served as Dean of Library Services at Missouri State University in Springfield. His current research interests focus on the history and culture of the Ozarks. His biography of John T. Woodruff was published in July 2016 by Pie Supper Press. He's currently researching a book about the rise of KWTO AM radio in the Thirties, the Korn's-A-Krackin' hillbilly radio variety show in the Forties, and the Ozark Jubilee nationally broadcast live television program in the Fifties. 



Michael Engle is a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Cornell. He has given two dozen workshops, class-related instruction sessions, and public presentations about spotting fake news and critically evaluating media sources. He also selects news resources and reference titles for the Cornell University Library.





191_Mann_Staff_2016_Photos_Sara_E_Wright.jpgSara E. Wright is the Head of Learning, Spaces, & Technology at Albert R. Mann Library, part of the Cornell University Library (CUL) system, where she leads a team focused on instruction and assessment, services and spaces, and the incorporation of emerging technologies into our learning spaces. She has been a long-standing member of the library's learning technologies committee, which assists with the design and assessment of library learning spaces. It is through this committee, as well as her work on the library's website redesign team, that she has become increasingly interested in usability and UX design and how the principles of UX can inform decision making in all areas of the library.



732_Mann_Staff_2017_Photos_Tobi_Hines.jpgTobi Hines is the Head of Operations & Outreach at Cornell's Albert R. Mann Library, providing leadership and direction for access services, interlibrary loan, course reserves, reference services, outreach, and exhibits and public programming. She serves on the library's learning technologies committee, which assists with the design and assessment of library learning spaces, as well as Cornell University Library's usability working group, which helps different library departments design and run user testing on websites and applications.




384_Camille.JPGCamille Andrews is Emerging Literacies Librarian at Albert R. Mann Library at Cornell University Library (CUL), where she works on online learning, multimodal literacies and the mannUfactory makerspace. Since 2004, Camille has also been involved in: outreach; instruction; assessment for learning outcomes, technologies, services and spaces; information literacy initiatives; and learning technologies. She is extremely interested in the intersection of library and information science, user experience, instructional design, 21st century literacies and new technologies. Camille graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1996 with a BA in Literary and Cultural Studies (focused on Francophone African and Caribbean Literature) and from Simmons College in 2003 with a master's in Library and Information Science.


902_Capture.JPGMargo Gustina is a librarian who mainly works on using libraries in uncovering systemic barriers to community well-being. The Southern Tier Library System is nice enough to pay her for the honor.






879_romano.JPGLeigh Romano received her Master's Degree from the University of Michigan, and was a librarian in Michigan before moving to beautiful New York almost ten years ago. She is currently the Adult Services Librarian at Seymour Public Library in Auburn, N.Y. Originally from the Midwest, Leigh enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, quilting, and spends lots of time walking her dog.







395_Kenney.JPGCaitlin Kenney is currently the Engagement and Education Services Coordinator at the Western New York Library Resources Council. She received her Master of Library Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo and she has worked in various libraries for almost eight years. Caitlin loves taking walks with her dog and travelling.





868_Wong.JPGHilary Dorsch Wong (M.A, M.S.L.I.S.) is Reference Coordinator at Cornell's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. She has also worked in Interlibrary Loan at Ithaca College and Wells College.

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