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(L-R) Regina Bouley Sweeten, Gene Bundy, Richard Baysinger, Karen Nelson and Christy Ruby.
(L-R) Regina Bouley Sweeten, Gene Bundy, Richard Baysinger, Karen Nelson and Christy Ruby.

Five librarians from Eastern New Mexico University gave presentations at the New Mexico Library Association (NMLA) Annual Conference from Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Albuquerque.

They discussed their presentation topics with the ENMU News:

Karen Nelson, Public Service Librarian

Topic: Diversity in the Library

Describe your presentation topic and why it is important to you.

My presentation topic was about diversity in academic libraries - what it is, why it matters, and ways we can promote diversity, and assess our efforts. To me, diversity is seeing and accepting the humanity shared by everyone, making accommodations as needed, working for that elusive abstraction of the common good. It is promoting equity and inclusion for all members of the community.

How did you prepare for the conference? What were some of the highlights from your presentation?

I prepared for the conference by reading a lot of scholarly articles from the last 20 or so years. I revised a presentation I gave about diversity in libraries in March and added a section on assessing diversity efforts. I also shared some experiences from working on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council at my previous place of employment. It has been useful to learn about other librarians and institutions that prioritize diversity and the different ways they have attempted to implement discussion and improvement in addressing diversity.

It is interesting to me how research shows how the library profession does not have a lot of diversity, and in spite of active recruitment, many people from diverse backgrounds do not continue in the profession. It is useful to consider ways to make libraries and campuses locations where everyone has a place and is valued. It has also been informative to learn about ways to assess these efforts that aren't limited to surveys. I think emphasizing diversity invites us to be creative, and to be constantly learning.

Describe your conference experience.

I just went for the day I was scheduled to give my presentation, and I only stayed for another session, where I learned about efforts out of the state librarian's office to assist in promoting library issues and securing funding at the state level. It was a good opportunity to meet and interact with other librarians in the state.

What was your favorite part of the conference?

My favorite part was the comments and discussion that came during and after my presentation, with people sharing their own experiences and insights about promoting diversity. One participant shared how she felt it was important to always include Native Americans on committees, and another spoke about how she tried to give careful attention to diversity when hiring for her library.

Addressing diversity requires us to face up to things that can make us and others uncomfortable, but at the same time, it can help create better relationships, workplaces, and interactions.

Christy Ruby, Public Relations Librarian

Topic: Social Media and the Library

Describe your presentation topic and why it is important to you.

I presented on Social Media and the library. I explained the things I post, my social media strategy, my challenges, and my successes in using social media to promote the library and the library services. I also discussed what other libraries are doing as far as social media. I also explained the results of research on this topic from a variety of sources, and how to apply the research in libraries of all sizes, budget, and types.

How did you prepare for the conference? What were some of the highlights from your presentation?

I researched social media and the library, and I put together a presentation full of screenshots, explanations, and key points from my research. I was surprised by the attendance of my presentation. The room was completely full, and I heard nothing but positive feedback from the attendees of my presentation. After my presentation, I created a LibGuide for other librarians to view on their own, helping them implement the strategies I explained in my presentation.

Describe your conference experience.

I attended many sessions, but I learned the most from the LibGuides Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) presentation and the keynote address. I learned many things from the keynote speech, but I was challenged to find better ways of evaluating library experiences, especially the experience of patrons. I plan to use this new knowledge in measuring the effectiveness of the library. The keynote speaker also discussed the challenges in preserving electronic media, especially web pages, electronic books, and electronic journals.

I attended a presentation about the FAQ section of LibGuides. In this presentation, I learned the process UNM uses when creating new FAQ entries, and the process by which they maintain their FAQ database.

What was your favorite part of the conference?

I enjoyed meeting a variety of library staff across the state and hearing how they run their libraries; I enjoyed sharing my experiences and the collaboration that took place at the conference.

Regina Bouley Sweeten, Public Service Librarian/Archivist

Topic: Not as Dark as You Thought: Special Collections at Eastern New Mexico University (presented by Regina, Gene Bundy and Richard Baysinger)

Describe your presentation topic and why it is important to you.

My portion of the panel was to explain the evaluation process that has gone into assessing our archival holdings in recent years, particularly with the move back into the renovated building. I pointed out that our inventory on those materials are largely held internally at the moment, and they are described on the Special Collections and University Archives library guides, which are a brand new feature that rolled out this August.

I ended by discussing my plans to bring the finding aids out into WorldCat and the Rocky Mountain Online Archive, which will allow for greater discoverability of our amazing resources by people outside of our institution. Who knows who will want to come here when they find out what awesome materials we have?

How did you prepare for the conference? What were some of the highlights from your presentation?

I talked with my coworkers about what they planned on discussing so that we did not duplicate information. Most of the prep work of collecting, assessing and presenting information is already part of my daily duties, so I did not have a lot of extra work to do. Mostly trying to think about the best way to present the information. We had a relatively small but rather engaged audience, which was nice.

Describe your conference experience.

I attended my other coworkers' panels, but I did get to go to a couple of other sessions that I found interesting. In one, the presenter talked about her research of conducting oral histories with library staff to determine documentation practices. A neat take-away from that was the idea of having people conduct oral histories as part of their exit interview, so that information on position processes is not lost, but also so that history of the institution is retained.

I also enjoyed a presentation of a case study where mystery rooms were used in conjunction with the ACRL (Association of College & Research Libraries) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education in order to work towards pedagogical outcomes in an engaging manner.

What was your favorite part of the conference?

I really enjoyed being able to see what librarians across the state in different libraries are doing and seeing what developments are relevant to our students… Okay, and free pens from the vendors are always nice

Richard Baysinger, Public Service Librarian/Media Services

Topic: Not as Dark as You Thought: Special Collections at Eastern New Mexico University

Describe your presentation topic and why it is important to you.

My portion of the panel was to explain the development, implementation, evaluation and adjustments made to the ENMOHP and the Thesis Collection. This included the use of Biblioboard as a resource for the storage and presentation of these collections to our institution and researchers worldwide.

How did you prepare for the conference? What were some of the highlights from your presentation?

Like Regina, I talked with Gene and her about what they planned on discussing so that we did not duplicate information. In my case like Regina's, a majority of the prep work is part of my prep work of collecting, assessing and presenting information is already part of my standard workday.

I have spoken to faculty and staff on several occasions about the project, so the presentation developed quickly. While our presentation had a small turnout, our group were engaged and asked questions that lead to a nice discussion on digital/online resources.

Describe your conference experience.

Due to familial constraints for Gene and me, we were only at the conference for our presentation. We did have enough time to look through the vendors, and many of them had cool items and resources available for libraries statewide.

What was your favorite part of the conference?

Gene and I had several nice conversations on our drive to and back from the conference. While that might seem trivial, it was nice to reconnect with a colleague.

Gene Bundy, Special Collections Librarian

Topic: Not as Dark as You Thought: Special Collections at Eastern New Mexico University

Conference Experience: I'm the responsible person for Regina, Richard and me presenting at the conference. I had never attended NMLA before.

If we go back to the summer of 2017, Geni and I took a bunch of our family on a trip to ride the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad. Geni's brother lives in Taos, so we thought that when we left Chama, we could go over the mountains, see the Rio Grande Gorge bridge, have lunch in Taos, see the Pueblo, then back to Santa Fe.

When we got to the bridge, there was a State Bookmobile parked in the parking lot. Never having seen the inside of a Bookmobile, and working where I do, I went over. It turned out that the interim State Librarian was taking a shift in the Bookmobile. I introduced myself, and we talked for a few minutes. I told her, briefly, about Jack Williamson. She had never heard of him; said most people, librarians included, in the State were like her. They don't know Jack. And, that I should do a presentation on him at NMLA.

Later in the year, she talked to Melveta who suggested that the three of us do a joint presentation on Special Collections. So, it's all my fault that we did this.

I had done a presentation about Jack for another conference a few years ago. I dusted it off, updated to include the refurbished building and space, and used that presentation.

Richard and I spent just less than two hours at the conference hotel. We both had familial concerns that precluded our spending more time than that.

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