Association for Colleges and Research Libraries Conference, Baltimore, Md

On March 22nd – 25th, I attended at the Association for Colleges and Research Libraries Conference held in Baltimore, Md. Traditionally, I have followed the teaching and learning track at ACRL, this year I wanted to focus more of the leadership and admin sessions.

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The session, Hitting the Reset Button, Resonant Leadership was informative. Seasoned leaders discussed how they managed challenging times at their perspective places. Of course, lately in all fields, emergent, strategic, and participative styles have been ranked high in the preferred category leadership approach. This session was about resonant leadership. What is resonant leadership?   The concept of being compassionate and showing empathy in times of uncertainly in the work environment. Providing hope and being mindful during periods of change and stressful times.

The library leaders spoke about specific instances in regards to management and staff related issues.

“From a supervisor’s point of view, it’s important to be open, transparent, and communicative no matter how the staff perceives you“

The leaders also touched on lessons from a “crisis”

  • Listen to staff, regardless if their thoughts or opinions aren’t fitting for the solution
  • Sometimes you have to try it their way and fail, in order to go forward
  • Show humility and bend a little but stay true to your personal beliefs, goals and mission of the library and university.

The session I really wanted to attend was the NMC Horizon Report. It highlights the aspects on the horizon for academic and research libraries.

Six Meta-categories for NMC Horizon Report Topics:

How does our library measure up to these categories?

  1. Expanding Access & Convenience :
  • Increase to our library hours 24/5
  • Staff and security for 24/5
  • Updating our public service policies is ongoing
  • Better communication and rapport IT
  • Access to databases have been subpar at times
  1. Spurring Innovation:
  • We have done some things in the past/ recent years ( i.e. workshops, events, podcasting, collaborations etc)
  • Looking for the new movements & idea s
  1. Fostering Authentic Learning & Discovery
  • Multimedia lab fosters creativity for students
  • The commons is provides space
  • Certain collaboration rooms on 2nd & 3rd floor provide the technology and tools students desire
  1. Balance Societal Norms: (libraries adapt to changes in economy, government, consumers, education paradigms)
  1. Tracking Research & Patron Data
  • For a small duration we captured, analyzed and presented our data, but have fallen off since
  • Research of faculty & altmetrics? Needs improvement – we house and store faculty research with D-Space but not tracking usage with altmetrics and others measurements
  1. Spreading Digital Literacy
  • Hopefully heading a digital literacy class in the fall of 2017

Hip-Hop & Librarianship

Hip Hop Librarianship roundtable at ACRL 2017

The primary reason for attending this conference was to engage in dialogue about a bibliography of resources that a few librarians and I created dealing with Hip Hop and Librarianship. We discussed exploring the intersection of hip hop culture and our professional practice.  We also explored topics on digital and information literacy, the research process, outreach, and library programming. However, a more defined theme or questioned was clearly identified as we moved forward.  How were presenters from the roundtable actively implementing Hip Hop in the scope of Information Literacy at their academic institution?

Here are what some of the roundtable presenters discussed:

Arthur explaining plagerism through hip hop– Twitter photo via @LaurenWallis

Craig Arthur – Engagement Librarian at Virginia Tech

  • I use hip hop as a means to meet students where they are. Hip hop is unique in that it is one of the few facets of popular culture that regularly confronts issues of race, class, authenticity, and authority head on and without apology
  • I teach roughly 45 one shot sessions a semester; a good 75% of those are first-year seminar courses.
  • In regards to sampling – Rather than “don’t plagiarize or you’ll get kicked out of school!” we can reframe that narrative into “the world is a big place with billions of things that can inspire you; as long as you cite your sources you’ll be good!”
  • In regards to Hip Hop – “At a relatively young age, I learned how to be a part of something that was not about me and, as a result, I became very aware of my unearned societal privilege”
Foster shows that crafting music is “synonymous with the frameworks of information literacy”.

Forrest Foster – Head, Public Services Winston Salem State University


  • Being embedded into a course “electronic media” to explain how crafting music is synonymous with the frameworks of Information literacy.
  • Increase visibility to the library by connecting and attracting faculty, students and community members who are interested in this.
  • Progressing education in Hip Hop. Most courses are about the history of or about icons or moguls. Crafting music production  assignments demonstrates another level of creativity and critical thinking for students.
  • Exposure and opportunities to teach and do other exciting events on campus.


  • Teaching faculty giving the librarian full autonomy of the class
  • Having appropriate/desired technology for entire class to demo music producing software
  • Student level of musicality; many are on different levels which dictates instruction and delivery.

So what information did I obtain from this experience? I learned that as librarians, we will and are finding unique ways to connect with students and faculty.  Also, the ability to tie one’s personal hobby into their professional occupation is self-fulfilling and rewarding.  Plus, many librarians and instructions are finding different avenues to connect librarianship and hip hop for cultural and social reasons.

Featured image: By Brlaw8 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

 Author: Forrest Foster


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