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Connecticut Information Literacy Conference: Program Information

Program Information


Conference Schedule: 

8:30 – 8:45  Welcome and Introduction

8:45 – 10:00 Keynote Address

10:00 – 10:15 Break

10:15 – 11:15 Breakout Sessions

11:15 – 11:30 Break

11:30 – 12:30 Breakout Sessions

12:30 – 12:45 Break

12:45 – 1:15 EBSCO Presentation and Closing Remarks

Keynote - Fobazi Ettarh


Resisting Vocational Awe: Reframing The Role of the Instructor 

Keynote Bio: Fobazi Ettarh’s research is concerned with the relationships and tensions between the espoused values of librarianship and the realities present in the experiences of marginalized librarians and library users. In 2018, she coined the term and defined the concept of “vocational awe,” which describe, “the set of ideas, values, and assumptions librarians have about themselves and the profession that result in beliefs that libraries as institutions are inherently good and sacred, and therefore beyond critique.” In her article “Vocational Awe: The Lies We Tell Ourselves,” she describes how vocational awe can lead to burnout and a sense that one’s own self-care is less important than the work being done.

Although written before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ettarh’s words have resonated with many library workers throughout the nation in the current moment, as we strive to serve our patrons and our profession as best we can amidst the competing demands of home, work, and health. Her remarks on equity and inclusion in libraries are just as timely and important. In a 2019 interview with Cathy Hannabach, she spoke of the resistance that marginalized library workers can face when advocating for better working conditions and talked about what a changing world might offer in the way of alliances and social progress. When describing what a better world would look like to her, Fobazi Ettarh said, in part, “a place where change is embraced, where people work as a collective rather than working in opposition to each other –and to one’s own interest — …a place where conflict isn’t seen as a four-letter word but as a fulcrum to a better time, a better organization, a healthier world and place.”

-Bio from LinkedIn

Breakout Sessions: 10:15 - 11:15


A. Investigating Authority and Promoting Social Justice in Statistics Education

Christina Jones, Head, Education Library, Indiana University, Bloomington

Julie Lorah, Assistant Professor, Indiana University

Ethan Fridmanski, Data Librarian, Indiana University

Description: For some, the use of quantitative measures to arrive at a conclusion appears neutral; numbers don’t lie. In this session, the presenters discuss a course project that seeks to disrupt the notion of neutrality in statistics. Through a curated list of readings and class assignment, the presenters offer readings that challenge students to consider bias and oppression on the part of researchers who seek to advance a particular point of view. Moreover, many of the readings challenge students to critically examine the representation of knowledge and how format and visualization may affect the perception of the viewer.  Strategies to help students interrogate the authority of a given data set will be discussed, along with ways in which quantitative researchers can think critically about their own work. Opportunities to add to the curated list and amplify this work will conclude the session.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to demonstrate strategies that enable students to interrogate authority.
  • Participants will be able to contribute recommended reading to a crowd-sourced list of reading in social justice in statistics.
  • Participants will be able to locate quality data sources to share with students and scholars.

Speaker Bios: Julie Lorah is currently an assistant professor at Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana, in the counseling and educational psychology department where she teaches quantitative methods courses, including intermediate statistics, multivariate statistics, and multilevel modeling. She received her PhD in educational psychology from the University of Washington. She is interested in the study and application of advanced statistical models, particularly the multilevel model, and moderation model; and methods for interpreting these models, including particularly measures of effect size.  In addition, she investigates and engages with issues of diversity within the field of statistics and statistics education.  

Ethan Fridmanski earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame in 2021 where he specialized in computational and statistical methods. He also holds an M.A. in Sociology from Notre Dame (2015) as well as a B.A. in History from Illinois State University (2013). His research interests include computational social sciences, data services, political economy, network analysis, complex systems, and economic history.

Christina Jones is the Head of the Education Library at Indiana University, Bloomington. Along with providing research and instructional support to the students and scholars at the School of Education, Christina curates a large children’s literature collection. She mentors and teaches pre-service librarians in the Department of Information and Library Science in the Luddy School of Information, Computing and Engineering in courses ranging from collection development to storytelling. 


B. Teaching Beyond the Classroom: Meeting Students Where They Are

Susan Skaza, Digital & Instruction Librarian, Norwalk Community College
Becky Brunson, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Norwalk Community College

Description: While one-shot library instruction sessions are an essential component of introducing information literacy skills to students, the teaching opportunities embedded within one-on-one interactions are not to be ignored. At Norwalk Community College, our statistics show that our daily interactions with students beyond the classroom (at the reference desk or on the library floor) outnumber those who attend scheduled instruction sessions, thus it is imperative that we utilize the opportunities offered by these unscheduled interactions as an integral part of our DEI strategy to remove barriers to our library resources and services. Meeting students where they are involves helping them learn about information resources available to them and breaking through barriers to information and technology access. Additionally, building relationships by engaging in regular conversation helps us to anticipate and address cultural barriers to information that stem from backgrounds and knowledge practices different from our own.

Learning Objectives: 

1. Identify challenges to information access that may result from differences in socio-economic status, academic preparation, and cultural background. 

2. Develop strategies and best practices to address student information literacy needs during one-on-one interactions outside the classroom through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.

3. Take away marketing and outreach strategies designed to make library resources more accessible and increase student engagement beyond the classroom.


Our presentation will draw direct connections between the ARCL Information Literacy Framework, diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts, and library services.  Specifically, we will focus on the following frames:

• Information has Value

• Searching as Strategic Exploration

• Scholarship as Conversation

Speaker Bios: Becky Brunson is the Reference & Instruction Librarian at Norwalk Community College where she enjoys designing research guides and video tutorials that aid student research practices. She is interested in the ever-increasing role of digital technology in information literacy instruction as well as the student’s user experience.

Susan Skaza is the Digital & Instruction Librarian at Norwalk Community College where she works to maintain the library website and online systems, manages their social media presence, and performs reference and instruction duties. She graduated with her MLS from Simmons University in May 2020.


C. The Model Information Literate Individual is White: White Language Supremacy and the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy.

Anders Tobiason, Multimedia Development and User Experience Librarian / Assistant Professor, Boise State University

Description: Who is the model information literate individual? Taking its cue from Critical Discourse Analysis, Antiracist Black Language Pedagogy, and Habits of White Language (HOWL) Supremacy, this presentation questions the foundational image of the information literate individual lying at the heart of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. This presentation illustrates how the above theories can be applied to the ACRL Framework’s definition of the Information Literate Individual; specifically how that individual is coded as white. The idea that one needs to develop “information literate abilities” is particularly problematic because it proposes a white frame of reference as ordinary and neutral. HOWL, in particular, gives us tools to interrogate how this is encoded in the Framework’s language and assessment practices.As we begin to understand how whiteness underlies the Framework, we can begin to problematize its concept of information literacy and eventually find ways to allow a greater diversity of information literacies to flourish.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Understanding how the ACRL Framework encodes the ideal information literate individual as white.
  • Modeling critical interrogation of the ACRL Framework through an Antiracist lens.
  • Introducing the concept of White Language Supremacy as a way interrogate our information literacy definitions, teaching, and assessment practices.

Speaker Bio: Anders Tobiason is Multimedia Development and User Experience Librarian / Assistant Professor in the Albertsons Library, Boise State University. He received his Ph.D in Music Theory and his M.A. in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Anders's research interests include anti-racist library instruction, multimedia development, critical discourse analysis of library instructional standards and materials, performing arts librarianship, and social media use in library instruction.


D. Critical Race Theory in Library Instruction: A Brief History, Current Practices, and Future Work

Olivia Rossetti, Instruction & Community Engagement Librarian, Fitchburg State University

Description: Critical Race Theory (CRT) has gained national prominence in recent years, having been pulled into politicized debates about race, K-12 education, and whether discussion of race and racism have a place within the classroom. Against this backdrop, it is useful to evaluate CRT’s use within the Library classroom.

Since the 1990s, CRT has been applied in educational settings, in an effort to uncover the dominant narratives within our educational systems which privilege Whiteness, and give voice to the students of color put at a disadvantage by these often obscured narratives. In the decades since, while literature has been published linking CRT and libraries, only since 2020 has literature been published explicitly applying CRT to library instruction. This significant gap in our field’s literature requires further examination, and thoughtful consideration for how CRT can be most effectively applied to resist White Supremacy within our field. 

Learning Objectives: By the end of this session, attendees will be able to identify the key elements of CRT, critique the ways in which CRT has and has not been used within library instruction settings, and brainstorm future applications of CRT within information literacy pedagogy.

Speaker Bio: Olivia Rossetti (she/her) is the Instruction and Community Engagement Librarian at Fitchburg State University, where she also serves as part of the Library’s Anti-Racism Team. She completed her M.L.I.S. at Simmons University. .

Breakout Sessions: 11:30 - 12:30


E. Making Space: DIY Punk Strategies for Critical Information Literacy

Kevin Adams, Information Literacy Librarian, Alfred University

Edward Gloor, Teaching and Learning Librarian, University of Houston

Description: Critical information literacy and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Punk have a lot in common. Our research explores how DIY Punk can inform critical information literacy practices in the library classroom. Similar to the way practitioners of critical information literacy work with students, DIY punk communities are built on members collectively resisting the societal tendency toward hegemonic reproduction of white supremacy and capitalist power structures by critiquing its systems and structures. 

In this breakout session we will give an overview of DIY Punk Culture, share our lived experiences in different punk communities, illustrate the relationship between DIY Punk and critical information literacy, and explore how punk culture can inform the ways that we practice critical information literacy. We suggest that this subculture teaches us how we can build community and empower student voices through sustained teaching practices. Participants will be encouraged to participate in the session. No mics required. No breakout rooms.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will:

  • Engage with the ways that they can alter their classroom environment to foster a welcoming and safe community. 
  • Apply punk and critical information literacy strategies to their current teaching practices.
  • Learn about the connections between critical information literacy and DIY punk communities.

Speaker Bios: Kevin Adams is the Information Literacy Librarian at Alfred University. His research focus is on critical information literacy and alternative publications.

Edward Gloor is a Teaching & Learning Librarian at the University of Houston. His research focus is in critical information literacy, with a recent interest in critical assessment.  


F.  Inclusive Pedagogy through a Critical Race Theory Lens

Michelle Mitchell, Instructional Services Librarian, SUNY Morrisville
Breanne Crumpton, Information Literacy Librarian for the Humanities, Appalachian State University 

Description: Inclusive pedagogy is a framework through which teaching can be approached that is student-centered focusing on the classroom climate, rapport, accessibility, content, and reflective practices. However, like other conversations around DEI issues in libraries and information literacy, race and race relations are not explicitly engaged in inclusive pedagogy guides. In this workshop, participants will learn inclusive pedagogy practices to incorporate into their information literacy one-shot sessions. The presenters will then introduce an anti-racist lens to inclusive practices by exploring how some of the tenants of Critical Race Theory (CRT) can be applied to the library classroom. CRT will be engaged as a social justice commitment to help with the erasure of the systems of oppression as discussed in Sofia Y. Leung and Jorge R. López-McKnight’s introduction to their edited book Knowledge Justice: Disrupting Library and Information Studies through Critical Race Theory.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn inclusive pedagogy practices to incorporate into their information literacy one-shot.
  • Participants will be introduced to tenets of Critical Race Theory and use these tenets as an anti-racism lens through which to view inclusive pedagogical practices.

Speaker Bios: Michelle K. Mitchell is the Instructional Services Librarian at SUNY Morrisville. She holds a MSLIS from Simmons College and a BA in English from Le Moyne College. Michelle is passionate about critical librarianship, instruction techniques and practices, assessment strategies, and technological literacy. She also teaches a credit-bearing information literacy course, which is a requirement for the International Pathways Program (IPP). 

Breanne Crumpton is the Information Literacy Librarian for the Humanities at Appalachian State University. She received her MLIS from UNC Greensboro. Her research interests include DEIA work in libraries, social and racial justice to overcome systemic barriers, and critical information literacy.

G.  Exploring the ACRL Frames Authority is Constructed and Contextual and Scholarship as Conversation While Using a Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy Approach with Pre-Service Teachers

Jenelle Johnson, EDI and Educational Outreach Liasion Librarian, University of Pittsburgh-Bradford
Marc Ross, Head of Hanley Library and Haskell Memorial Library, University of Pittsburgh-Bradford and Titusville 

Description: This workshop will demonstrate the liaison librarian's role in incorporating antiracist pedagogy and equity frameworks into information literacy sessions with pre-service teachers to supplement their selection and planning methodology. Exploring the ACRL frames Authority is Constructed and Contextual and Scholarship as Conversation while using a culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy (HRL) approach provides the pre-service teachers with an opportunity to engage in critical conversations to reframe authority, analyze scholarship, and elevate criticality to disrupt White supremacy in educational practices. Through this approach, students will examine their own biases and examine the author’s authority, perspective or experiences, bias, and whether the author centers the oppressor's voice or centers marginalized voices in a way that honors and celebrates their histories, experiences, and identities.

Learning Objectives: Following this session, participants will:

  • Recognize and confront their biases when selecting collections materials and creating instruction sessions.
  • Gain a basic understanding of culturally relevant, antiracist pedagogies and equity frameworks such as Historically Responsive Literacy (HRL) and its importance for pre-service teachers.
  • Be able to apply critical literacy dimensions and antiracist pedagogy when creating information literacy instruction for pre-service teachers.
  • When analyzing their library's teaching curriculum and collection, the librarian will utilize equity and antiracist pedagogical frameworks such as HRL.

Speaker Bios: Jenelle Johnson is the EDI and Educational Outreach Liaison Librarian at the Hanley Library on the Pitt-Bradford campus. Before accepting the position, Jenelle worked in public education for twelve years, with seven years as a middle school teacher of English and reading and four years as a library media specialist.  Jenelle earned her MLIS from the University of Clarion and a BS in Secondary Education and a BA in History/Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Marc Ross is Head of the Pitt-Bradford Hanley Library and Pitt-Titusville Haskell Memorial Library. Marc has also served as a part-time instructor, helping students transition from high school to college. Prior to being named head librarian in Titusville and Bradford, Marc held several library positions on the Pittsburgh campus, including information technology facilitation specialist, research assistant, and circulation desk specialist. Marc earned his MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently working on his Doctor of Education from Pitt.

EBSCO Presentation:

People, Process, and Products: EBSCO's support for Diversity in Academic Research

Courtney Ellis Peckman, MA MLIS, Manager of Product Management

Description: EBSCO understands that diversity, equity, and inclusion are vital to libraries and the populations they serve for three fundamental reasons. First, students and scholars want to be able to access research material on vulnerable or underserved groups that are authored or created by members of those groups.  The second consideration is that libraries need to make sure that their patrons feel represented by including authors and research materials that reflect the diversity of the population they serve. Finally, it is imperative that libraries provide access to diverse content in order to broaden users’ perspectives by providing a variety of points of view. This session describes EBSCO’s ongoing efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in our company’s culture, and in our products.

Speaker Bio: Courtney Peckham leads a team of Product Managers who oversee EBSCO’s Academic Research Databases. She has been a member of EBSCO’s product Management team for 15 years, and currently resides in Gloucester, Massachusetts.