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ARL Membership Convenes in Minneapolis for Spring 2019 Meeting

Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member representatives, ARL Leadership Fellows, staff, and guests gathered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday–Thursday, May 7–9, 2019, for the 174th Association Meeting. All available presentation slides and other materials are linked from the speakers’ names or session titles in the following summary of the meeting.

Tuesday began with advisory group and committee meetings in the morning. Lunch was followed by a session highlighting the work of Public and US Federal Libraries, moderated by Nancy Gwinn (Smithsonian), who also presented a history of the founding and growth of the Smithsonian Libraries, concluding with the current “One Smithsonian” initiative to unify the 21 branches. Greg Cram (New York Public Library) discussed a pilot project to make all books available to anyone at any time at no cost to the user. Kurt Graham (National Archives and Records Administration) presented an overview of NARA’s three components: Regional Archive Facilities, Federal Records Centers, and Presidential Libraries. Paul Wester (National Agricultural Library) described how NAL fulfills its mission to facilitate the creation of agricultural knowledge through the acquisition, curation, and dissemination of information. Julie Silverman (National Library of Medicine) gave an overview of how NLM is making open science and scholarship more usable, attributable, and sustainable, including by building a workforce for data-driven research.

Next, ARL member representatives participated in the Business Meeting, which ARL president Susan Gibbons (Yale) opened with a moment of silence for colleagues who have passed away since the Fall 2018 Association Meeting: Patricia Battin (Columbia), James Billington (Library of Congress), Shirley Echelman (ARL), Kaye Gapen (Alabama, Wisconsin–Madison, Case Western Reserve), Bill Gosling (Michigan), Joe Hewitt (UNC Chapel Hill), Susan Nutter (NC State), Carlton Rochell (NYU), and Sidney Verba (Harvard). Also at the beginning of the Business Meeting, new ARL member representatives were introduced by their colleagues: Ken Burhanna (Kent State), Talia Chung (Ottawa), Kurt Graham (NARA), Joe Meisel (Brown), Greg Raschke (NC State), and Shali Zhang (Auburn). Susan Gibbons introduced new interim directors Janet Hulm (Ohio), Elizabeth Kirk (Harvard), and Michael Vandenburg (Queen’s).

In the late afternoon, guests were welcome to attend a screening of the videos competing in the fourth annual Arlies, ARL’s film festival, emceed by Ken Burhanna (Kent State) and Leslie Reynolds (Colorado Boulder). That evening the University of Minnesota’s (UM) Weisman Art Museum hosted a reception where UM provost Karen Hanson offered brief remarks.

Susan Gibbons welcoming meeting participants
ARL president Susan Gibbons convenes the Association Meeting

On Wednesday morning, Susan Gibbons opened the Association Meeting by recognizing that the University of Minnesota is located on traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous people, specifically Dakota land ceded in the Treaties of 1837 and 1851. She thanked the meeting planning committee for their work and thanked the meeting hosts—Wendy Lougee (Minnesota), Lisa Carter (Wisconsin–Madison), John Culshaw (Iowa), and Beth McNeil (Iowa State)—who sponsored the receptions and helped with local logistics. Gibbons introduced the ARL Board of Directors, the 2018–2019 ARL Leadership Fellows, and guests from partner organizations.

Trevor Dawes (Delaware) moderated the first program session, on Learning Analytics. In this session, Megan Oakleaf (Syracuse) discussed the continuum of data that describe learning outcomes as well as the opportunities and challenges libraries must address as they develop their strategies. She highlighted findings from the project Library Integration in Institutional Learning Analytics. Lance Kennedy-Phillips (Penn State) described efforts to create a new data system that monitors student learning assessment processes and fosters coordination, communication, and collaboration across academic and co-curricular programs, colleges, and campuses.

Jon Cawthorne (Wayne State) moderated the next session, on Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education. Economist Nathan Grawe (Carleton) described his research into the declining numbers of students graduating from high school and how these declines may affect all segments of universities, including libraries. Participants shared their thoughts on how libraries and library staff can be part of the solution, including fostering a sense of belonging on campus among students, which could help them decide to stay enrolled.

After lunch, Clifford Lynch (CNI) moderated a two-part session on Transformations in Scholarly CommunicationsPart 1 featured a panel of ARL member representatives addressing campus coalition building to transform the existing scholarly communication system. Jeff MacKie-Mason (UC Berkeley) shared the UC experience of building political support on campus, particularly with faculty, for terminating a system-wide contract with Elsevier. Chris Bourg (MIT) described the faculty engagement process used by the MIT institute-wide Open Access Task Force, highlighting a recommendation for department-level plans for supporting open science. Elaine Westbrooks (UNC Chapel Hill) discussed working with the UNC Faculty Council to pass a resolution affirming their commitment to the university’s open access policy.

Part 2 of the Transformations in Scholarly Communications program was divided into concurrent sessions on (1) Community-Owned Infrastructure and (2) Partnerships in Scholarly Publishing. In the Community-Owned Infrastructure session, principals from the Open Platform InitiativeLisa Carter (Wisconsin–Madison), Yolanda Cooper (Emory), and Ann Thornton (Columbia)—led ARL member representatives in the continuation of a grassroots conversation about taking collective action to ensure the interoperability, sustainability, and scalability of core academy-owned open scholarly infrastructure. The session on Partnerships in Scholarly Publishing featured lightning round presentations and discussion on three partnerships in scholarly publishing: (1) Peter Berkery (AUPresses) on TOME, (2) Gwen Bird (Simon Fraser) on the Public Knowledge Project and Open Journal Systems, and (3) Judy Ruttenberg (ARL) on engagement with the Social Science Research Council.

At the Wednesday evening reception, Susan Gibbons toasted the ARL member representatives who plan to retire or step down before the Fall 2019 Association Meeting: Pat Burns (Colorado State), Nancy Busch (Nebraska–Lincoln), and Bernie Reilly (CRL).

Thursday morning kicked off with two recognition ceremonies. First, Sue Baughman (ARL) presented certificates to the 2018–2019 ARL Leadership Fellows, who concluded their program at this meeting. Next, Ken Burhanna and Leslie Reynolds presented the Arlies awards for the top videos in nine categories and the winner of Best in Show.

Following the Arlies, Beth McNeil (Iowa State) moderated a session on Destabilizing a Dominant Narrative. In this session, Lynn Pasquerella (Association of American Colleges & Universities) discussed the AAC&U’s partnership with higher education institutions to develop Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers. Ruth Koleszar-Green (York) shared stories about her work to reassert native culture in traditional and contemporary times. She stressed the importance of taking risks and building relationships to foster cross-cultural understanding.

Geneva Henry (George Washington) moderated the final session on Artificial Unintelligence and the Truth about Technology in which Meredith Broussard (NYU) challenged the audience to consider their assumptions that technology is the solution to all problems. Broussard and Henry also explored implicit bias and ethics in the context of artificial intelligence and technology more generally.

Susan Gibbons thanked all the speakers, participants, and staff and adjourned the Association Meeting at noon on Thursday.

See also tweets shared with the #ARL19MN hashtag.