Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member representatives, staff, and guests gathered in Washington, DC, on Tuesday–Wednesday, October 3–4, 2017, for the 171st Association Meeting. All available presentation slides are linked from the speakers’ names in the following summary of the meeting.
During the ARL Business Meeting on Tuesday afternoon before the start of the Association Meeting, the ARL membership ratified the Board’s election of Susan Gibbons (Yale) as ARL vice president/president-elect and elected three new Board members to serve three-year terms: John Culshaw (Iowa), Vivian Lewis (McMaster), and Adriene Lim (Oregon). For more details, see “ARL Board of Directors 2017–2018 Elected by ARL Membership.”
Also in the Business Meeting, the membership voted to invite Simon Fraser University Library and Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries to join as the 124th and 125th members of the Association, effective January 1, 2018.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mary Case (Illinois at Chicago), then ARL president, convened the Association Meeting. Members of the Member Engagement and Outreach Committee introduced new ARL member representatives: Ann Campion Riley (Missouri), Jon Cawthorne (Wayne State), Susan Parker (British Columbia), Tom Putnam (National Archives), Beth Sandore Namachchivaya (Waterloo), and Elaine Westbrooks (North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Interim directors were also introduced: Tammy Dearie (UC San Diego), Kathleen DeLong (Alberta), Peggy Fry (Georgetown), Monica Ghosh (Hawaii at Manoa), Alan Grosenheider (UC Santa Barbara), Holly Jeffcoat (Connecticut), Greg Raschke (North Carolina State), Leslie Reynolds (Colorado Boulder), Deirdre Scaggs (Kentucky). The Association honored attorney Robert H. Land for pro bono contributions to ARL.
Kevin Smith (Kansas) moderated the opening session, “Tackling the Fake News Phenomenon.” Making sense of what is true and what is not requires all of us to be critical consumers of news and information. The volume of fake news or “alternative facts” continues to grow and libraries are expanding their efforts to help students build essential news-evaluation skills. In this session, Mary Minow (Harvard) discussed the joint project of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center and the American Library Association to offer social media users tools to evaluate information. Angie Oehrli (Michigan), and Linda Whang (Washington) highlighted models from their libraries, where they are using courses and other tools to help students develop information-evaluation strategies.
At a reception on Tuesday evening, the membership saluted ARL library directors who are retiring before the next Association Meeting in April 2018: Artemis Kirk (Georgetown), Jim Mullins (Purdue), and Susan Nutter (North Carolina State).
The next morning, Wednesday, October 4, the meeting picked up again with a session on “Library Impact on Student Success,” moderated by Damon Jaggars (Ohio State). Student learning and motivation, student-centered learning environments, retention, grades, first-year students, learning analytics, and modes of library instruction were some of the topics addressed by three teams in this program. The teams were Melissa Bowles-Terry (Nevada, Las Vegas) and Jade Winn (Southern California), Michael Flierl and Clarence Maybee (Purdue), and Jan Fransen and Shane Nackerud (Minnesota). The speakers discussed their project goals and findings for developing campus partnerships and contributions to student success.
After lunch, Adriene Lim (Oregon) moderated a session on “Civil and Human Rights.” Following tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, this August, the US is experiencing a national debate on the constitutionality of “hate speech” as an expression of “free speech.” A panel—Steven Jamar (Howard), Mark A. Puente (ARL), Mary-Jo Romaniuk (Manitoba), and John Unsworth (Virginia)—discussed the implications of this polarity for higher education and for the research library and archives community. The speakers explored how libraries can help their communities fight hate and bigotry and advance human rights. Examples included the University of Virginia Library’s developing archive about the “Unite the Right” rally and community response and the University of Manitoba Libraries’ response to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
When the Association Meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Mary Case turned over the presidency to Mary Ann Mavrinac (Rochester), who began her one-year term as ARL president. The ARL and CNI Fall Forum, “Libraries and the Research Enterprise,” was held the next day, Thursday, October 5.