Newman librarians are speaking up at conferences

Mar 16, 2017
Jeanette Parker and Steve Hamersky


That’s what you’d expect from librarians, right?

Well, not from Director of Library Services Steve Hamersky and Assistant Librarian Jeanette Parker who have been busy with different speaking engagements these past two semesters — and they’re not done talking yet!

Hamersky and Parker both attended the Kansas Library Association (KLA) Annual Conference in October 2016 to give a presentation on LibGuides. Hamersky said, “Most sessions had about 10 or 15 people in them. We had more than double the audience in ours because we all have the same problem to solve — how do we give students access to better research.”

More recently, they both attended the spring Private Academic Library Section (PALS) of the KLA meeting, which was held at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kan. During that meeting, they didn’t speak but took the opportunity to learn.

Assistant Librarian Jeanette Parker
Assistant Librarian Jeanette Parker

“The spring meeting,” said Parker, “is a time to learn. It’s a business meeting and continuing education opportunity. We learned about Makerspace and 3D printing.”

The PALS group convenes three times each academic year: once in the fall, at the KLA Annual Conference, then again in the early spring at a host university, and one more time in April at the College of University Libraries (CULS) Spring Conference.

Hamersky and Parker will speak again at the meeting in April, which will take place at the Oread Hotel in Lawrence, Kan. Parker said the CULS is still part of the KLA, just a wider membership that includes two-year colleges, private colleges, and regent colleges.

“It’s a much more traditional conference,” she said. “We’ll have a keynote speaker in the morning, then a breakout session, lunch, then more sessions in the afternoon.”

The theme of the CULS conference is “Building the Future on Strong Foundation,” and the presentation that Hamersky and Parker will present is titled, “Connecting with Faculty to Enrich Student Research.”

Parker said, “Basically, what we’re talking about is how we build relationships and talk with faculty in order to better serve our students. We build our foundation through faculty relationships.”

The two will speak for about 45 minutes and then allow time for some questions at the end. Hamersky mentioned that they are the first “speakers of the day, then we’ll go listen to other presentations after. We couldn’t go last year to this conference because of the distance and timing.”

Both said they are excited to attend, speak and learn more from other Kansas librarians. They also spoke very highly of the support they receive. “We’re getting a lot of encouragement from our Provost to participate in these meetings,” said Parker. “She’s even allowed us to hire a sub while we’re gone so the student workers have some extra support when we’re not here.”

Director of Library Services Steve Hamersky
Director of Library Services Steve Hamersky

The opportunity to speak at the CULS conference came from an invitation during the Feb. 1 PALS meeting. “The head of PALS,” Hamersky said, “who’s also on the CULS committee, asked if we’d be willing to do a full session.”

Parker said she is happy for the exposure for Newman University.

“There is usually a bigger presence at this one, reps from most all Kansas colleges,” she said. “I think it’s a good outreach, letting them know we have value. Especially for some of the bigger schools,” noting that Newman is the only private college presenting at the CULS conference.

More speaking opportunities are in store for Hamersky and Parker. They will attend and speak at a conference in June, which will take place at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., and they will also attend the fall KLA meeting, with a possibility of speaking to the audience there.

As for all the appearances, they are happy to be doing what they are doing.

“Sometimes it can be hard to get librarians to talk about what they’re doing,” said Parker. “I’m excited, I like talking, getting ideas from other people, sharing what I’m doing, because you get even more ideas that way … it’s fun!”

She added, “I really enjoy going to conferences and learning, and networking with other librarians. It makes it so nice, if I have questions, then I have all these contacts to connect with. I can also see what’s coming up and what’s new.”