Amigos Member Conference - Next Steps: Create and Cultivate a Career That Matters

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The 2020 Amigos Member Conference, "Next Steps: Create and Cultivate a Career That Matters", will focus on beginning, middle and even retirement phases of a successful, fulfilling library career.

How do you win a race with no definitive finish line? Planning, of course. You’ve found your calling in libraries and now it's time to plan that career, move it past the middle stages or step out to a new adventure. Actively cultivating your career can allow you to go farther, find more fulfillment and create work that matters. Manage your career from start to finish with sessions focused on setting career goals and vision, assuming a leadership role, succession planning and much more.

Join us Wednesday, May 13, 2020 as we examine all those stages to help you set your own pace and win your career journey!

Open to members and non-members, the Amigos Annual Online Conference will consist of a keynote speaker and concurrent break-out sessions. Members are invited to also attend the annual Amigos Member Business Meeting carried out by our leadership during conference.

For more information about this conference, contact Tracy Byerly at or 800-843-8482, ext. 2893.

Candidates for Board of Directors (Librarian) – three to be elected for a three-year term:

portrait: Dr. Lea BriggsDr. Lea Briggs
Library Director, Northwest Missouri State University

   Read nomination acceptance form

   Listen to a short message (305 KB .wav)

portrait: Ms. Tracey MendozaMs. Tracey Mendoza
Dean of Libraries, University of the Incarnate Word (TX)

   Read nomination acceptance form

   Listen to a short message (195 KB .wav)

portrait: Ms. Mary MoroneyMs. Mary Moroney
Executive Director, Eastern Oklahoma District Library System

   Read nomination acceptance form

   Listen to a short message (281 KB .wav)

Candidate for Board of Directors (Independent) – one to be elected for a three-year term:

portrait: Ms. Kathleen LutherMs. Kathleen Luther
Executive Director, Seminary Support, Concordia Seminary (MO)

   Read nomination acceptance form

   Listen to a short message (362 KB .wav)

Times - CDT
Session Links
9:00 am
Welcome and Opening Keynote
Go to Session Portal
Julie Todaro
10:00 am
10:15 am
Amigos Member Buisness Meeting including update from CEO
Go to Session Portal
Tracy Byerly/Amigos Board of Directors
11:00 am
11:15 am
Student Panel
Go to Session Portal
Chris Benner, UIUC and Celenia Graces, UT
11:15 am
Make the Path by Walking: Creating or Recreating Your Job
Go to Session Portal
Lisa Martin, Hannah Lee Park, Jill Cirasella and Melody Rood
11:15 am
Advocating for Ourselves: Optimizing our Professional Journeys
Go to Session Portal
Jami Yazdani
12:00 pm
Lunch Break
1:00 pm
Making the Jump: From Staff to Faculty
Go to Session Portal
Bridgit McCafferty
1:00 pm
PIVOT: Transitioning First Career Skills into a Library-centric Second Career
Go to Session Portal
Kelly Drifmeyer
1:45 pm
2:00 pm
Amigos Update: Continuing Education and AskAcademic
Go to Session Portal
CES/AskAcademic staff
2:00 pm
Amigos Update: SImplyE
Go to Session Portal
Christine Peterson
2:00 pm
Amigos Update: Courier and Member Discount Services
Go to Session Portal
Courier/MDS staff
2:30 pm
2:45 pm
Closing Keynote - The Omega and the Alpha: Succession Planning and Documentation from the End to the Beginning
Go to Session Portal
Elizabeth Szkirpan

Julie Todaro portrait

Keynote Speaker: Julie Todaro

Session Time: 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. CDT

Keynote Session Title: Welcome and Opening Keynote

Session Description: TBD

Speaker Bio: TBD

Lisa Martin portrait

Speakers: Lisa Martin, Hannah Lee Park, Jill Cirasella and Melody Rood

Session Time: 11:15 - 12:00 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Make the Path by Walking: Creating or Recreating Your Job

Session Description: Many jobs in the library world come with detailed job descriptions, long-standing responsibilities, and clear expectations. But sometimes we are the first person to hold a certain position and must ourselves define, develop, and breathe life into it. In other words, our first and most important responsibility is figuring out what the job actually is — a feat of analysis and creativity we must accomplish in our first days, weeks, and months on the job.

Hannah Lee Park portraitAlternatively, sometimes we hold an established position but need or want to redefine it, either a little or a lot. We might seek to do this because it would improve resources or services for patrons, prepare our library for trends or technologies on the horizon or perhaps even boost our own job satisfaction or career trajectory.

This session will feature four panelists who have created or recreated their jobs. They will share their experiences (both successes and lessons learned) and lead a structured activity in which attendees will either imagine how to approach a new position or consider how to adjust their existing one.

Lisa Martin Bio: Lisa Martin is the coordinator of outreach as well as a business librarian at the University of Houston. As Coordinator of Outreach, she works with a team of librarians who focus on relationship building and messaging, with the goal of increasing awareness of library services across campus and in the community. She also works closely with faculty in her liaison areas. Her research interests include emotional intelligence and leadership; effective library outreach efforts; and the post-graduation information skills of business students. Lisa received her MLIS from the University of California at Los Angeles and her BA from the University of Redlands.

Jill Cirasella portrait

Jill Cirasella Bio: Jill Cirasella is Associate Librarian for Scholarly Communication & Digital Scholarship at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In this position, she oversees scholarly communication initiatives, thesis/dissertation services, and digital scholarship and preservation services. Her research focus is scholarly communication, broadly construed: recent and current projects examine anxieties surrounding open access dissertations, benefits of transforming dissertation deposit into a scholarly communication consultation, attitudes about practice-based library literature, and the professional experiences of hard-of-hearing librarians.

Hannah Lee Park Bio: Hannah Lee Park is the Education and School of Professional & Extended Studies Librarian at American University in Washington, D.C. She works with students, faculty, and staff on their research and instructional needs. She also oversees the Curriculum Materials Center, which contains children’s and young adult literature and K-12 teaching materials. Her research interests include digital and information literacy, multimodal composing practices, and equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Melody Rood portrait

Melody Rood Bio: Melody Rood is the Student Success Librarian at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She works closely with student success stakeholders across campus to serve the information needs of non-traditional students. She also serves as a liaison in the Research, Outreach, and Instruction Department where she offers support for the International and Global Studies Program. In addition, Melody was one of two librarians who recently took over running the library's Open Education Mini Grant and related OER initiatives. Her research interests include open education, open pedagogy, EDI efforts, and bridging the gaps between academia and community.

Jami Yazdani portrait

Speaker: Jami Yazdani

Session Time: 11:15 - 12:00 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Advocating for Ourselves: Optimizing our Professional Journeys

Session Description: When was the last time you advocated for yourself as an individual professional? While most information professionals have experience advocating for their libraries and organizations, less time and attention is paid to the often-uncomfortable skill of advocating for ourselves. Personal advocacy is a critical skill that can help you optimize your professional journey and promote our profession. Participants will learn about the importance of personal advocacy for professional goals and be introduced to techniques for articulating their strengths and value, and actionable strategies for advocacy and optimizing their careers.

Speaker Bio: Over more than 15 years working in academic libraries, Jami Yazdani led innovative projects and planning initiatives, coached and encouraged staff through successes and failures, and guided (sometimes reluctant) groups of diverse colleagues and stakeholders towards consensus and positive outcomes. She holds an MLIS from Louisiana State University, a Masters in Technology Management from University of Maryland University College, and a Project Management Professional Certification from the Project Management Institute. Jami's volunteer work with professional organizations allowed her to develop a deeper understanding of the strategies that best support leadership development. She is the founder of Yazdani Consulting and Facilitation, where she helps leaders at all levels solve management problems, achieve project success, and amplify the strengths of their team.

Bridgit McCafferty portrait

Speaker: Bridgit McCafferty

Session Time: 1:00 - 1:45 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Making the Jump: From Staff to Faculty

Session Description: Many librarians aspire to fill roles at academic institutions where librarians are considered faculty, but what does this transition entail, and how do you prepare for it? I will provide an overview of what it means to be faculty, how this transition changes the job of the librarian, and the process we followed at my institution when we changed status. This will give common sense suggestions for those thinking about becoming faculty, as well as the positive and negative outcomes of this transition for my staff. I will draw from my experience transitioning librarians at my institution to faculty and guiding several of these librarians through the promotion in rank process, including former public and school librarians. I will address those who want to secure jobs at institutions where librarians are faculty, and those who want to transition their institution to faculty status.

Speaker Bio: Bridgit McCafferty is the Dean of the University Library at Texas A&M University-Central Texas and has led the library for seven years. Prior to this, she oversaw reference and instruction for the library. She has taken on major administrative projects for her university, including recently chairing the SACSCOC Accreditation Reaffirmation Compliance Committee. She coauthored "British Postmodernism: Strategies and Sources" and has written several book chapters about library assessment and library support for nontraditional students.

 Kelly Drifmeyer portrait

Speaker: Kelly Drifmeyer

Session Time: 1:00 - 1:45 p.m. CDT

Session Title: PIVOT: Transitioning First Career Skills into a Library-centric Second Career

Session Description: There's an abundance of newly-minted library professionals who experienced success in a first career but were led to pivot to a second one - librarianship. I'm one of those professionals, and I found out – often through trial and error - that there are challenges unique to pursuing success a second time around.

I'd like to share my journey and the lessons learned as I lived this transition. In this session I'll share tips and advice – from translating skills and experience in one field to another; surviving the jolt of starting from scratch in areas I already had expertise, to the surprising ways potential employers viewed my strengths (and weaknesses), and how I successfully responded. My adventure helped me to discover a different, more evolved perspective of who I was and what kind of librarian I wanted to become. Come laugh a little and be reassured that, while some of us might have to learn these lessons the hard way, I hope these tips on moving into a library career make your own path a little easier.

Speaker Bio: An Assistant Professor and Research and Instruction Librarian at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), Kelly Drifmeyer teaches in the areas of research methods and information literacy. Her current research work is supported by a 2018 Carnegie Whitney Grant from the American Library Association (ALA) on the use of positive reinforcement training to enhance learning outcomes in both the classroom and individual instruction. Her published grant project, an annotated bibliography on the principles of positive reinforcement training for both animal and human learners, can be found at She is published in the Spring 2020 volume of ALA's Public Services Quarterly Journal and recently developed the inaugural issue of the OLLU library's Splash newsletter,

Speaker: CES/AskAcademic staff

Session Time: 2:00 - 2:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Amigos Update: Continuing Education and AskAcademic

Session Description: TBD

Speaker Bio: TBD

Christine Peterson portrait

Speaker: Christine Peterson

Session Time: 2:00 - 2:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Amigos Update: SImplyE

Session Description: TBD

Speaker Bio: As the Engagement & Emerging Technologies Coordinator, Christine works with members to make the best use of Amigos services, identify member needs and create services to assist them. She also closely follows technology trends to discover how Amigos can promote and support these projects/services and possibly provide them as a member benefit. Currently, she guides the implementation of the SimplyE service, an open source app that brings multiple ebook feeds into a single, easy-to-use interface for patrons.

Christine has long been known for her technology training throughout the Southwest, using her unique approach to making complicated topics easy for librarians to understand. Prior to joining Amigos, she was the Manager for Continuing Education & Consulting at the Texas State Library & Archives Commission, where she guided and supported libraries statewide. She also worked for both San Antonio College and the Florida Institute of Technology as a systems librarian, converting physical library catalogs to their first automated systems.

Speaker: Courier/MDS staff

Session Time: 2:00 - 2:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Amigos Update: Courier and Member Discount Services

Session Description: TBD

Speaker Bio: TBD

Elizabeth Szkirpan  portrait

Closing Keynote Speaker: Elizabeth Szkirpan

Session Time: 2:45 - 3:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: The Omega and the Alpha: Succession Planning and Documentation from the End to the Beginning

Session Description: Whether you are stepping into a new role, in the middle of a job well done, or preparing for departure, the importance of thinking ahead cannot be overstated. Many libraries are seeing an increasing trend with the departure of long-time employees resulting in panicked efforts to fill big shoes and regather lost institutional knowledge. Yet, succession planning and thorough documentation appear to be a relatively new trend in libraries.

Beginning in 2016, Tulsa Community College (TCC) began a bench strength and succession planning project to prepare for unexpected departures of long-time or critical employees. This recognition of need resulted in a framework for evaluating the bench strength, or the ability for team members to fill one and other's roles in the event of an emergency or temporary absence. Through a series of team exercises, essential documentation was created to ensure that those filling in temporarily or stepping into a role permanently had a better understanding of not only the tools and tasks necessary to complete a job, but also the contacts, training, and pre-identified support networks they may need. This same framework is now being implemented at the University of Tulsa McFarlin Library to document critical tasks and important information while helping to prepare for future decision-making regarding tasks, team projects, and the library’s bibliographic services going forward.

This presentation will cover key concepts in succession planning, such as why all library employees should take part in cross-training, how to get started with your own documentation project, and a discussion of what different versions of what succession planning may look like in action. The presenter will share examples of evaluation and planning documents, and will speak to the similarities or differences between their first succession planning process and the current succession planning process. Examples of good documentation with the idea of succession planning in mind will be shared, as well as ideas of how to measure adequate preparation for succession planning within your own library.

Speaker Bio: Elizabeth, previously of Tulsa Community College (TCC), is a double-graduate of the University of Oklahoma, completing a Bachelors of Journalism with a focus on Professional Writing in 2014, and completing a Masters of Library and Information Studies with a focus on Academic Librarianship and Information Theory in 2017. She has recently been hired as the Director of Bibliographic Services at the University of Tulsa McFarlin Library where she oversees acquisitions, cataloging, and electronic resources.

Elizabeth has completed a variety of certificates, including a Certificate in Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) and a Certificate in Disaster Information Specialization (DIS) from the Medical Library Association (MLA), and a Certificate in Project Management from TCC. Future education plans include obtaining a Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Studies with a focus on Technical Services history and changing roles.