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Chapter Updates

New England Chapter Annual Meeting

Registration is now open for NEASIST’s Annual Conference, It Took a Pandemic: Reinventing Libraries in an Era of Change, which will be held virtually through Zoom on Friday, March 5.

The theme for this year's conference is “It Took a Pandemic: Reinventing Libraries in an Era of Change.” Since Spring 2020, libraries and other information science institutions have had to transform many existing practices and services to continue to meet the needs of their patrons and communities in the midst of the global pandemic. While the past year has brought immense challenges to our institutions, it has also provided opportunities to reexamine practices, provide innovative new services, and to collaborate with one another.

Space is limited so please register early!


Please note that the schedule is subject to change up to the day of the conference. All times listed are EST.

See below for more detailed descriptions of sessions.

9:30-10:00 AM: Welcome, Conference Logistics, & Reports from the Chapter Executive Committee.

10:00-10:50 AM: Keynote - Elaine Martin, Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

10:50-11:00 AM: Break

11:00-12:00 PM: Panel Presentation (sponsored by Simmons University Student Chapter of ASIS&T)

Panelists: Deeth Ellis (Boston Latin School), Kevin Kidd (Wentworth Institute of Technology), David Leonard (Boston Public Library), Kate Nyhan (Yale University), Jae Rossman (Yale University)

12:00-12:45 PM: Break for lunch

12:45-1:45 PM: Presentation “Usability Evaluation of COVID-19 Dashboards” – Rong Tang, Simmons University and Simmons University student research teams

Presenters: Ray Stevens, Danielle Pytko, Sherri Schon, Jennifer Ronca, Nick Bodanza, Jocelyn Cozzo, Chris Kaufmann, Yishan Zhang

1:45-2:00 PM: Break

2:00-3:15 PM: Breakout Session 1 (choose from one of two options below at time of registration)

Option 1 - Projects and Programs (presentations and Q&A)

Mega Subramaniam and Linda Braun, “Essential Research Needed: The Role of Public Libraries Before, During, and After Crises”

Ann Graf, “Covid-19 and the Graffiti Art Response”


Option 2 – Workshop (registration limited to 60 participants)

Sarah Moazeni, Daria Hafner and Karen Storz, “Alice in Zoomland: Jam Tomorrow, Jam Yesterday, and Jam Today”

3:15-3:30 PM: Break

3:30-4:45 PM – Breakout Session 2 (choose from one of two options below at time of registration)

Option 1 - Instruction and Instructional Design (presentations and Q&A)

Sharon Radcliff, “Re-envisioning Instruction for the Virtual World”

Naresh Agarwal, “Teaching online: Instructional design and practical strategies for remote education”

Cindy Li, “Promote Library Services During COVID-19”


Option 2 – Workshop (registration limited to 30 participants)

Africa Hands, “It only took a pandemic to level up our skills”

4:45-4:50 PM: Conference wrap-up

Detailed Session Descriptions

(more will be added as sessions are finalized)

"Usability Evaluation of COVID-19 Dashboards"

Fifteen graduate students at School of Library and Information Science, Simmons University, conducted a usability testing and UX research project throughout the Fall 2020 semester on publicly accessible COVID-19 dashboards and tracking systems. This is a team project for the LIS455 Usability and UX Research course, taught by Dr. Rong Tang. Student teams identified research questions and developed testing instruments to carry out remote usability research via Zoom on four dashboards (Coronavirus Tracking by Johns Hopkins University, COVIDview by CDC, WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard, and

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) COVID-19). Student teams recruited testing participants, ran multiple usability testing sessions, collected and analyzed data. In addition, the teams performed content inventory, conducted heuristic evaluation, and developed wireframes to articulate recommendations for improving their usability.

Mega Subramaniam and Linda Braun, “Essential Research Needed: The Role of Public Libraries Before, During, and After Crises”

When the pandemic struck and library buildings closed, public libraries nationwide had to re-envision their services. In some cases, re-envisioning harnessed a deep commitment to working with community members, organizations, stakeholders, and decision makers to build crisis-related services. Unfortunately, in other cases, closing of buildings meant quickly taking tried and true services and reformatting them for the virtual world, even if those services were not needed during the pandemic. In order to better understand the challenges libraries faced in crisis times, and to design solutions with communities that public libraries serve, Subramaniam and Braun facilitated a series of participatory design sessions, in the summer of 2020, with over 130 library staff nationwide. This process led to the development of a Field Guide that library staff can use to prepare for a crisis and a call to action for library and information science (LIS) researchers to collaborate with library staff to investigate the emerging research problems before, during, and after crises. This presentation will introduce the participants to the field guide that LIS educators can share with their students and a research agenda designed to engage LIS researchers in building stronger practices in the areas of community engagement, public library structures and systems, staff training, and programs and services.

Ann Graf, “Covid-19 and the Graffiti Art Response”

The graffiti art community is historically quick to respond to social events with vibrant images in public spaces. The Covid-19 pandemic was no exception. While research for many academics was either slowed or halted, or at the very least changed, by the isolation imposed by the pandemic, the artistic expression of graffiti artists and the documentation of their works could still take place in relative safety. In parallel, academic examination of such works on the popular image sharing site Instagram could also take place in a very accessible way, from the quarantined comfort of the home office set-up so many of us found ourselves working in, as institutions closed their doors to slow the spread of the virus.

On two separate days in late April and early May last year, I searched for two tags on Instagram: #covidgraffiti and #coronavirusgraffiti. There were 157 and 174 posts, respectively, using these tags at that time. I gathered screenshots of all images that were actually of graffiti art. Examination of the images, accompanying tags, texts, locations, likes, and numerous other facets of the works reveals a number of visual themes in response to this serious global challenge.

Sarah Moazeni, Daria Hafner and Karen Storz, “Alice in Zoomland: Jam Tomorrow, Jam Yesterday, and Jam Today”

Teaching information literacy in a remote COVID environment presents unique challenges. Transforming in-classroom instruction to Zoom or even asynchronous sessions is not an easy translation task for librarians who embrace tactile teaching activities. Together, we will explore and discover hands-on learning activities through free, browser-based platforms that enable students to bring their ideas to the information literacy table and experiment with search techniques.

In this workshop, we will approach remote teaching innovation from an asset-based and feminist pedagogical framework. The tools we have chosen to share are transparent and collaborative, and center students’ ability to create knowledge together as well as to question and construct authority. Tools include Google Jamboard and Flippity, both free and easy to learn browser-based programs. Our goal is to choose tools that are flexible and allow students to literally shape the lesson due to their non-hierarchical natures. Participants will have the opportunity to try out tools as well as to exchange ideas about activities and tools among themselves.

Sharon Radcliff, “Re-envisioning Instruction for the Virtual World”

The presenter will describe how they reinvented their "Information Literacy and Sustainability " course, originally designed for face-to-face instruction, as a completely virtual course while preserving the lecture, discussion, group work, peer reviews, office hours, and class survey project that were core components of the course. She will describe various elements of Blackboard, Google Drive, and Zoom used to re-create these activities in the online environment. They will also discuss how various functions worked, and feedback received from students both positive and constructively suggesting changes that could be made in some approaches. The presenter will particularly focus on the group work as a nexus of controversy in the class. They will discuss problems and solutions that arose around group work in zoom. The presenter will discuss how they made the class as inclusive as possible, including complying with ADA, and adapted the assessment aspects of the course to accommodate the problems students were having related to Covid-19.

Naresh Agarwal, “Teaching online: Instructional design and practical strategies for remote education”

In the past few years, online teaching has become increasingly prevalent. Many of the instructional design strategies such as the backward design process apply both to face-to-face and online teaching, while there are certain differences arising out of the difference in modality. The end goal is to ensure that the degree of student engagement remains equally effective no matter which modality is chosen for teaching. In the year 2020, heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, both students and instructors in various institutions had to quickly adapt to remote education, even if they had been sceptics of online learning in the first place. In this presentation, I will share my experiences in online teaching since 2014, the instructional design and teaching strategies I've employed, and my experiences in helping fellow faculty move online during the COVID crisis - especially by creating videos on using Panopto, Zoom, etc. The presentation should shed light on workable, practical strategies to facilitate active learning and student engagement in a remote, online environment, and special considerations to keep in mind during the time of a pandemic.

Cindy Li, "Promote Library Services During COVID-19"

Public health crisis has created many big challenges for patrons to use our services, but this also force us to explore different options. In this presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to learn how different tools can be implemented to assist library virtual reference, engage student learning, and provide technical support for patron when majority of our courses have switched to online. Presenter will also share their story about collaborating campus IT to integrate library platform into learning management system and have webinar to attract faculty to use library resources and work together, as well as co-sponsor with other academic unit to advocate library services. Participants will leave with motivation and tools to start their own journey to use new technology and team with others to promote library.

Africa Hands, “It only took a pandemic to level up our skills”

The pandemic has brought many of us an opportunity, imposed or voluntary, to reinvent – to learn and experience new skills. We’ve quickly switched modes of communication with patrons from face-to-face to online. We’ve changed our work environments, moving to home offices, troubleshooting technical issues, and installing new equipment. We’re also multitasking differently and using new tools to organize our days. It’s been “go, go, go” since spring 2020. But, have we had a chance to reflect on and assess the new skills we’ve developed along the way? In this interactive session, attendees will spend time brainstorming and reflecting on skills acquired or strengthened during the pandemic. Participants will leave with a reinvention inventory of how they’ve grown professionally over the past months and ideas and resources for continued development.

For more information and to register, please visit our registration page for more details.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact

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