Getting Value Out Of The ACRL Virtual Conference Community

If you attended the ACRL Conference in Baltimore you may be under the impression that the conference ended for you on April 1. If that’s the case you might be missing some valuable conference content. Even though I did go to the physical conference I still registered to join the virtual conference community. The two conferences operated simultaneously between March 29 and April 1, but while the physical conference ended the virtual conference persists as a community for the dissemination and sharing of conference information. If you are not currently receiving occasional email from the conference community you may missing a valuable part of the overall ACRL conference experience.

On a recent Saturday I received an email from the conference online community that contained links to perhaps two dozen papers from contributed sessions. I found many more papers there than I had time available for reading. So I spent some time scanning the papers and decided to print out a few to read more closely. One in particular was about connecting library services to student academic success. Authored by Ying Zhong and Johanna Alexander, the paper “Academic Success: How Library Services Make a Difference” is a good review of the literature on measures of student academic success, and reports on a suvey at their institution to identify the factors that students report as most and least critical to accomplish their academic work more effectively and successfully. According to their survey the most important factors are the facility and electronic resources. The least important factor is research assistance at the reference desk (maybe that tells us something about the value of the reference desk from the student perspective). I could have used some of this information when I was writing this post.

Sure, you could probably get these same papers with the conference proceedings, should you choose to purchase – but why wait. And the virtual conference site offers more than the papers. It offers handouts provided at the sessions, and the presentation slides for different sessions. Remember that anyone who registered for the ACRL Conference in Baltimore – or just the virtual conference – has access to the virtual conference community for one year beyond the conference. So it’s likely there is still time to get connected in to the virtual conference. You should definitely check it out.

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