2023 Conference Scholarship Recipients

The Association of College and Research Libraries awarded 99 scholarships for this conference worth over $88,000. ACRL expresses its sincere appreciation to the groups and individuals that participated in this campaign. Their support enables ACRL to build the skills and capacities of the next generation to lead and serve our profession. Please consider making a donation to the ACRL Conference Scholarship Fund for the upcoming 2025, and make a difference in the life of a library worker!

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John Adebayo: Personally speaking, the 2023 ACRL conference was a career turning point for me. Aside from the fact that it would have been impossible for me to attend without the scholarship, the value I got from all the sessions exposed me to new insights into different aspects of my academic and professional adventures. The conference also afforded me the opportunity of meeting new professional leaders from whom I got to research and professional ideas to improve our library products and service for users' satisfaction. Specifically, I have been making different efforts to decide on specific aspects of privacy to explore for my doctoral dissertation; the workshop and two other sessions on privacy that I attended clearly gave me insights for research direction.

Lisa Anderson: I work in a small community college library making the ACRL Conference ideal in that I can learn from all different types of academic libraries and attend sessions relating to every aspect of my job – from open education, to reference/instruction, to archives. I will also be taking on the role of Library Coordinator so the sessions relating to library leadership/organization were particularly useful in helping me prepare. I received a scholarship to attend the virtual conference. Our staffing has been reduced to the point that travel to the conference, given the time of year it occurs, is/was not possible. Additionally, with constant budget cuts, professional development opportunities are becoming more scrutinized. The scholarship helped me circumvent the scrutinization and jump right to sharing knowledge learned post-conference. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

Rachel Becker: Being able to attend the 2023 ACRL conference thanks to a scholarship impacted my professional life and allowed my library to grow. By attending in person I connected with colleagues I hadn't seen in several years and formed new friendships. The workshops provided practical hands on experience in timely topics and I was able to bring these materials back to my library for implementation. I even had the chance to facilitate a roundtable discussion which allowed me to practice leadership and presentation skills. The scholarship was instrumental in allowing me to attend and represent my community college library.

Chanda Briggs: Attending ACRL was a great experience as an early-career librarian. After the last few years dealing with the pandemic, the opportunity to network in-person allowed me to make real connections with other academic librarians. The panel discussions were also very informative. I brought back ideas that have empowered me to generate means of demonstrating the value of the work we do-- which is so important in times of financial pressures. Being able to bridge the gaps of understanding between library staff and administration is so important to maintaining and creating dynamic programs for students and faculty. I also learned about how we can best serve some of our most historically neglected students through accessibility initiatives and determine needs through proven assessment strategies. ACRL was one of the best conferences I have attended and I will definitely attend again!

Stacy Brody: Attending the 2023 ACRL Conference enabled me to build new professional connections and inspired me to approach old problems in a new light. I was inspired by the work of librarians across the country, as well as in my own backyard. Since attending the conference, I have been in touch with several poster presenters, including librarians in my own city, to learn more about their work and continue sharing ideas. I have introduced colleagues at my institution to some of the resources and techniques I encountered at the conference. From talking to presenters at poster sessions to quietly finishing a puzzle in the Games Area, I was reminded why research librarianship is my professional home, and I am sincerely grateful for the financial support to attend ACRL 2023.

Rebecca Chavez: I was honored by the ACRL to not only receive a scholarship but also asked to speak at the Friends of the ACRL reception. Having the opportunity to attend this conference was made possible with the support of this scholarship, a conference of this size was not in the budget. I attended in person which made this conference even better. I was able to meet other librarians at different stages of their career, speak with people who are having similar experiences, struggles, or celebrations within their libraries, and listen to numerous talks that will benefit our little community college library in rural Wyoming. This will be a conference that I will continue to attend in the future. Thank you for this opportunity.

Mara C. Cota: ACRL 2023 was my first time attending this conference and I found it both inspiring and useful. Listening to my colleagues talk about their scholarship made me grateful all over again to be part of a profession that is so committed to learning and to making our world a more just and equitable place. There was a wealth of choices when it came to sessions (making it hard to choose!) and they all related to my work in some way. I feel that I have a strong sense of what current trends are in academic librarianship. And, of course, it was grand to see friends and colleagues who are usually so far from me. The conference was a feast for the mind as well as the heart. Thank you to ACRL and all the donors who made my attendance possible through a mid-career scholarship.

Ayiana Crabtree: Being able to attend ACRL 2023 was an honor. Not only was I able to present while still in my MS-ILS program, but I was also able to make so many new connections. Presenting research at a conference like this has been a dream of mine, and I consider it a major step in my professional career. I met so many amazing people, attended so many brilliant presentations, and I feel that this experience has only enhanced my journey to librarianship. I was also able to share my future endeavors with librarians, graduate students, and other attendees, and received so much encouragement which makes me look forward to my future in libraries even more. As a graduate student, this was opportunity means a lot and I look forward to attending ACRL again in the future once I have finally entered the profession. Thank you for providing the opportunity to attend this conference!

Anne Deutsch: Pittsburgh. Funding for conference related travel is tricky these days. Leadership prioritizes pre-tenure Librarians and Librarians who are presenting. I am a tenured Librarian and wanted to attend ACRL without the pressure or distraction of presenting. This scholarship offered me with the invaluable opportunity to learn and to connect with colleagues.I attended workshops, presentations, and posters that addressed how libraries are transforming their work as they integrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice (DEISJ) in their services, programs and practices. Because sessions were recorded, I was also able to extend my learning after the conference. It was extraordinary to have dedicated time to learn more about DEISJ through various theoretical frameworks, lived experiences, and on-the ground lessons from institutions who are doing the work. I came back to my institution not only with new understandings but also with concrete things that we can talk about and enact in our library. As a midcareer Librarian I am considering where I have been and what is next. Attending the ACRL conference was energizing, giving me the boost I needed to continue moving ahead and exploring new avenues for professional growth that will contribute to my library, my campus, and my profession. I am eternally grateful for this scholarship!

Kirstin Duffin: ACRL 2023 was an exciting opportunity to get back in touch, face to face, with colleagues. I was able to meet up with my ACRL committee co-chair and some of our committee members at the STS SPIE Happy Hour, as well as be introduced to fellow science librarians at this event. The one-on-one conversations were especially meaningful, and throughout the conference I was able to grab lunch and dinner with colleagues and connect more deeply with them. I am grateful for the variety of events and pursuits the ACRL conference offers. The roundtables are one of the best ways to engage in conversation around a shared interest. The poster sessions and lightning talks allow for exposure to a breadth of contemporary research and creative projects that librarians are exploring. The paper and panel sessions allow for deeper thought around a topic. In particular, I valued the sessions on anxiety and mental health and the sessions on library services for diverse student bodies, both of which are issues of interest to me and students at my institution. Hearing from librarians who are experiencing similar challenges as at my own institution is validating and hopeful: We can forge a better future, together. Participating in one of the chair yoga sessions was a chance to ground and center amidst the rush and stimulation of the conference. At a co-worker’s insistence, I attended the St. Patrick's Day Soiree and thoroughly enjoyed myself; the food, music, and dancing were excellent, and I appreciated the occasion to immerse myself in local Pittsburgh history as narrated by the museum's exhibits. The ACRL conferences are professional development at its finest. What a treat to gather with fellow academic librarians!

CJ Garcia: Attending the ACRL conference (virtually) was a big boon for me as an early-career librarian. Still in my first year as a professional librarian, being able to learn about current trends in academic libraries is instrumental in my professional development. Working at a smaller institution, scholarships like this one help me attend events that I otherwise would not be able to afford, and helps to ensure that smaller institutions don’t get left out of the conversation. I was particularly glad to be able to attend a session on AI in libraries, which helped me wrap my head around all the recent discussions, and left me with a few new ideas for how my library can get involved in AI literacy.

James Glenn: As a library science graduate student who has previously worked in public librarianship, attending conferences focused on academic librarianship is critical for me to stay current on emerging trends and network with other professionals in the specialization I intend on transitioning into upon graduation. However, attending conferences can be expensive, and this grant significantly eased the financial burden of attending the ACRL 2023 Conference. The ACRL conference is renowned for its quality programming, workshops, and networking opportunities, and I am incredibly grateful that I was able to attend this year's event as a first-time attendee. With the help of this grant, I was able to attend several sessions and workshops that helped me develop my skills in librarianship. I learned about the latest developments in IDEA policies (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility) and critical cataloging, as well as library administration and human resources. To top it all off the keynote presentations by Rebecca Nagle and Heather McGhee were inspiring and insightful. Because of these two powerful speakers, I have no doubt that the work we do as library workers is an essential element in bringing about a more just and equitable society. I am grateful for the investment that you have made in me and my career, and I will always strive to apply the knowledge and skills I gained at the conference to improve my work as a librarian. Again, thank you for your generosity, and I look forward to many years of ACRL membership. See you in Minneapolis in 2025!

William Gore: The 2023 ACRL Conference was an amazing experience. As a current MLIS student it granted me the opportunity to network and learn about the latest innovations and ideas in the field. It has reinforced my beliefs that I am entering into the perfect profession for me. I look forward to attending the next one as a proper librarian!

Neil Grimes: Due to financial and budgetary difficulties at my institution, there is currently limited funding to support faculty and librarian scholarship. Without the financial support of donors who sponsor the ACRL conference scholarship fund, I would not have been able to attend and serve as a panelist on two conference panels at this year's ACRL conference. As one of the 2023 ACRL conference scholarship recipients, I was able to receive the financial support I needed and presented research from two recently co-authored book chapters. The first panel presentation, “Bridging the Gap: How Academic Librarians Support the Mental Health and Well-being of Both Our Students and Ourselves,” centers on how libraries and librarians traditionally supported mental health and wellness and how this work changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The extensive literature (over 100 references) we used in our book chapter accepted by IGI Global for publication titled How Libraries Support the Mental Health and Wellness Needs of Communities and Library Workers indicated a need for academic librarians to be trained in mental health first aid and the need for librarians to provide information to members of their university community as to the individuals and services that are available to students, faculty, and staff to meet their mental health and wellness needs. This presentation also addressed academic librarian burnout and ways to address our own mental wellness needs. The second conference panel presentation I was a part of, “College Readiness: Academic & School Library Partnerships, An Organizational Approach,” focused on my involvement with a statewide partnership between the ACRL-NJ Marketing & Outreach Committee and the New Jersey Association of School Librarians. The statewide partnership resulted in forming panels of academic librarians to provide Zoom virtual orientations to the academic library for New Jersey high school students. This was done to address high school students’ feelings of library anxiety and unfamiliarity with the services and resources that an academic library provides. This project resulted in a book chapter published by IGI Global titled Academic and School Library Partnerships: An Organization-Led Collaboration.

Cindy Guyer: Thank you for supporting the scholarship fund and providing opportunities for librarians to attend ACRL. I've been a law librarian for 16 years and this was my first ACRL Conference. While I've been to many law-focused conferences, I particularly enjoy other conferences like ACRL because I have the chance to network with new colleagues from other disciplines and learn about a variety of aspects affecting higher education librarians. At ACRL, I found the multiple posters sessions so informative and I came away with at least 10 new program ideas and projects to implement at my own library. Moreover, attending ACRL confirmed how collaborative librarians are with each other and how genuinely fulfilling my chose librarian profession is to me.

Krystal Kakimoto: Receiving a scholarship to attend the ACRL 2023 Conference allowed me to attend the ACRL Conference for the first time and opened my eyes to so many ideas, trends, and information related to librarianship. I was thankful to attend the conference virtually and sat in on sessions which gave me so many ideas to bring back to my library – from programs that I wanted to run to policies I wanted to discuss with staff to make our library more welcoming and inclusive, I cannot speak any higher about my experience attending the conference. The wealth of information presented in the panel discussions, poster sessions, and presentations enlightened me to what my colleagues were doing around the nation helping to broaden the goals that I have for myself and my library while inspiring me to raise my personal performance bar. I want to thank everyone who contributed to the scholarship fund and hope they know that they played a part in my professional journey which I am grateful for.

Manika Lamba: As the scholarship winner, I had the opportunity to attend the ACRL 2023 conference. I gained valuable feedback and insights from some respected experts in the field of LIS. It helped keep me moving forward up-to-date and equipped with new tools and techniques to improve library services. Additionally, the conference allowed me to connect and network with other professionals in the LIS field which was invaluable. I had the opportunity to brainstorm ideas, share knowledge and establish new relationships that will definitely have a positive impact on my professional life. It was an enriching experience and I feel more confident and better prepared to serve the library community. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in such an informative and rewarding event.

Cecelia Gardner Lasley: ACRL 2023 was my first time attending ARCL. I was struck immediately by the strong sense of community and the eagerness of all that I met to improve our work to better benefits our communities and support one another. I learned so much from nearly every interaction that I had whether at a session or panel, a roundtable, a poster session, or a meal. I left ACRL feeling inspired, more conscious of the need for sustainability in our work, and with new friends.

Kerrin McGuire: My goal is to work in an academic library advancing the research around the library experience for neurodiverse patrons. The 2023 ACRL Conference was a great step on this journey. I've already seen tangible benefits, as I have cited a paper by one of the speakers from the conference in a research paper that I'm working on. The virtual scholarship provided an opportunity I never would have had as a first year MLIS student. I am so grateful for the award.

Breana McQueen: As someone who is new to academic libraries, being able to attend ACRL 2023 provided me with an opportunity to meet and chat with so many new librarians and build relationships with those who are also doing scholarship in the same areas as me. My time at there also allowed me to get a better understanding of the conversations at large around academic libraries and become more knowledgeable about this unique subset of libraries. Being able to attend ACRL was an incredibly positive experience and I left that conference feeling more confident in my role as a new librarian within higher education!

Holly Mercer: Receiving the ACRL scholarship provided me the opportunity to attend a wonderful conference. The conference inspired and revitalized me! I met librarians, learned new information, and had time to reflect on the profession of librarianship. I plan on implementing the knowledge I gained from the conference in my library programs, collections, and interactions with students.

José J. Morales Benítez: I am immensely grateful for having received a scholarship to attend the 2023 ACRL Conference in Pittsburgh. I was able to gain insight about many amazing projects being developed by academic librarians throughout the US, and I came away with great ideas of how we can continue to improve our library services and offerings here at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. As a relatively early-career librarian, this was also a great opportunity to gauge my development up to this point and identify areas where I have to catch up. The networking was also fantastic, and it was really nice to see folks I have collaborated with remotely for a few years and finally meet them in person. Overall, attending the 2023 ACRL Conference was a phenomenal learning experience for me. The diversity of topics and perspectives featured in the program was remarkable. I am very thankful to everyone who has donated to the scholarship fund, and I will do the same so others can benefit from this opportunity."

Gerald Natal: Having the opportunity to attend ACRL served as an invigorating reminder of the diversity of ideas within the profession and of the passion of my librarian colleagues to have a positive impact in the world we share.

K. Rama Patnaik: I am honoured and privileged to be a recipient of the Career Librarian scholarship to attend the ACRL conference 2023 held at David Lawrence Centre, Pittsburgh, PA. The conference addressed all trending issues confronting US academic and research libraries. As a first-time attendee of the conference, I truly missed out on learning from the past conferences over the years. I resonated on identifying critical metrics for justifying annual budgeting, analysing the trends in collection and services, and articulating the importance of library statistics for assessing the contribution of libraries in the learner's journey. The presentation on ACRL metrics on the last day of the conference helped me identify data points that help measure the impact of collections and services and, thereby, draft an annual performance report for the faculty council meeting about the library. The other important takeaway was the assessment of one-shot information literacy sessions and methods of evaluating the assessment (summative and formative). Our tutorials, crafted using Libwizard, are currently to be reviewed and inspired by presentations on information literacy. It was an enlightening experience to explore and dive into the collapsed narratives involving topics such as information literacy, DEI, privacy issues on patron data, copyright issues in the digital age, interlibrary loans, and reference services. I am grateful to the generosity of the sponsors for providing opportunities to international participants in shaping their professional lives and hope for their continued support in future and look forward to attending all conferences in coming years.

Caterina Reed: The 2023 ACRL Conference was incredibly inspiring! This year, there were a great deal of presentations dealing with DEIA and anti-racism work. For me, it was difficult to choose what to attend as there were so many interesting sessions being held at the same time. From presentations such as “Exploring Non-Dominant Voices: Information literacy beyond the Peer Review paradigm” to “Promotion and Tenure in Academic Libraries: Impact on Librarians of Color,” I learned about the ongoing work that librarians do to fight for inclusivity and representation. I was also deeply impacted by the keynote speaker, Rebecca Nagle, who called upon all of us to educate ourselves on Indigenous sovereignty and promote Indigenous voices. Nagle also called attention to the Haaland v. Brackeen case which threatens the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). ACRL 2023 has transformed how I view information literacy, hiring practices, and library leadership. I am very thankful for the ACRL 2023 Scholarship and the opportunity to engage with librarians across the U.S. and Canada.

Stephanie Sandoval: At Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles, I am committed to helping my institution work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. For this reason, I joined the Strategic Plan subcommittee for becoming an anti-racist university. I plan to help improve the community climate by ensuring inclusive education and training for all students, faculty, and staff. In attending the ACRL conference, I acquired tools to bring back to my Mount community.

Michelle Shea: After virtually attending the ACRL 2023 conference, I learned more about my role as a supervisor for supporting staff equitably, increasing the diversity of our programming, and promoting inclusivity on campus. I joined talks on recognizing marginalized voices, improving our data collection methods, and making changes to hiring practices to improve our library climate and culture. This was my first ACRL conference and I fully plan to attend another virtually or in-person, since the presentations were a great opportunity to reflect on my work as an academic librarian.

Dominic Silvio: The 2023 ACRL Conference was fantastic and impactful. As a first-time attendee, I had great opportunities to network with librarian colleagues and share issues and ideas. The speakers were insightful and informative, and some were very entertaining. I am looking forward to the next conference in 2025.

Susan Van Alstyne: I am beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to attend ACRL for the very first time. Attending this conference reignited my passion for the profession. Though it is a great privilege to help shape students’ experiences in higher education, I was seriously questioning my career as a librarian following the last few years and experiencing burnout in the field. After attending the sessions, networking, and engaging with the poster presenters, it did not take long to remember why I love what I do! There were many innovative and creative projects to address many of the nuances in our roles as academic librarians. I could not wait to share my experience with my colleagues. I also attended the ACRL scholarship breakfast and met some wonderful librarians. I would have never had this experience if it were not for the ACRL Scholarship. During the conference, I garnered several ideas to enhance our wellness room in the library, which provided me with enough information to organize a meeting with our student development team to ask for support for future wellness initiatives. It is also important to keep supporting the conference scholarship to provide an opportunity, now more than ever, especially with the unstable financial situation of many higher education institutions, to provide any form of professional development.

Alexander Ward: I'm a first generation student that has found passion for education and care through libraries. I just started my MLS degree to help realize that passion for others. Having the opportunity to attend the ACRL 2023 conference to learn from and network with leaders in this field was invaluable. I made connections that will empower me as I finish school and grow into my new career. I was inspired by the research I saw to pursue important questions as I start my own research. I found belonging in the variety of librarians, topics, and backgrounds I encountered at ACRL. None of this would have been possible for me without such amazing generosity and support from ACRL, their supporters, and those that came before me. I'm more excited than ever for what the future holds!

Ruth Xing: ACRL was such an eye-opening conference for me, and without a scholarship, I would not have been able to attend. I really appreciated how ACRL helped me to find new directions to develop as a library professional. One of my favorite educational sessions was “Walking the Talk: Values-Aligned Decision Making in the Library,” which was highly engaging and offered actionable, specific advice for librarians.

Attending the 2021 ACRL Conference gave me a chance to connect with my academic library colleagues from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and locations. Through the sessions, lightning rounds, roundtable discussions, poster presentations, and online networking opportunities, I discovered innovative suggestions for teaching information literacy, for providing better services and collections with diverse library users in mind, and handling challenges in budgets, staffing, and recognition of our work as librarians. As a librarian at a small college during a year marked by social distance from colleagues, I also felt a welcome sense of camaraderie. The experience helped me enormously by giving me fresh ideas and encouragement for my professional aspirations at a time both were lacking. I am grateful to ACRL for the opportunity to attend the 2021 Conference.
This was my first time attending ACRL and unfortunately due to budgeting may be my only opportunity to attend, which is why I was so excited and grateful to win the ACRL scholarship. The ACRL Conference had so much information, I didn’t know where to start. However, by the end of the conference I had so many resources to refer to later. I also came away with several new ideas for marketing and instruction that I plan to try out in the coming academic year. Being able to watch the sessions after the end of the conference was also helpful with so many great options, I didn’t have to choose just one.”