2013 Midwinter Meeting

ALA Midwinter 2013An ALCTS Midwinter Symposium

Libraries and Online Learning

Libraries and learners have long been engaged in a successful partnership. Never has this partnership been more important or wide-ranging than in today's online environment. “Libraries and Online Learning: A Powerful Partnership,” a Midwinter Symposium from the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), offers a unique opportunity to engage in an important discussion of the role of learning in our libraries.

From local public libraries to national and transnational digital public libraries, from primary schools to research universities, libraries increasingly provide for learners' virtual educational experiences. In this symposium attendees will learn to foster the strategic relationships possible between libraries and online learners.


  • Mike Eisenberg, Dean Emeritus and Professor, University of Washington, Information School
  • Karl Nelson, Director of the Digital Learning Department, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of Washington
  • Félix Reyes, Public Instruction Specialist, King County Library System
  • Meredith Farkas, Head of Instructional Services, Portland State University
  • Jonathan Grudin, Principal Researcher, Natural Interaction Group, Microsoft Research.

Join your colleagues from 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 at Midwinter in Seattle. Onsite registration will begin at 8 a.m.

Registration is through the ALA Midwinter registration form and is $219 for ALCTS members, $269 for ALA members, $319 for non-members, and just $99 for students and retired members.


8–8:25 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:25–8:30 a.m. Welcome
8:30–9:30 a.m. Online Learning and Libraries.
Speaker: Mike Eisenberg
Based on research and more than fifteen years’ experience in online teaching, learning, and program planning, Eisenberg will offer an  overview of online learning approaches (synchronous, asynchronous, video, online, virtual), instructional strategies and tactics in online environments, and the roles, challenges, and opportunities for libraries and librarians.
9:30–10:20 a.m. Online Learning in K–12 Education.
Speaker: Karl Nelson
Nelson will look at the role libraries and librarians play in K–12 online learning and will provide an overview of an online learning activity in K–12.
10:20–10:35 a.m. Break
10:35–11:25 a.m. Embedding the Library into the Online Learning Experience in Higher Education. 
Speaker: Meredith Farkas
In spite of libraries' significant online collections and services, online students can often feel quite distant from the library. With online courseware essentially acting as an online student's campus, libraries need to develop a strong presence in online courseware as well as in the online courses themselves. Farkas will explore ways to embed library services, collections and instruction into students' learning experiences and points-of-need online. Potentials and pitfalls as well as the sustainability of different approaches will be discussed.
11:25 a.m.–1 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
1–2 p.m. Services Strategy for Multifaceted Public Instruction.
Speaker: Félix Reyes
The King County Library System Services Strategy is an opportunity for integrated learning in public libraries. Through multifaceted public instruction, KCLS provides an engaging and encouraging learning ecosystem for patrons to explore and learn: in the library, offsite, and online.
2–3:30 p.m. Hands-on Activity. Online Learning Program Development (Félix Reyes)
3:30–3:45 p.m.  Break
3:45–4:40 p.m.

I’m Not Sure Where We’re Going, but Push the Accelerator Pedal to the Floor.
Speaker: Jonathan Grudin
Grudin will discuss shifts in the skills required of students and workers in heavily digital environments and implications for those in support roles. He also has thoughts about opportunities as well as challenges for archiving potentially useful information based on observations from efforts to explore computer science history.

Speaker Biographies

EisenbergDr. Mike Eisenberg is the founding dean of the Information School at the University of Washington, serving from 1998 to 2006.  Known as an innovator and entrepreneur, Eisenberg approached the iSchool as a startup—transforming the school into a broad-based information school with academic programs on all levels (bachelor's through doctorate), increasing enrollment 400 percent, generating millions in funded research, and making a difference in industry, the public sector, and education on all levels.

Eisenberg’s current work focuses on information & technology literacy, virtual worlds, and library information and technology programs, K–20. He is co-author of the “Big6 Approach to Information Problem-solving”—the most widely used information literacy program in the world. A prolific author (nine books and dozens of articles and papers), Eisenberg has worked with thousands of students—pre-K through higher education—as well as people in business, government, and communities to improve individual and organizational information and technology access and use. He particularly enjoys working with undergraduate students, introducing them to the opportunities and challenges of the information field.

NelsonKarl Nelson is the director of the Digital Learning Department for the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Prior to that, he was director of technology and operations for the Digital Learning Commons, a non-profit organization focused on providing digital resources and online courses to K–12 schools. Nelson has a Master’s of Science in Information Management from the University of Washington Information School.




FarkasMeredith Farkas is the head of instructional services at Portland State University and a lecturer at San Jose State University's School of Library and Information Science. She previously worked in positions related to supporting online learners and instructional innovation at Norwich University in Vermont. Farkas is the author of Social Software in Libraries: Building Collaboration, Communication and Community Online (Information Today, 2007) and writes the monthly column "Technology in Practice" for American Libraries magazine. She was honored in 2008 and 2011 with the WISE Excellence in Online Education Award and in 2009 with the LITA/Library Hi Tech award for Outstanding Communication in Library and Information Technology. Her research interests include change leadership and management, assessment of student learning, and the impact of social technologies on scholarship and pedagogy.

ReyesFélix Reyes is the public instruction specialist in the Virtual Library Services Department at the King County Library System in Washington State. He has worked for KCLS since 2007; previously as library technical assistant and then public computer instructor. Prior to KCLS he worked in bilingual-bicultural education, and Spanish-English interpretation, translation, and localization. Currently, Reyes is working on a certificate in technical writing to apply to instructional design and pursues his interest in music and writing.





GrudinJonathan Grudin is a principal researcher at Microsoft and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington Information School. Prior to joining Microsoft’s Collaboration and Educational Technology group in 1998, he was professor of information and computer science at the University of California, Irvine. He worked on designing and assessing streaming media prototype systems for several years, then shifted to focus on enterprise adoption (or lack thereof) of new communication technologies—blogs, wikis, social networking sites, and others. He has been active in the human-computer interaction and computer-supported cooperative work fields since they began. He served six years on the National Academy of Sciences Board on Human-Systems Integration, was Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, and co-chaired iConference 2011. Recent publications include a chapter in the final volume of the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology and a forthcoming article in The Information Society.