Taylor Crawshaw, Independence Community College (ICC) Associate Dean for Tutoring and Accessibility, and Sarah Owen, ICC Director of Library Services, attended the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibition June 21-26 in New Orleans.
Crawshaw and Owen delivered a presentation on their work and experience with Living Room Conversations; a non-profit organization that aims to be the conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate. They originally learned about the initiative at a southeast Kansas library conference and implemented the first stage of the project this past spring with conversations held every Tuesday at 12:00 p.m. in the Student Union on ICC’s campus.
According to ALA’s conference website, 2018.alaannual.org, there were over 900 exhibiting organizations, multiple pavilions, and stages featuring the most relevant authors and numerous fun events to facilitate learning, professional development and networking.
The ALA conference featured big-name speakers including former first lady, Michelle Obama and award-winning actress, Viola Davis.
With newly gained knowledge from the conference, Crawshaw says she is thinking about what ICC can do to improve accessibility on ICC’s campus and in the community.
“Sarah and I will be reviewing options to help improve library signage for people with accessibility needs,” Crawshaw said. “Our signage is compliant but we are working to make it more friendly for those with mobility needs or those who deal with anxiety when trying to find items in the library.”
The duo plans also plans to increase the number of Living Room Conversations available and incorporate them into ICC’s college success coursework. According to Crawshaw, they hope to partner with community organizations in hosting conversations so students can get to know the community and share their point of view.
This was Crawshaw’s first year attending the annual conference and she says she would love to attend and present next year.
“I loved attending and am grateful for the experience,” Crawshaw said. “Taking time to learn from others and share knowledge in an important part of keeping ICC faculty and staff relevant and productive in their respective fields.”