The 2024 NEFLIN Hot Topics Conference is coming on Friday, April 26th, at the University of Florida Hilton Conference Center!

This year’s theme is “Other Duties as Required”.

Remember reading the job description when you originally applied for your job? Was there some line like “Other duties as required” among the different tasks and responsibilities?

Fast forward to now. Does it seem like most of your job falls into that category?

This conference will be all about overcoming challenging circumstances and forging your own trail to success.   Make your plans to join us in Gainesville on April 26th!

Cost to Register:  $45.00 (includes lunch)

Registration for this event is now closed.


9:30 – 9:45:   Welcome
9:45 – 10:45:  Keynote with Dr. Anne Marie Casey
11:00 – 11:45:  Concurrent Session #1
12:00 – 1:00:   Lunch Break
1:00 – 1:45:    Concurrent Session #2
2:00 – 2:45:   Concurrent Session #3
3:00 – 3:45:   Concurrent Session #4
3:45 – 4:00:  Closing Remarks and Raffle Drawing


Keynote Session

They Asked Me What?
Navigating Unexpected Work in Libraries

Library workers often encounter requests and duties they did not expect. Master’s degree programs and position descriptions leave out a lot of requests and expectations library workers do not anticipate.  When members of the public think about library work, their minds go to checking out books, helping to access technology, and maybe even acquiring information resources.  They do not realize that working in a library might mean connecting an unhoused person with local resources, or helping someone navigate through a citizenship application when English is not their first language, or developing a training program for pages/student workers when they have never supervised.  The list goes on and on about common and uncommon requests we don’t consider when we sign that contract. These unexpected duties can be difficult to navigate and cause frustration and anxiety in library workers.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Anne Marie Casey, retired
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Hunt Library

Anne has over 40 years’ experience in librarianship.  She has worked in academic and public libraries and her career spans the gamut from Cataloguing Technical to Director of ERAU’s Hunt Library, from which she recently retired.  Anne has extensive experience in recruiting employees and assisting faculty with their personal research web presence.  She has served on the NEFLIN Board of Directors and consulted with NEFLIN on the last three strategic plans.  She has earned an AMLS in library science from the University of Michigan and a PhD in Managerial Leadership in the information professions from Simmons University.


Concurrent Session 1 - 11:00 am

Room 1

Session Title:  Grant Writing Basics
Presenter:  Liz Kluesner, Jacksonville Public Library

Session Description:  Do your “other duties as required” include the directive to find money to fund a library program or service? Is your library or department interested in taking on a special project? Is the thought of writing a grant less attractive than exploring the habits of an arctic mussel? If so, then this presentation is for You! Library Grants Coordinator for the Jacksonville Public Library, Liz Kluesner, MSLIS, will discuss the basics of grant finding and writing. Participants will also learn how to structure responses, how to organize multiple grant projects and proposals, and the art of matching projects with potential grant funding opportunities.

Room 2

Session Title:  The Hat Rack:  A Conversation on Careers in G.L.A.M.
Presenter:  Casey Wooster, Governor’s House Library/University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries, Alex Barr, St. Johns County Public Library, and Nicole Diehm, St. Augustine Historical Society

Session Description:  The two expressions “I wear many hats” and “I was not taught that in school” unify G.L.A.M. professionals. No matter the institution type or position title, we all take on many roles, and learn new skills, to keep up with the needs of our institutions. The presentation “The Hat Rack: A Conversation on Careers in G.L.A.M.” will be a conversation on the “other duties” that make-up and define our careers with representatives from academic and public libraries, as well as archives. Each will discuss their conventional and unconventional journeys within the library field. Attendees will leave with a wider view of what a library career may look like from the good to the bad days, and everything in between. Presenters include: Casey Wooster is currently Collections Assistant at Governor’s House Library, an affiliated branch of University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries. Wooster earned a BFA in Creative Photography, a BA in Anthropology, and a MA in Museum Studies from the University of Florida. Her passion for Florida’s cultural heritage has taken her public history career in museums and libraries. Alex Barr is the Community Outreach Manager at the St. Johns County Public Library System. She oversees all bookmobile operations and outreach events, in addition to fostering partnerships with schools and local organizations. Previously, she was a Youth Services Librarian. Alex received her BA in English Literature and MIS in Library & Information Science from Florida State University. Nicole Diehm is the Librarian and Curator at the St. Augustine Historical Society. She manages digital and physical collections, along with rotating exhibits. She is also focused on outreach assisting other institutions with digital projects and collaborating on community projects. She holds an MA in History, with a focus on Public History and Archiving, and an MIS in Library and Information Science.

Room 3

Session Title:  Video Made the Library Star
Presenter:  Erin Arnold, Heather Webb and Jerome Azbell, Marion County Public Library System

Session Description:  How did we keep a connection to the public when the pandemic upended everything? On Monday, March 16, 2020, in an abundance of caution, the Marion County Public Library System announced the suspension of all library programs, events, outreach and meeting room use. On Tuesday, March 17, we posted a video publicizing Facebook Live story times beginning the very next day! Video content posted to our Facebook page, live and recorded, became our only source of programming that year. How do you generate hours of quality video content to the public with little or no training? Suddenly, a few of our librarians were required to be full-time videographers, editors, captioners, script-writers, set designers, prop masters and actors, learning the skills as they went and sharing insights and successes throughout the system. With limited equipment, funded by the Friends of the Libraries, library staff pivoted immediately to generate educational, informational and entertaining video content for patrons who could not visit our libraries. As we welcomed patrons back to the libraries, hybrid programming supported patrons staying at home and those far away, and our social media presence took off reaching a much wider audience. More recently, our video content has transitioned to a supporting and accessible role in our programming, social media and outreach efforts. Our future plans include setting up a video production studio, virtual field trips, pathfinder videos and growing our brand-new Instagram presence. Attendees will learn about no-cost to low-cost tools for video creation and how we navigated obstacles as self-taught, video-editing librarians as well as enjoy some of our videos from that first, grainy Facebook post to our most recent, polished videos.

Room 4

Session Title:  Other Duties as Required:  Understanding People – How They’re Wired!
Presenter:  Linda Bruno

Session Description: Working in a library, it comes as no surprise to you that no two people are alike. The differences people exhibit can add interest and creativity to your workplace. But if you don’t understand what’s behind the differences, those “interesting” behaviors can also be a bit frustrating, especially when they aren’t behaving as YOU would behave!

In this fast-paced session, we’ll look at common characteristics – the good, the bad, and the ugly! – of the four primary behavioral styles. We’ll examine strengths and weaknesses so that you can recognize both aspects of your own behavior and apply that knowledge to your daily interactions with patrons, coworkers, supervisors – and anyone else you interact with as you move through your day.

This is a chance to learn more about yourself and others – which is especially helpful when you deal with people!

Concurrent Session 2 - 1:00 pm

Room 1

Session Title:  A Campus Banned Book Hunt:  An Event Presented by…the Acquisitions Librarian?
Presenter:  Chelsea Gentry, Swisher Library at Jacksonville University

Session Description:  At Jacksonville University’s Swisher Library, we do not employee any outreach-focused personnel in a full-time or part-time capacity. As a result, many library outreach events are brought to life by our faculty librarians that lead other departments as their primary responsibility or our various library support staff. This presentation will describe one such outreach event planned and executed by the Swisher’s Digital Initiatives and Collection Management Librarian, Chelsea Gentry, MLIS. Formally, Chelsea’s position has been tasked with a traditional focus on collection development, acquisitions, and eResources. In this presentation, she will describe how she views outreach tasks as a service provided by her role and as an important function of her department…even though the word “outreach” is mentioned exactly zero times in her job description! Chelsea will also discuss her process of designing, planning, and executing a campus-wide “hunt” for hidden copies of 2022’s most banned and challenged book during Banned Books Week 2023. Attendees should walk away with insights about how one technical services-based, academic librarian working within a staff of just ten employees successfully provided 3000+ patrons with a relevant, effective, and partnered, on-campus outreach event. They should also gain valuable tips and considerations fostered from Chelsea’s real-world experience about hosting their own versions of a banned book hunt.

Room 2

Session Title:  Hunger-Free Libraries:  Aiding in Food Security Through Community Pantries
Presenter:  Emily Grosskopf, Suwannee River Regional Library System – Lee Public Library

Session Description: Following the destruction caused by Hurricane Idalia in August 2023, the Suwannee River Regional Library System truly embraced “other duties as required” in the form of emergency food/supplies distribution and the development of a long-term food pantry. This presentation aims to address various facets of tackling food insecurity through the establishment of food pantries and food literacy programs within library spaces. The learning objectives cover a comprehensive understanding of the issue, including defining food insecurity and identifying affected demographics and communities. We will delve into the evolving role of public libraries as community hubs and apt locations for hosting food pantries. Legal and regulatory considerations are outlined, emphasizing the requirements and potential barriers in establishing such facilities in public spaces. Additionally, the importance of community engagement and partnerships with local entities such as businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies will be discussed. Finally, strategies for promoting food pantry services, including marketing, outreach, and destigmatization efforts are explored to ensure maximum community utilization and support.

Room 3

Session Title:  Library Staff Training Tools for Non-Trainers
Presenter:  Adam Chalmers, Kelly Handy, Christy Shorey, University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries

Session Description: Library employees often have their own areas of specialty, be it technical, work processes or subject specialties. When a new employee is onboarded, or a current employee is cross-trained these library experts are called upon to train coworkers. This occurs whether these experts have a background in training or not. There are many considerations when training our colleagues, including methods, tools, and organizational structure. This presentation will cover 3 key topics: tools and methods for designing formal training; creating training reference materials; and training in a multi-branch environment. After this presentation participants will know: -About several tools that can be used to facilitate staff training -Benefits of preparing training materials -Methods of sharing training materials in a multi-branch environment -Best practices in training preparation This session will have examples primarily based in an access services/ circulation environment, but the tools and methods are transferable to other domains. Participants will be provided with resources that cover best practices and tools for later reference.

Room 4

Session Title:  I Am Not a Social Worker!  Effectively Responding to Difficult Interactions
Presenter:  Dr. Anne-Marie Casey, retired (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)

Session Description:  Most library staff have either encountered or heard stories from colleagues about members of the community whose behavior is inappropriate, perceived to be threatening, or unusual.  The lore of the problem patron is part of our cultural library story and often provides fodder for humorous anecdotes at library gatherings.  But there is nothing funny about staff needing to respond to the problem patron standing in front of them. While most library staff have been trained to refer interpersonal problems to a supervisor, how do they handle difficult patron interactions when there is no supervisor around? How do supervisors respond to interpersonal challenges completely out of their realm of training or experience?  This presentation will explore difficult interactions with community members in the library through personal examples and current research.  Attendees will have an opportunity to share difficult interactions they have successfully handled in their libraries and will be provided with some best practices for responding to challenging behavior from community members

Concurrent Session 3 - 2:00 pm

Room 1

Session Title:  How to Have a Successful Banned Book Club in a Book Banning World
Presenter:  Gemma Rose, Flagler County Public Library System

Session Description:  In the session I will discuss how the Flagler County Public Library was able to successfully start a teen banned book club. I will share how we gained the support from our community as well as the support from Moms For Liberty. It is the goal of this session to empower other librarians to not be afraid of public backlash for upholding the “Library Bill of Rights”. I will reflect during the session on how using transparency helped make this program a reality. During the session I will discuss the process from start to finish on how the program was developed, proposed, and executed. I will include how we gained the support and permission of the library administration by using permission slips and transparency. I will talk about the hurdles the library encountered. I will follow up with the items needed to hold a successful program. While including how working with community partners as speakers helped create an unbiased library program. I will then conclude the session with how to get funding for materials and share the outcome of the program.

Room 2

Session Title:  Treading Water in Library West
Presenter:  Ash Vaught, Dharma Sandvik, and Jennifer Smith, University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries

Session Description: During the 2022 Winter Break at the George A. Smathers Libraries, the Library West branch employees had the unfortunate circumstance of responding to a significant flood caused by a burst pipe that pumped 60,000 gallons of water into the building and damaged collections housed on the first floor. While flexibility in the workplace is part of their position descriptions, no one mentioned dealing with melted ceiling tiles and disintegrating text blocks. More than 6,000 items were quickly scanned and discarded over three days to allow the Collections Services Unit the chance to prepare post-flood reports for library selectors’ review. Pre-flood strategic planning (unintentionally) included the creation of Collections Services AV carts in order to capitalize on the browser-based ILS, Alma. This is another area where the unit has broken barriers and gone above the call for a skillset that benefits their daily work. Attendees will learn about how the Collections Services Unit responded during a time of crisis and specific collections assessment and takeaways from the unfortunate crisis, in addition to what went into the creation of the Collections Services AV carts and how your library could create its own.

Room 3

Session Title:  Other Duties as Required:  Be Better, not Bitter
Presenter:  Colleen Skinner, Jacksonville University College of Law

Session Description:

My presentation will focus on showing how employees can take on those other duties as required and be better for it instead of being bitter. I will share my story of working in a law library where twenty employees left over seven years and as they left, I absorbed their duties and made myself better for it. The skills I learned helped me land a position for which I was previously unqualified for. I will show what is needed to learn new skills, what to focus on and what to leave behind, how to get organized and how to have a good attitude along the way.

If the employee currently has a fully staffed Library and is not forced to take on other duties as required, I will show how to identify the position they want in the future and how to identify jobs and skills in their current library that will help them achieve that new position. Once identified, I will show how employees can ask their supervisor to be the backup person for the position they want. We will engage in role playing by asking supervisor about taking on new job duties and how to handle push back if they say no. Overall, the presentation will help employees learn to be better, not bitter when they take on other duties as required whether it is their choice or not.

Learning Objectives- attendees will be able to identify future and current career goals, handle objections, identify needed skills and to prepare for new skills all while learning positive reasons why they are taking on the other duties as required.

Learning Outcomes- Understanding current situation and maintaining a positive attitude, applying goals to new positions/skills, apply objection handling techniques, analyzing goals and how to achieve them.

Room 4

Session Title:  Other Duties as Required:  Understanding People – How They Learn (And Communicate!)
Presenter:  Linda Bruno

Session Description:  Have you ever worked with someone who “just doesn’t get it”?? Maybe the reason they don’t get it is that the two of you are on different communication wavelengths. In this session, you’ll discover your own communication style – auditory, visual, or kinesthetic – and how to identify those communication styles in others.  We’ll talk about just what that means in your everyday interactions.

Want to know how to best get your message across to a specific person – or how to make sure you really understand the information you’re given? This session will help you figure that out!

Concurrent Session 4 - 3:00 pm

Room 1

Session Title:  Dissolving Language Barriers While Building Collections
Presenter:  Mari Meke, Kelly Handy and Megan Daly, University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries

Session Description:  At the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida (UF), librarians and paraprofessionals strive to offer technology to patrons alongside robust and diverse research collections in various languages. Grant projects often make such efforts possible. In 2022, User Services team members of Library West Humanities and Social Sciences observed communication needs expressed by patrons visiting the Circulation Desk and decided to research possible technologies that would help close language gaps among faculty, staff, and students. They then applied for and were awarded internal grant funds to provide Pocketalk translators, technology that can translate speech and written text, to the UF community. Several benefits were immediately apparent, including an opportunity to enhance collection development. In an extra effort to expand the research collection, a subject specialist librarian accepted and began reviewing books donated by a professor in a foreign language the specialist librarian could not read. In collaboration with the subject specialist librarian, the Pocketalk grant project team leaders used the translator devices to review the donated books and recorded subsequent data. This presentation will share the initial idea behind the translators, the grant process that acquired them, and the work with the donated books, including the successes, roadblocks, and surprises encountered throughout the process. It will also explain how the Library West Team came to better understand the technology offered so they could then assist patrons in their application of the technology. Attendees of this session will learn about grant writing for circulating technology, how the Pocketalk translators work, how they might benefit patrons at their own libraries, and how such translation tools might aid in collection development efforts.

Room 2

Session Title:  Professor, Librarian…and Everything Tech
Presenter:  Jenna Miller, Santa Fe College

Session Description: What does a title like “Professor, Librarian” mean? When asked that at a statewide committee meeting, a colleague offered that I was a reference/instructional librarian. But really, that only touches on a portion of my work. Over the years I’ve taken on a variety of technical responsibilities for our library: website development, e-resources management, Raspberry Pi set-up and maintenance, digital signage configuration, ILS and discovery tool administration, acting as the first point of contact for any technical issues as they arise in the building, and liaising to our college’s IT department for more complicated tech projects and issues. I’ve gained a variety of admin roles/credentials such as LibGuides/LibCal/LibWizard, OpenAthens, Alma, and Primo VE, and my daily alphabet soup includes acronyms like HTML, CSS, and SQL. In this presentation I’ll discuss how these other duties found me, how I learned what I needed to meet the demands of these duties, and resources you can use to embrace everything tech at your library.

Room 3

Session Title:  Coming to Your Library Soon:  Make All the Things Accessible!
Presenter:  James M. Day and Cody Michaels, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Hunt Library

Session Description: What happens when “Other duties as assigned” are enough to require an entirely new position? That is exactly what took place at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Hunt Library, where a university-wide accessibility initiative came down from the Information Technology department. The new mandate required the library to make all of its websites and online documents accessible according to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This meant library staff needed to review and remediate hundreds of webpages and almost 25,000 documents on the library websites, institutional repository, and university archives. This forced us to implement a robust accessibility plan, hire a staff member, and adopt new technologies to remediate large PDF collections, and make the website and online library services accessible. Our presentation will cover accessibility basics and standards, the birth of this initiative, and the library’s response. We will then have practical demonstrations to show how the Hunt Library performs accessibility audits of our PDF collection and web properties—such as the library website, LibGuides pages, and library FAQs. We will introduce participants to the technologies used for accessibility and they will receive a brief introduction to the workflows involved in this topic. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of accessibility standards and practices. They will be prepared for the inevitable time when they are required to Make All the Things Accessible! by knowing the processes and tools to efficiently complete these other duties as assigned.

Room 4

Session Title:  A Successful Staff Day as Required
Presenter:  Erin Arnold and Suzanne Brown, Marion County Public Library System

Session Description:  How do you plan a staff development day that is worthwhile, professional and also engaging? How do you plan a day that staff look forward to each year? Ask your staff members! Awhile back, Marion County Public Library System’s annual staff development day got a complete overhaul. At the request of library administration, a committee representing all library locations and divisions was created to plan this very important day. With this broad representation, committee members directly engage staff, obtaining ideas regarding training needs and interests. Our staff development day is a grassroots effort. While outside speakers including community partners are considered, the focus is on organizational knowledge and expertise. Many of the breakout sessions are handled by staff, creating an opportunity to practice session planning and increase presentation skills. Several staff have debuted a session on staff day and, then, presented it at other conferences! Our registration process empowers staff to choose sessions and create a day that they find most valuable and suited to their individual needs. They are not assigned to attend any particular session, though, occasionally, there are all-staff sessions. At the end of the day, attendees submit an evaluation rating the day’s success and the relevancy of topics, expressing if their needs and interests were met. The 2023 evaluations, for example, rated every category above 90%. On the evaluation, there is also an opportunity to suggest topics for the following year. These are the first topics considered when planning occurs. Staff participation in this event starts early and is the key to its success! Attendees will leave this session with information and tools to plan a successful, staff-driven staff development day.