Your Name and Title:
Iris Finkel, Web and Digital Initiatives Librarian
Library, School, or Organization Name:
Hunter College CUNY
Sarah Laleman Ward, Outreach Librarian, Hunter College CUNY;
Area of the World from Which You Will Present: United States
Language in Which You Will Present: English
Target Audience(s): Academic Librarians, Librarians in Special Libraries
Short Session Description (one line): Celebrating ourselves and boosting morale during the pandemic with a Virtual Library Day
Full Session Description (as long as you would like):
The Hunter College Libraries’ annual Library Day celebration stretches back to the 1990s. The event would typically coincide with National Library Week and feature a guest speaker, usually a faculty member from the college who had recently published a book, as well as a book signing by other faculty members who had books published in the previous year. Additionally, the Libraries supported a competition that highlighted students’ research papers. In recent years, since the early 2010s, we broadened the focus of the event to include student work and performances, as well as more inclusion of library faculty research and publications and staff accomplishments.
When we moved to remote work last year in March, we necessarily began thinking if Library Day was still a priority given the circumstances and if so, how best to transition it to a fully online event. In order to boost department morale and feature the hard, and often invisible, work done by our staff, faculty, and student workers, we sent out a call for “shout-outs” from our whole department. People could submit a single person or a group of people for a shout-out, and the submitted could opt to remain anonymous or to let the person or group know they were being submitted. Self-submissions were also welcome. What resulted was an edifying collection of positive, supportive comments to colleagues by colleagues.
A highlight of the Library Day event has been announcing the winners of the Hunter College Libraries’ Competition for Best Research Papers, now in it’s 28th year. Every fall semester we invite faculty to submit up to three of the best papers written in each of their classes taught in the spring, summer and/or fall semesters preceding the Library Day Event. We award first and second place winners in three levels of classes: 100, 200 +, and graduate. Last spring, it was a tradition that was particularly important to maintain.
We will describe our process for developing the virtual event for the past two years, including lessons learned, ways we stretched ourselves to create multimodal content, the power of teamwork (even in a virtual environment), and plans for future iterations of Library Day, both in person and virtual.
This year we expanded the event further to once again include examples of student work that resulted from librarians’ collaborations with various classes, shout-outs to and from colleagues, any praise or thank you notes we received from our users for the past year, and more. We launched our multimedia Virtual Library Day 2021 on April 28, 2021.