Message from the President

Illinois Association of College & Research Libraries Forum (IACRL)

March 20, 2020

I had a very different President’s Message prepared to send out but then the CoVID -19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic struck. I am not sure I have used the term “unprecedented times” so many times. The Illinois Library Association has recommended that public libraries and academic libraries suspend operations and many of you have done so. I am honored to be the President of IACRL every day but especially when the strength of the library community and our resourcefulness is notable as it is now. I hope this message finds you, your colleagues, friends, and family well. These truly are unprecedented times.

While we face a new challenge, I do want to reflect on some of the amazing things that IACRL has been able to accomplish in 2020.

  • IACRL offered its first-ever webinar on January 28th, “Libraries are Open for Learning: Using OER to Support Students and Faculty.” If you were not able to attend, a recording is available on the IACRL website. We are also looking for our next webinar topic and presenter so if you or someone you know would be interested in presenting, contact Sue Franzen, Chair of the Conference and Continuing Education Committee.
  • For our journal club meeting in February, we partnered with the CARLI instruction committee.
  • Committees are also working on new awards and engagement for members.
  • An ad-hoc committee has begun reviewing and revising the IACRL by-laws and we should have a document to adopt at our annual meeting in October.

We are also planning more spring virtual events.

  • Many IACRL members have mentioned that they miss the separate IACRL conference. This year we are excited to announce a new IACRL/RAILS venture for academic libraries in Illinois, Spark: Connect and Get Fired Up! on Friday, May 15, 10:00 am-12:00 pm. This was originally scheduled to be an in-person event but we have moved to an online format. We hope this professional development opportunity will be the first of many to Spark our enthusiasm to share and connect as academic librarians in Illinois. Librarians from all libraries in Illinois are welcome and encouraged to join us online! To register, visit
  • Our next virtual journal club meeting will be April 23rd, 12-1 pm. We will be reading about and discussing virtual reference. Register in advance for this meeting: We are also looking for our next journal club leader in June, contact me if you are interested.
  • The membership committee is devising a meet up for IACRL at the ALA Annual Conference. More information to come.
  • Mark your calendars for the ILA Annual Conference. We will have our IACRL@ILA track of programing as well as our unconference and annual meeting luncheon. This year we are excited to have then ACRL President Jon E. Cawthrone speak at our luncheon!
  • We are also planning two in-person ACRL webinar viewing events. These will be scheduled once large face-to-face gatherings return.

I hope to “see” you at one of these upcoming events.

The IACRL board, committees, and the ILA staff have been busy making these events possible so thank you! IACRL depends on volunteerism and we so appreciate it. I hope that you join us in volunteering for IACRL and helping to make a difference. We would love for you to join our committee work.

If you have ideas for more IACRL opportunities or projects, please let us know.

Keep being amazing and wash your hands.

Michelle Nielsen Ott

iREAD Summer Reading Programs

Since 1981, iREAD provides high quality, low-cost resources and products that enable local library staff to motivate children, young adults, and adults to read.

Visit the iREAD website »