Message from the IACRL President: Spring 2021

Illinois Association of College & Research Libraries Forum (IACRL)

March 17, 2021
IACRL President Sue Franzen

IACRL President Sue Franzen

One year ago on March 21st, Governor Pritzker directed Illinois residents to stay home and essentially shut down Illinois to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Our lives and libraries have not been the same since. 

During the last twelve months, academic librarians across the state have shown how resourceful and innovative they are in light of severe limitations in physical spaces, traditional services, and face-to-face interaction with our patrons. We have offered unique programming, welcoming curbside services, and innovative instruction to continue to meet the needs of our students, staff, and faculty. 

IACRL provided support and programming to our members throughout the year. Our executive board, committee members, and the ILA staff have been busy planning and producing a variety of membership events and opportunities. We should be proud of what we have accomplished and continue looking forward keeping in mind all we learned this past year. Here are a few IACRL highlights!

  • We have a strong slate of candidates for IACRL executive board members. Take some time to read the candidate statements and vote between April 1 through 30.

  • Consider nominating your academic colleagues for an ILA Award. IACRL has a special award for Academic Librarian of the Year. Academic librarians can be nominated for other awards as well. 

  • This year’s ILA Conference theme is Breaking Down Barriers: Building Up Communities. Submit a proposal to share projects, programming, research, and more!

  • The IACRL Spring Town Hall was just held on March 12, 2021 with significant participation. Close to 70 individuals attended to see presentations on innovations in access and instruction in response to the pandemic. 

  • IACRL premiered the first-ever Spark: Connect and Get Fired Up! in May 2020 and followed up with a 2nd Spark event, Trial by Fire: Lessons Learned from a Pandemic, in December 2020. Click the links above to view the recordings for both events. Watch for an announcement for the next Spark event and a call for proposals coming soon. 

  • The IACRL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee held its first meeting last month and has been officially added to the list of IACRL Committees. If you are interested in joining any of our IACRL committees, please contact me at 

  • Thanks to the hard work of the Bylaws Ad-hoc Committee and input from our members, the IACRL bylaws were updated and made official in December 2020.

  • In December 2020, over 60 librarians came together to view and discuss the ACRL webinar “Teaching Online in Plain Language.” We hope to feature another ACRL webinar this year.

I have had the great pleasure of serving as your President. Thank you to all IACRL members for their dedication to making their libraries great and sharing their experiences with each other. Let’s hope for continued progress in 2021, so we will all be back in our library buildings interacting with each other and our patrons again soon!

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