Navigating through life away from the library.
Navigating through life away from the library.

LUC 2023: LOUIS Users Conference

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I attended the LOUIS Users Conference {LUC} last week and, as always, it was such a good time. This was also the first year that I’ve ever presented. Actually, this was my first library presentation ever. I know, how can that be, given that I’ve been a librarian for over twenty years? I’ve always wanted to present, but never really felt qualified to do so. This year, we went through our SACS accreditation and I felt fully prepared to discuss how things went for us, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

LOUIS Users Conference {living outside the stacks} Follow @livingoutsidethestacks_reads on Instagram

The conference was held at the C.B. Pennington, Jr. Conference Center in Baton Rouge. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the rooms were comfortable. I mention that because it’s usually so very cold that I spend most of my time shivering and unable to fully enjoy the sessions.

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LOUIS is the name of the library consortium that my library belongs to. The consortium is made up of 47 member institutions across the state of Louisiana {this includes public, private, and academic libraries}. LOUIS provides our libraries with electronic resources, professional development opportunities, technical support, emotional support, a shoulder to cry on, and so much more. When I say the team at LOUIS is an absolute treasure, I mean it. I honestly don’t think I would’ve survived my early years as the library director had it not been for them.

Every year, we have a conference, where we all get together to share things about our libraries, best practices, and other other useful information for us to take back to our libraries. This year, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and present. This is something I’d thought about doing many times before, but had always felt too intimidated to do so. My colleagues are so passionate about what they do, you know? They’ve found their niche. I still kinda feel like I’m trying to find my place in the library. Yes, even after all these years.

LOUIS Users Conference {living outside the stacks} Follow @livingoutsidethestacks_reads on Instagram

When I interviewed for my job as the library director, I was told that the two biggest projects that I’d be working on were the Council of Occupational Education {COE} accreditation documentation and the SACS {Southern Association of Colleges and Schools} accreditation. COE and SACS are the accreditation bodies that give legitimacy to our programs. In the case of COE, the focus is on technical education programs, while SACS is more academic in nature. Anyway, I didn’t have any experience with either accrediting body, and I’d certainly never prepared the documentation for either. So the whole experience was trial by fire. And tears.

LOUIS Users Conference {living outside the stacks} Follow @livingoutsidethestacks_reads on Instagram

When I was hired, our college had been without a librarian for quite a while and the students didn’t have access to many of the resources provided by LOUIS, so the first thing I had to do was create the library. Rather than focusing on a space, we opted to create an online library, which means that our students have access to a majority of our resources online. This is great because it doesn’t limit access to library resources to a single space. We have five campuses, and need to be able to provide access to as many students, faculty, and staff as possible. All of our campuses have computer labs that are opened whenever the buildings are open. If students need access to resources that we don’t have, we’re able to request them from other libraries in the consortium. We also provide library services face-to-face, online, via chat, email, and phone. If you’d like to take a look at our library, click here. If you’d like to see my slides from the presentation, send me an email and I’ll share them with you.

LOUIS Users Conference {living outside the stacks} Follow @livingoutsidethestacks_reads on Instagram

Anyway, I was not prepared, y’all. I thought maybe one or two people would show up. This room was completely full. Hindsight, 20/20, I see all the areas where I could’ve filled in more details, but I think my talk went OK. It was a 20 minute session… 15 minutes of me talking, with 5 minutes for questions. I’d like to present it again, but with a bit more time and more details. We’ll see. We have our next accreditation visit in April 2024, so we’ll see how it goes then.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, the library sections in the COE and SACS accreditation visits passed without any findings. Yay, us! In fact, I was commended during both visits on my organization and outreach efforts with our students.


Preconference: Prepare Your Library for the Digital Equity Act Grant Programs: A Grant Writing Workshop {with Rebecca Kelley and Alyssa Bogosian}

LOUIS Users Conference {living outside the stacks} Follow @livingoutsidethestacks_reads on Instagram

LOUIS Users Conference {living outside the stacks} Follow @livingoutsidethestacks_reads on Instagram

Within the next year or so, the state of Louisiana will be receiving grant money to implement the state’s Digital Equity Plan. The goal of the plan is to make the internet affordable and accessible and equip residents with the skills and devices needed to thrive in today’s world. This presentation offered insight on how and when libraries can start applying for these grants. Like most librarians, I teach digital literacy skills, so even if we don’t receive any grant moneys, it’s nice to know what’s available and that those in positions of power understand that there is a digital divide in Louisiana that needs to be bridged.

The Burnout Blues: Strategies for Reclaiming Purpose in Your Work {with Abigail McCoy, Janie Branham, Jeffrey Stepp, Dr. Megan Lowe, Emma Kent, and Anna Tapia MacDonald}

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People think librarianship is an easy job, that all we do is read books. There’s so much more to it than that. Libraries are the one space where anyone is welcome, no matter what their condition, without the expectation of purchasing anything, interacting with anyone, or what have you. We see and help everyone with just about every condition and it can be mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting. Add the recent spate of animosity towards librarians, and it can be downright disheartening. This session let us know that we’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. The panelists also offered ideas for how to find ways to overcome the insert exasperated noise here feelings.

Sharing Session: Outreach and Social Media {with Vanissa Ely Gosserand, Irian Lonan, and Quiana Wright}

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I’m always on the lookout for new ways to reach our students, faculty, and staff, so whenever I see presentations on outreach, I’m there. Sometimes, I feel like I’m screaming into the void, and, other times, I feel like I’m truly making a difference. One of my biggest takeaways from this session is consistency. I run the social media for our college, and I’ll admit to not being as consistent with what I post as I should be. People like routines and I need to create a schedule so that people know what to expect.

Did You Know You Can Do That Using This? How I Utilize Social Media Platforms to Teach Information Literacy {with Emma Kent}

LOUIS Users Conference {living outside the stacks} Follow @livingoutsidethestacks_reads on Instagram

This was a fun and engaging presentation about how to use social media in information literacy sessions. I don’t teach these as often as I’d like to, but when I do, I like knowing new ways to share. Back in the day, I used to use the zombie page from the CDC website, but they took it down, so I’m on the hunt for something new.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stay for the entire conference; I was called back to campus early so that I could finish some paperwork that needed completing. To say I was disappointed would be putting it mildly.


Zuri Encore {living outside the stacks} Follow @DaenelT on Instagram

Earrings: Gold Hoops | Denim Jacket: Similar | Dress: Zuri  | Boots: Similar

Sizing: I’m 5’4″ and a dress size 12 to 14 {L, XL}. I wear a size 9.5 shoe.

Zuri Sweet Clementine {living outside the stacks} Follow @DaenelT on Instagram

Earrings: Gold Hoops | Maxi Cardi: Similar | Dress: Zuri  | Boots: Similar

Sizing: I’m 5’4″ and a dress size 12 to 14 {L, XL}. I wear a size 9.5 shoe.

I discovered Zuri a few months ago, I think it was through Instagram ads, but I could be wrong. Anyway, I decided to take my chances on one of their dresses and I have not been disappointed at all. The dresses are well made of sustainable materials that support women. The patterns are sold in limited quantities, which I love. These are, hands down, my favorite conference dresses because of their versatility. They can be worn as dresses, dusters, or tunics. I tend to wear mine as dresses, but I have layered them over cropped leggings on windy days. And, yes, there are pockets.


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Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}





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