Building the New Library Team

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Motivating and retaining staff. Recruiting new staff. Navigating new ways of working.  And developing the skills for new services. Changes in the workplace and workforce have made building the new library team more important than ever. This is the time for managers, staff, and job seekers to think together about what will be needed for the future.

Join the 2022 Amigos Member Conference on Wednesday, May 11 to explore the new library staffing landscape.

For more information about this conference, contact Tracy Byerly at or 800-843-8482, ext. 2893.

Candidates for Board of Directors (Librarian) – three to be elected for a three-year term:

portrait: Mr. Corey ChristiansMr. Corey Christians
Director, Yavapai County Free Library District, Prescott, AZ

   Read nomination acceptance form - (pdf file)

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portrait: Ms. Elizabeth DawsonMs. Elizabeth Dawson
Technical Services Librarian, Arizona Western College, Yuma AZ

   Read nomination acceptance form - (pdf file)

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portrait: Ms. Barbara GlackinMs. Barbara Glackin
Dean, Kent Library, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO

   Read nomination acceptance form - (pdf file)

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portrait: Ms. Shannon Bennett HausingerMs. Shannon Bennett Hausinger
Director-Student Learning Resource Center, Lone Star College, Houston, TX

   Read nomination acceptance form - (pdf file)

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portrait: Ms. Britt Anne MurphyMs. Britt Anne Murphy
Director of Library and Librarian, Bailey Library, Hendrix College, Conway, AR

   Read nomination acceptance form - (pdf file)

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Candidate for Board of Directors (Independent) – one to be elected for a three-year term:

portrait: Dr. Louis LafradoDr. Louis Lafrado
President, L&D Associates Consulting Group, Inc., Rio Rancho, NM

   Read nomination acceptance form - (pdf file)

    Listen to a short message - (wav file)

Registration for the conference has been closed.

Register for the past recordings here:

You will have access until November 30, 2023 to view the conference past recordings.

Please Note: If you were registered for the live event, you already have access to the conference past recordings. For viewing the past recordings, login with the credentials provided for you to attend the conference.

Session Links
10:00 am
Opening Keynote and Member Business Meeting
It Takes Time: Employee Engagement - (show description)
Chris LeBeau, Chair, Amigos Board of Directors
Keynote Speakers: Kristen Sorth - St. Louis County Library Director and CEO/Tarza Tawfiq - St. Louis County Library Employee Relations Coordinator
11:45 am
Lunch Break
12:45 pm
From Origination to Onboarding: Improving the Hiring Experience - (show description)
Allyson Rodriguez and Sian Brannon
12:45 pm
Relocating Reference: from a Circulation Perspective - (show description)
Leah McAlister and Susan Welker
12:45 pm
Transforming Leadership: What the Pandemic Taught Us About Supporting the Whole Library Employee - (show description)
Sarah Norrell
1:30 pm
1:45 pm
Staying flexible: Creating a culture of flexibility and change - (show description)
Derrik Hiatt
1:45 pm
Motivating Library Staff and Promoting Inclusion Through Teams - (show description)
Reina Williams
1:45 pm
Keep Your Workers by Sending Them Home: Offering Flexible Work Arrangements as an Employee Retention Strategy - (show description)
Bridgit McCafferty and Lisa Hopkins
2:30 pm
2:45 pm
Things Change, So Rearrange - Steps to Take & Lessons Learned - (show description)
Katherine Anderson and Amanda Guthrie
2:45 pm
Off to a Great Start! - (show description)
Jean Waldrop
2:45 pm
Developing a Data-Driven Approach to Organizational Development - (show description)
Tony Zander, Paul Bracke and Jackie Lorrainne

Kristin Sorth portrait

Keynote Speaker: Kristen Sorth - St. Louis County Library -
Keynote Speaker: Tarza Tawfiq - St. Louis County Library -

Session Time: 10:00 - 11:45 a.m. CDT (during the Amigos Member Business Meeting)

Session Title: It Takes Time: Employee Engagement

Session Description: The presenters will share details of St. Louis County Library's work in supporting their workforce navigating a changing landscape with employee engagement committees, surveys, direct communication with leadership and more.

Speaker Bio: Kristen Sorth is the Director and CEO of St. Louis County Library (SLCL) where she manages over 600 employees and oversees an annual budget of more than $50 million dollars. Under her leadership, the library has embarked on a multi-million dollar capital improvement campaign called Your Library Renewed. To date, the campaign has renovated or replaced 18 library branches. During Ms. Sorth’s tenure, the library has focused on building community partnerships to provide innovative programming and cultural enrichment. This effort has resulted in several successful and award-winning partnerships with local organizations including Operation Food Search, We Stories and the Little Bit Foundation.

She was named the 2019 winner of ALA's Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession which honored her for her dedication, talent and the leadership that she brings to the St. Louis County Library organization and community.

Tarza Tawfiq portraitMs. Sorth is an active member of the Urban Libraries Council and Missouri Public Library Directors. She earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She began her career as a human resource professional for the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Starting as the Director of Human Resources, she has worked for the SLCL since 1998.

Speaker Bio: In 1997, Tarza's immediate family moved to St. Louis as part of the right of asylum for refugees. The family established their future home in the City of St. Louis where Tarza attended Saint Louis University's School of Education. After working at a local school district, Tarza joined St. Louis County Library as a Computer Lab Trainer. In 2018, Tarza moved into the Staff Trainer role and it was in this role that Tarza recognized the passion for making an impact behind the scenes. As the Employee Relations Coordinator, Tarza focuses on performing tasks that support employee relations, wellness, engagement and serves as a liaison for employees within the Library.

Allyson Rodriguez portrait

Speaker: Allyson Rodriguez - University of North Texas -
Speaker: Sian Brannon - University of North Texas -

Session Time: 12:45 - 1:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: From Origination to Onboarding: Improving the Hiring Experience

Session Description: Sure, hiring is hard, but it’s a very necessary evil. How can we make the experience better and more inclusive for the library AND the candidates? This session will walk you through each step from the perspective of a recent search committee chair and the candidate who accepted the position. Those steps include: drafting a job advertisement, recruiting, candidate review, interviews, making the offer, and onboarding.

Speaker Bio: Allyson Rodriguez, the Head of Collection Development at the University of North Texas Libraries, has worked at university, community college, and military installation libraries. She has published on many topics surrounding collection management, collection development, and vendor relations.

Sian Brannon portraitSpeaker Bio: Sian Brannon, the Associate Dean for Collection Management at the University of North Texas Libraries, has been in libraries since the 1990s, working in public, academic, and technical libraries. She is the former editor of Public Services Quarterly, and is an adjunct professor for Technical Services/Research Methods courses.

Leah McAlister portrait

Speaker: Leah McAlister - Southeast Missouri State University / Kent Library -
Speaker: Susan Welker - Southeast Missouri State University / Kent Library -

Session Time: 12:45 - 1:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Relocating Reference: from a Circulation Perspective

Session Description: Access Services personnel describe the benefits and challenges of moving the Reference Desk from a different floor to the Circulation Desk, while still maintaining separate functions. The presenters will provide a brief history of faculty/staff roles at both desks prior to the move and discuss how the relocation affected those roles. The presenters will also discuss cross-training of faculty, staff, and student employees, as well as unexpected bumps in the road.

Speaker Bio: Leah McAlister is the Access Services Manager at Kent Library at Southeast Missouri State University. She has worked at Kent Library for nearly 18 years in various roles in the Access Services Unit.

Susan Welker portraitSpeaker Bio: Susan Welker is the Resource Sharing and Research Library Associate at Kent Library. In addition to resource sharing, she manages the day-to-day tasks of the Circulation Desk. Susan has worked in the Access Services Unit for nearly 11 years.

Sarah Norrell portrait

Speaker: Sarah Norrell - The University of Texas at Tyler -

Session Time: 12:45 - 1:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Transforming Leadership: What the Pandemic Taught Us About Supporting the Whole Library Employee

Session Description: The pandemic has proven challenging for even the most resilient library employees. Students’ learning experiences were flipped on their head, faculty and instructors had to transition entire course loads overnight, and as usual, reliance on the library skyrocketed. For many library leaders, these pressures grew exponentially as fellow employees sought guidance on how to continue teaching and supporting learners/patrons while facing challenges of their own. This session stems from the experiences of one such instruction coordinator after leading a team of instruction librarians through projects, goals, assessment, and change in a period like none other.

The presenter will discuss her own transformation process and the results of that process. Special focus will be placed on facilitating patience, empathy, and self-forgiveness among library employees. Additionally, evidence will be presented for supporting the whole employee through the lens of adult learning, trauma-informed care, and Human Resource Development theories. After sharing her personal experience, the presenter will facilitate a discussion among attendees about their own experiences, expectations, and the general role of the leader in order to expand the concept of library leadership. Next the presenter will outline a number of freely available resources to support attendees’ leadership efforts.

Finally, the group will collaborate on the creation of a shared portfolio including theories, concepts, tools, and other resources for future use and support. This collaboration will be completely voluntary through a cloud-based platform such as Google Drive or Forms and will simultaneously create a network of library professionals willing to support one another throughout their leadership transformations. Attendees will leave the session armed with a support system and a range of resources, ready to begin their own transformations in order to support the whole library employee.

Speaker Bio: Sarah Norrell (she/her) is the Business Librarian and Instruction Coordinator at The University of Texas at Tyler. She has BA in English and Writing, a MS in Information Studies, and a MS in Human Resource Development. In her spare time she enjoys baking, spending time with her two scruffy dogs Marshall and Petey, and taking care of her ever-growing collection of house plants.

Derrik Hiatt portrait

Speaker: Derrik Hiatt - Mary and Jeff Bell Library / Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi -

Session Time: 1:45 - 2:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Staying flexible: Creating a culture of flexibility and change

Session Description: In an atmosphere of constant change, organizations of all types need to be nimble. The Mary and Jeff Bell Library is still adjusting to a recent ILS migration, is preparing to switch to a new book vendor, and starting plans for a major weeding project. And, oh yeah, a global pandemic caused a few changes along the way. This presentation describes how the Resource Management & Discovery department at the Bell Library has deliberately restructured multiple times as workflow needs have evolved, creating a culture of organizational flexibility and of embracing change.

Speaker Bio: Derrik Hiatt was recently appointed Assistant Dean of University Libraries at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, after having been the Bell Library's Serials/E-Resources Librarian and Director of Resource Management & Discovery. Prior to working at TAMU-CC, he was the Electronic Resources Librarian at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and Assistant Serials Librarian at Brigham Young University in Utah.

Reina Williams portrait

Speaker: Reina Williams - Cowan-Blakley Memorial Library, University of Dallas -

Session Time: 1:45 - 2:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Motivating Library Staff and Promoting Inclusion Through Teams

Session Description: Teams help build comradery among employees, and create opportunities for collaboration, support, and accountability that can motivate employees to perform better on projects. Inclusive teams generate new ideas and insights due to the diverse perspectives on the team. Inclusive teams also motivate individual employees to perform better, and promote inclusion among library staff.

Speaker Bio: Reina Williams earned her M.L.I.S. from Dominican University in River Forest, IL and has a B.F.A. in Art History, Art Criticism, and Theory from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was the Manager of Research Services at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, and became a Senior Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP). She was a tenured library faculty member and served as the Library Department Chair at Wilbur Wright College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, in Chicago, IL. She has served on several professional library committees and boards including as a Director-at-Large on the Illinois Library Association Board, and the Customers of SirsiDynix Users Group, Inc. Board. Currently, she is the Associate Dean and Director of the Cowan-Blakey Memorial Library at the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas, and is a member of the OCLC Americas Regional Council. In addition to her duties as the Associate Dean and Director she serves as the library's systems administrator.

Bridgit McCafferty portrait

Speaker: Bridgit McCafferty - Texas A&M University-Central Texas University Library -
Speaker: Lisa Hopkins - Texas A&M University-Central Texas University Library -

Session Time: 1:45 - 2:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Keep Your Workers by Sending Them Home: Offering Flexible Work Arrangements as an Employee Retention Strategy

Session Description: In March 2020, library employees at Texas A&M University-Central Texas were suddenly working from home, a jolting experience that some thought would be a disaster. Contrary to expectations, we found that these flexible arrangements were a benefit that contributed to employee retention, even in the face of stagnant wages. In fact, coming out of the pandemic, the majority of our staff expressed a strong preference to continue to work from home at least part-time. As a result, we implemented long-term strategies to accommodate extended, widespread flexible work arrangements at all levels, including for administrators, librarians, and part-time staff. Through this initiative, we found that flexible work arrangements bring positive changes in the work culture by promoting wellness and work-life balance.

Lisa Hopkins portraitIn this presentation, we will discuss our experiences implementing this initiative during the past year, and how these arrangements have worked post COVID. This includes both the positive changes, as well as the challenges we’ve faced. We will provide attendees with concrete recommendations to maximize the benefits and minimize the drawbacks, based on our own experiences. We will also discuss how these arrangements help retain staff, keep them motivated, and protect against burnout. We will include a variety of flexible arrangements to provide many options for potential implementation, including how we have allowed some part-timers to work from home in a limited capacity.

Speaker Bio: Bridgit McCafferty is the Dean of the University Library at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, and has led the library for nine years. Prior to this, she was in charge of reference and instruction services. She has taken on major administrative projects for her university, including recently chairing the SACSCOC Accreditation Reaffirmation Compliance Committee. She is the author of Library Management: A Practical Guide for Librarians and the coauthor of British Postmodernism: Strategies and Sources. She has also written several book chapters about library assessment and library support for nontraditional students.

Speaker Bio: Lisa Kallman Hopkins has served as the Assistant Dean of the University Library & Archives at Texas A&M University-Central Texas since 2017. Beginning her career as a Cataloging and Acquisitions Librarian, she became Head of Technical Services six years ago. As Head of Technical Services, she implemented innovations that promoted enhanced productivity, efficiency, and employee contentment in the department, an experience she described in chapters "Technical Services: The Renaissance Team" and "The Times They are a Changin': Workflow Collaboration in the Information Age," both published in volumes through Purdue University Press. In addition, she was on the editorial board of ALA's Sudden Selector's Guides from 2018 to 2021, serves as an editor and advisor for the International Journal of Cognitive Care, and has done extensive editing for university publications including the university catalog, strategic planning documents, and reaccreditation documents.

Katherine Anderson portrait

Speaker: Katherine Anderson - Lubbock Christian University Library -
Speaker: Amanda Guthrie - Lubbock Christian University Library -

Session Time: 2:45 - 3:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Things Change, So Rearrange - Steps to Take & Lessons Learned

Session Description: Have budget cuts and staffing freezes had an impact at your library? Ours too! Over the past two years, the Lubbock Christian University library has gone from a staff of nine full-time employees to five full-time, one distance, and one part-time. During this transition we have had to retool all but one of those positions. Learn from our triumphs and mistakes as we discuss the steps to take in remaking roles, how to avoid pitfalls, and how to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Speaker Bio: Katherine Anderson is currently the Electronic Resources Librarian for Lubbock Christian University. She has been an academic librarian for 14 years, working at both the community college and university levels.

Speaker Bio: Amanda Guthrie serves as the Director of Lubbock Christian University Library. While she loves all things library, her passion is academic libraries, working in both 2- and 4- year institutions during her 10 years as a librarian.

Jean Waldrop portrait

Speaker: Jean Waldrop - Brackett Library - Harding University -

Session Time: 2:45 - 3:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Off to a Great Start!

Session Description: Taking time at the beginning with new employees could pay off in the end. This session will look at an organized approach to help new employees have a great start in their new positions.

Speaker Bio: Jean Waldrop has been working at the Brackett Library on Harding University's campus since 2006, overseeing several areas of the library, including Reference and Electronic Resources, before becoming Director in 2014. Jean has an MS from Texas A&M-Commerce in Learning Technology and Information Systems with an emphasis in Library Science - a long title that lets you know she is comfortable and excited to be a part of a physical library, as well as digital library resources. Jean also served on the Amigos Board of Directors from 2016 to 2019. In her free time, she enjoys quilting, walking, and of course, reading.

Tony Zanders portrait

Speaker: Tony Zanders - Skilltype, Inc. -
Speaker: Paul Bracke - Gonzaga University -
Speaker: Jackie Lorrainne - Washington University in St. Louis -

Session Time: 2:45 - 3:30 p.m. CDT

Session Title: Developing a Data-Driven Approach to Organizational Development

Session Description: The talent shortage facing libraries today requires hiring managers to rethink their approach to teambuilding. This is exacerbated by the changing skills landscape facing the information profession as our services transition to a digital-first environment. Join library technology executive Tony Zanders for a moderated panel discussion on the global trends reshaping library organizational development. Joined by administrators from two Skilltype libraries, the group will share how each of their organizations is incorporating data to help inform key decisions whether to recruit from outside or reskill from within. Attendees will takeaway a clear understanding of the issues leading to what is arguably the greatest redefinition of librarianship in history. Hiring managers will learn how access to better data help saves time and money when managing potential openings. Library workers will learn how to remove the guesswork from their career development process.

Speaker Bio: Tony Zanders is an award-winning software entrepreneur and library technology executive. He currently serves as the founder and CEO of Skilltype — a software platform for information professionals and their teams to analyze, develop, and share expertise. In 2019, Zanders was appointed as the inaugural entrepreneur in residence at the Boston University Libraries, where he provided executive counsel to the University Librarian during the academic strategic planning process while designing and implementing new approaches to recruitment, retention, and training. Prior to Skilltype, Zanders was Vice President of Global Customer Development at EBSCO, where he advised libraries on software integrations across more than 30 countries. He has also served in executive roles at Ex Libris/ProQuest, while receiving funding from the Gates Foundation to develop a research management platform for first-generation college applicants. Zanders is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Paul Bracke portraitSpeaker Bio: Paul Bracke is the Dean of the Foley Library at Gonzaga University, a position he has held since 2016. In this role, Dean Bracke provides leadership and oversight for the Foley Library and the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs. Previously, he was Associate Dean for Research and Assessment at the Purdue University Libraries. At Purdue, he provided leadership in technology, digitization, research services, and assessment. He developed internationally-recognized research support services, including the development of data management services and institutional and data repositories. He also directed projects that explored the intersections of digitization and open access publishing, and of digitization and scholarly workflows in the social sciences.

He held previous positions at the University of Arizona, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Bracke holds a bachelor’s degree in history and journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Arizona. He was a member of the Association of Research Libraries’ Leadership Fellows 2013-2015 cohort.

Bracke’s research interests include social and relational capital in academic libraries, research services, digital libraries, and library automation. He has held leadership positions in the Library Information Technology Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, DataCite, and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance.

Named Associate Provost of the new Institute for Research and Interdisciplinary Initiatives in 2021, Dr. Bracke brings a long-term commitment to supporting the committees and structures to assist faculty and students in their future research and scholarly endeavors. He will also continue as Dean of the Foley Library to build the library’s collections and create new partnerships regionally to enhance the holdings.

Jackie Lorrainne portraitSpeaker Bio: Jackie Lorrainne is the associate university librarian for Planning, Operations, and Administrative Services at Washington University in St. Louis. She is primarily responsible for strategies advancing the Libraries' capability and performance in the areas of financial and administrative operations. Jackie provides vision and leadership to several departments including business services, library space and building operations, assessment and analytics, communications and special events, and human resources for the University Libraries. She also serves as the liaison for several committees, including the Library Management Council and the Organizational Learning Committee. Jackie sits on the University Librarians Council where she works with other senior leaders to ensure excellence in all Libraries' operations and services.

Outside of the Libraries, Jackie has been involved in numerous leadership and development roles. She served as the inaugural chair of the Danforth Staff Council Human Resources Committee where she led the development of the DSC Orientation Workshop and several collaborations and initiatives with central HR staff. Jackie also served as the inaugural president of the WUSTL Speaks Toastmasters Club for the Danforth Campus. She is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Forum for Faculty and Staff (DIFFS), the Danforth Management Team, and the University Management Team. Jackie is currently an art and sciences progress counselor and an affiliate of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Equity at Washington University in St. Louis.

Jackie was named Woman of the Year by the American Business Women's Association and received the Achievement Against the Odds award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. She is a member of The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, The National Black MBA Association, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and the Missouri Association for Blacks in Higher Education.

Jackie has a doctorate degree in higher education leadership from Maryville University. She earned her master's degree in business administration from Olin Business School's Executive MBA program and her bachelor of science degree from Southeast Missouri State University.

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