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Science and Technology Section (STS): Past Annual & Midwinter Conferences

ACRL Science & Technology Section programming and materials from past conferences.

2023- ALA Annual Hot Topics

Engaging Undergraduate Students from Marginalized Groups in Research: STS Hot Topics Winter Discussion Session

Session details: 

February 13, 2023 2pm ET | 1pm CT | 11am PT on Zoom

Session description:

It is well demonstrated that students from marginalized groups continue to be underrepresented in STEM programs. High-impact teaching and learning practices, such as undergraduate research, can be beneficial to students by increasing engagement, academic success, and retention. Involving students from marginalized groups in undergraduate research can help them succeed in STEM fields.  Please join the ACRL Science and Technology Section's Hot Topics committee in discussing how librarians and faculty can help engage students in undergraduate research. 

The session will feature brief speaker presentations, followed by Q&A and breakout sections for participant discussion. Our speakers will be:

  • Dr. Emmanuel Santa-Martinez, Assistant Professor in Salt Lake Community College's Biology Department, speaking on how he has successfully incorporated undergraduate research projects into his courses and their impact on his students
  • Megan Haught, University of Central Florida Libraries' Executive Assistant, speaking on her collaborations with librarians, faculty, and other university partners to develop STEM-related diversity library guides and programs.

Speaker presentations will be recorded. Breakout rooms and general discussions will not be recorded.

2022- ALA Annual Hot Topics

Scientific Publishing and the Pandemic: STS Hot Topics Discussion Summer 2022

Session details: 

June 7th, 2022 3 - 4:30 pm ET | 2 - 3:30 pm CT | 12 - 1:30 pm PT

Session description: 

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a rapid proliferation of scientific output, with the release of many pre-prints, datasets, and scholarly articles, as well as the popular articles that discuss them. With the output of articles retractions and misinformation also followed. The STS Hot Topics committee will host a discussion session to examine changes to scientific publishing and communication practices during the pandemic. 

The discussion session will feature brief talks and multiple breakout sections for participants to discuss impacts to our own work. Our speakers will be:

  • Ms. Julia Gelfand, Applied Sciences & Engineering Librarian at the University of California Irvine. She will be speaking on “STEM Publishing Lessons Learned from the Pandemic: New Practices for Libraries & Publishers”. 
  • Dr. Jodi Schneider, Assistant Professor of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She will be speaking on retractions in publications during the pandemic. 

Science Communication and Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities

Session Details: Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 3 PM - 4 PM (ET)

Session Description: Libraries have long played a role in gathering and providing access to scientific research. However, in today's media landscape, the ways in which our patrons find, interpret, and engage with scientific information is constantly changing. For many, it is becoming increasingly difficult to discern credible scientific information from false and misleading claims. How should librarians adapt to these changing circumstances? What role should librarians play in communicating science to patrons and the broader community? What do other professions, such as popular science writers and public information officers, teach us about effectively communicating scientific findings to a broader audience? Please join us for a lively panel discussion featuring a science reporter, a public information officer for a science institution, and an academic science librarian as they explore ways libraries can engage with students, researchers, and the public in communicating, interpreting, and evaluating scientific information.

 Discussion Format:

This session will be a moderated panel discussion. During this session, the panelists will discuss ways that librarians can engage in science communication and answer questions submitted by the audience. To help guide this discussion, audience members will be able to submit questions when they register for this session. Audience members will also be able to comment and ask questions via chat during the session. Zoom polling of audience members will be used to facilitate group discussion. This session will not be recorded and will only be available live.

Panelist Bios:

Leah Crane is a reporter at New Scientist, a UK-based science magazine. She writes primarily about physics and space, and is particularly interested in planetary science, cosmology, and quantum weirdness. Before joining New Scientist, she was a freelance science writer. She received her bachelor's degree in physics with a minor in European studies at Carleton College in Minnesota and now lives in Chicago.

Natasha Metzler. As the Associate Director for Digital Media and Content Strategy at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Natasha Metzler helps about 400 Earth, space, and life scientists share their work with the press and the public using social media, news releases, and digital storytelling. She is also overseeing a website redesign across the institution and implementing a digital-first communications strategy for many of the organization's collateral products, including an annual report microsite. Before joining Carnegie's team, she was a reporter at the Associated Press in Washington and covered scientific research for a pharmaceutical industry trade magazine in New York. She has a master's in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor's in biology from Earlham College.

Jeanine Scaramozzino is a tenured Librarian (i.e. Professor), at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She currently serves as the Librarian for the College of Science and Mathematics & School of Education. She co-created a Science Café series, and created a Data Studio speaker series as well as a STEAM series with a local art museum open to the campus and local community. Her current research focuses on the sharing of history and research through Artificial Intelligence. Ms. Scaramozzino has served as the Cal Poly Academic and Scholarly Communications (ASC) Coordinator, Institutional Repository Librarian, and Data and GIS Services Librarian. She has previously worked as a Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics Librarian and an adjunct reference and instructional librarian, and at Stanford University. Ms. Scaramozzino has a bachelor's in biology and graduate degrees in biology, information sciences, and history.

2021- ALA Annual Hot Topics

Lessons Learned from COVID - Next Steps for Libraries in a Post-Pandemic World

Session Details: June 15, 2021 2-3:30 PM ET

Session Description:  The COVID-19 Pandemic has altered nearly all facets of librarianship. Whether it's moving to all virtual reference or instruction models, ramping up digital collection development, or finding new and creative online outreach modalities, libraries have found ingenious ways to adjust and thrive in these times of remote working and learning. However, when the need for social distancing subsides, what's next for the academic library? Will libraries return en masse to pre-COVID operations or will there be substantial and lingering impacts from the pandemic on our day-to-day activities? What has COVID taught us about improving service and experience for both patrons and library staff? Please join us for this lively and interactive discussion on how libraries can build upon their COVID experiences to increase their relevance and value to patrons and staff moving forward.

 Discussion Format:

We'll begin this discussion with three short lighting talks highlighting examples from various aspects of librarianship. After a brief Q&A, we will use Poll Everywhere to facilitate an interactive discussion on future directions for libraries. Please come ready to share your thoughts and learn from others on how to successfully navigate a post-pandemic world.

Science Librarianship and Social Justice Concepts

Session Details: February 25, 2021 2-3:30 PM ET

Session Description: Please join the Hot Topics Discussion Group and the five librarians who write "Science Librarianship and Social Justice" for an hour of introduction to concepts, discussion, and question and answers. This session is intended for all levels of familiarity with the concepts and participation.

As a broader awareness of, interest in, and a professional desire (and often a personal desire) for a more equitable, accessible and just world increases, some in the sciences struggle to incorporate these social developments into their research and teaching. Science librarianship can be similarly removed from this discourse. Starting in 2019 a group of five librarians came together to start a column in Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship to help open a dialog around equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) concepts, definitions, and examples in both library and science contexts to work toward bridging this gap. In this discussion the authors of this column will discuss some of the concepts they have covered, the ways they have developed to navigate hard conversations during their collaboration, and engage the audience in a discussion around social justice concepts and science librarianship.

If you wish to engage with this material prior to the session, two columns have been published so far:

Group Positionality Statement:

As a group of five librarians from different institutions, there is no single positionality statement that could cover all of us. That said, the work behind the columns is driven at least in part because of our identities and lived experiences including non-binary, Latina, Black, White, queer, and autistic librarians. We have come together as a group with diverse positionality to bring conversations about justice to the forefront of science librarianship.

2020 ALA Annual Hot Topics

STS Hot Topics Discussion: Research Metrics Expanded!

June 15 from 1-2 p.m. CDT

Recording Link:


Session Description: Since you demanded more after the Midwinter Virtual Session, here it is! Libraries are frequently at the intersection of assessment and scholarly communication. Over the years, multiple research metrics have been developed to assess the quality of scholarship produced. However, with so many metrics available, it is often difficult to navigate research assessment. What do research metrics actually measure? How effective are they at measuring scientific quality and what are the potential ethical considerations to their use? In what ways are social media and altmetrics changing how research is evaluated? Please join us to learn more about the changing research metrics landscape and how libraries can better engage with the broader academic community. In this session, Stefanie Haustein will address questions raised by participants during the Midwinter Virtual Discussion. There will also be time for Q&A following the presentation.

Presenter Bio: Stefanie Haustein is an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Information Studies and co-director of the ScholCommLab, a research group that analyzes all aspects of scholarly communication in the digital age. Haustein’s research focuses on scholarly communication, bibliometrics, altmetrics, and open science.

Hot Topics Discussion Group/Publisher Vendor relations session on Vendor Negotiations (including cancellations) 

Session Title: Vendor Negotiations, Including Cancellations

Session Details: Wednesday, July 22, 2020, 3PM to 5PM (ET)

 Virtual Discussion Description:

Developing professional vendor relationships is an important skill for any academic library, particularly for collections in the STEM disciplines. However, many librarians feel ill-prepared to enter into negotiations, especially in times of ever-increasing material costs and limited collections budgets. Added to this complexity are the “big deal” packages and the potential fallout when these or other expensive resources are canceled. This virtual discussion will address the important skills necessary in effective and amicable vendor relations and tips on how to navigate the sometimes turbulent waters surrounding negotiations and cancellations. During the first hour of this session, the two presenters will discuss the nuts and bolts of vendor negotiations, drawing upon their own professional experiences. The second hour will be devoted to smaller virtual breakout sessions where participants can discuss the information presented during the first hour as well as share best practices and other lessons learned.

 Presenter Bios:

Michele Van Hoeck is the Dean of the Library and Learning Services at California State University Maritime. She is also a research associate with Project Information Literacy, and has worked on studies related to technology and library space use, as well as information seeking behavior of college students. Previously, she was a faculty librarian and instruction coordinator at Cal Maritime and a news researcher at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Keith Webster was appointed Dean of University Libraries at Carnegie Mellon University in July 2013 and was additionally appointed as Director of Emerging and Integrative Media Initiatives in July 2015. Previously, Keith was Vice President and Director of Academic Relations and Strategy for the global publishing company John Wiley and Sons. He was formerly Dean of Libraries and University Librarian at the University of Queensland in Australia, leading one of the largest university and hospital library services in the southern hemisphere.

2019 - ALA Annual Hot Topics - Library as Publisher: The challenge of hosting student and faculty journals

When: Sunday, June 23, 2019   10:30 am –11:30 am

Where: Washington Hilton, Kalorama

What: A panel of speakers will discuss experiences with library-based publishing including successes, challenges and how the library’s position as publisher has changed over time.  What support is necessary and available for libraries and librarians , as they consider these new responsibilities? The discussion will explore the library’s role in publishing journals both in STEM and other disciplines. Following speaker presentations, participants will engage in roundtable discussions centered around these topics.


Amy Paster, Head Life Science Library, Penn State University and Editor of IK: Other Ways of Knowing.

Regina Raboin, Associate Director, Lamar Soutter Library at University of Massachusetts Medical School and Editor of the Journal of eScience Librarianship (JeSLIB).

 Moderated By: Mike Goates, Life Sciences Librarian, Brigham Young University


Presentation Slides:

Regina Raboin

Want to Learn More?

Society for Scholarly Publications (SSP)

Library Publishing Coalition (LPC)

The award article, “Developing a Business Plan for a Library Publishing Program”, (publications, Vol. 6, Issue 4) by Kate McCready and Emma Molls, and two (2) additional articles and the Ethical Framework for Library Publishing, are linked to in the announcement.

LPC Directory 

2019 - ALA Midwinter Hot Topics - Predatory Journals

"Predatory Journals: How to Help Faculty and Students Navigate the Good from the Bad"

Saturday, January 26, 2019   1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

GRAND Leonesa I (Grand Hyatt Seattle, Leonesa I)

A panel of speakers will focus on the issue of predatory journals and how to assist faculty and students to decipher the good from the bad. As institutions embrace the concept of open access publishing as a solution to mandates to make research available, and to combat the rising cost of journal subscriptions, more open access journals are being launched every year. Most are honest attempts to meet these needs, but some are not. The discussion will explore the challenges faculty face as they try to navigate the realm of open access journals, decipher the credible from the untrustworthy, practical tips on recognizing the deceptive tactics and strategies used to prey upon researchers, and the misrepresentation and illusions of predatory journals. Participants will engage in roundtable discussions centered around these topics following speaker presentations.


Rick Anderson, Associate Dean for Collections & Scholarly Communication at University of Utah (Look at his most recent book Scholarly Communications: What Everyone Needs to Know.)

Sarah Norris, Scholarly Communication Librarian at University of Central Florida (Find more of her work on scholarly communications in two upcoming books: Copyright Conversations:  Rights Literacy in a Digital World and Approaches to Liaison Librarianship: Innovations in Organization & Engagement.)

2018 ALA Midwinter Hot Topics - Shifting Roles

“Shifting Roles within Science Librarianship”

n the past, many libraries and institutions have embraced the liaison model as a way of expanding subject specialists’ responsibilities. Liaison librarians have done outreach, department and curriculum support, instruction and community engagement in addition to collection development and reference. Today there are even more diverse changes to librarian roles. What are the successes and challenges associated with the current liaison model? What changes are we seeing in terms of roles, responsibilities, and expectations for science liaisons? Join John Meier (Pennsylvania State University), Laura Palumbo (Rutgers University), and Jeffra Bussmann (California State University at East Bay) to discuss the evolving expectations and shifting models of support for liaisons and subject specialists in STEM fields.

2018 ALA Midwinter Hot Topics - Data Refuge

Data Refuge: Where Are We Now and Where Do We Go From Here? @ McCormick Place, S101

DataRescue events have proliferated since the beginning of 2017. Their goal has been to create trustworthy copies of federal data in multiple locations so as to maintain continued accessibility for researchers and the public. This joint Hot Topics and Scholarly Communications session will explore librarians’ role as strategies evolve for preserving high value data, including climate change and environmental data. The audience will have the opportunity to engage with speakers who have been involved in Data Rescue events as well as to discuss actions librarians might take such as communicating science-related issues to the public. The speakers will be Laurie Allen (University of Pennsylvania) and Scott Carlson (Rice University).

Sponsored by ACRL Scholarly Communications Discussion Group, STS Scholarly Communications Committee, & STS Hot Topics

2010 ALA Discussion group: Evaluating & Weeding Books in the Sciences