METRO’s Annual Conference Focuses on Collaboration, Communication Among Member Institutions

Over two hundred community members attended METRO’s first ever Annual Conference on January 15, 2013. The daylong event featured keynote speeches by Renee Hobbs and Deanna Marcum, as well as thirty presentations from members in 30-minute project briefing sessions. In addition, participants learned more about METRO’s initiatives for 2013 and beyond in remarks by Jason Kucsma, METRO’s Executive Director.

The event started with an energetic keynote presented by Renee Hobbs, Director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island. Hobbs’ presentation, Digital Literacy and Libraries: What’s Coming Next, positioned our current understanding of what is meant by “digital literacy” into historical context, noting the variety of fields that have been pursuing the concept by alternative names for some time. The keynote explored the attributes of fluency in the digital realm, including the ability to use, access, and share information; create and collaborate on projects using today’s media; analyze and evaluate information for accuracy and relevance; and apply ethical judgment and social responsibility to online interactions.

Renee Hobbs, "Digital Literacy and Libraries: What's Coming Next" from METRO on Vimeo.

As part of METRO’s larger goal to enhance communication among METRO’s member institutions, five sessions of project briefings from membership took place in five time periods throughout the day. Participants heard about digital projects ranging from a collaborative audio archive project between the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives and Pratt Institute to a major digitization project at the New York Philharmonic Archive. Projects sponsored by METRO’s digitization grants were also highlighted, including those created by the Wildlife Conservation Society in conjunction with the New York Botanical Garden, the Frick Art Reference Library with the Brooklyn Museum, Queens Library working with Queens College, and Fashion Institute of Technology with the New York Public Library.

Another theme that emerged from the project briefings involved recent enhancements to library services, including MyLibraryNYC as presented by members of NYC’s Department of Education, the IDS (Information Delivery Services) Project, and a new zine collection at Brooklyn College. Improvements in physical spaces were well represented in a talk about Brooklyn Public Library’s Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons.

Deanna Marcum’s keynote, The Power of Collaboration, proved a fitting reflection on themes that developed throughout the day. Marcum’s talk outlined four tales of collaborative projects in the recent history of libraries, archives, and publishers. Each story contained a lesson about the values and pitfalls of working in partnership among organizations. The hallmarks of successful collaborations include the pursuit of meaningful, patron-oriented missions, as well as willingness from all parties to bring work ethic to the table. While there is much to be gained through partnerships, each party must be truly prepared for the sacrifice that comes with entering into a collaborative arrangement.

Deanna Marcum, "The Power of Collaboration" from METRO on Vimeo.

After an afternoon of project briefings, the conference concluded with a brief address by Jason Kucsma, METRO’s Executive Director. As an apt finale for the day’s events, Kucsma noted the initiatives underway at METRO, many of which embrace the organization’s theme for the year, “Leading Through Change.” Most notably, members were tipped off to upcoming announcements regarding grants for digital projects funded by METRO, a new Innovative Internships program, another cycle of the myMETRO Researchers Projects, the continuation of our Directors Round Table, and a full slate of workshops, special events, hack-a-thons, and more coming up this Spring.

Photographs from the METRO Annual Conference are available on Flickr. Slides from many of our project briefings are available below.

METRO would like to thank everyone involved in this year’s conference. The conference was truly a spotlight of the tremendous work being done in our member institutions, and we’re looking forward to doing this again in 2014.

Annual Conference Agenda 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM: Morning keynote

Renee Hobbs, Professor and Founding Director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island
Digital Literacy and Libraries: What’s Coming Next


11:45 AM - 12:15 PM: Project Briefings

Digital Performing Arts Collections
Douglas Reside, New York Public Library

Fold, Staple, Share: The Brooklyn College Library Zine Collection
Alycia Sellie, Brooklyn College

Creating a Library Dashboard to Support Decision-Making: eResources and Services
Theodora Bakker, NYU School of Medicine

A Mentoring Startup: the How, What, and Why of it All
Susanne Markgren, Purchase College, SUNY and ACRL/NY

science@columbia: Fostering a Scientific Community in the Archipelago
Jeffrey Lancaster, Columbia University


12:30 PM - 1:00 PM: Project Briefings

Introducing NYU to the Digital Humanities: A Faculty/Library Partnership
Jennifer Vinopal, New York University
Monica McCormick, New York University
Annette Smith, New York University

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee / Pratt Oral History Digitization Project
Aaron Rosenblum, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives
Anthony Cocciolo, Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science

The Common Core / MyLibraryNYC
Richard Hasenyager, New York City Department of Education

New Approaches to Workforce Development at Queens Library
Tara Lannen Stanton, Queens Public Library
Jasmine Baker, Queens Public Library
Brandon Jeffries, Queens Public Library

Three Books to the Wind: Reflections of Three Ship Librarians Aboard the Empire State VI
Elizabeth Berilla, SUNY Maritime
Kimmy Szeto, SUNY Maritime
Joseph Williams, SUNY Maritime


1:00 PM - 2:30 PM: Lunch and afternoon keynote

Deanna Marcum, Managing Director at ITHAKA S + R
The Power of Collaboration


2:30 PM - 3:00 PM: Project Briefings

Open Data at the Smithsonian
Micah Walter, Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

METRO Digital Projects I:
Documenting the Gilded Age
Suz Massen, Frick Art Reference Library
Views of Bronx Park: Collaborative Project to Digitize the Postcards of the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden
Madeleine Thompson, Wildlife Conservation Society
Shayna Marchese, New York Botanical Garden

Teaching with Images: Integrating Visual and Information Literacy 
Nicole E. Brown, New York University

The IDS (Information Delivery Systems) Project 
Beth Posner, CUNY Graduate Center

Using Formative Skills Assessment to Drive Staff Training Decisions and Organizational Change 
Jeffrey Lancaster, Columbia University
Jane Winland, Columbia University
Damon Jaggars, Columbia University

3:15 PM - 3:45 PM: Project Briefings

K-12 Archives Education Institute
Ryan Anthony Donaldson, Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York
Janet Bunde, Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York

METRO Digital Projects II:
Queens Memory Project 
Natalie Milbrodt, Queens Library
André Studios: 1930s Fashion Drawings and Sketches in the Collections of FIT and The New York Public Library
Karen Cannell, Fashion Institute of Technology

Looking for Information Literacy: A Syllabus Analysis Project in the LIU Brooklyn Library
Emily Drabinski, Long Island University
Katherine Boss, Long Island University

Invoking the User from Data to Design
Nadaleen Tempelman-Kluit, New York University
Alexa Pearce, New York University

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Library: A Case Study
Stephanie Walker, Brooklyn College
Howard Spivak, Brooklyn College
Alex Rudshteyn, Brooklyn College

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM: Project Briefings

Digitizing the New York Philharmonic
Mitchell Brodsky, New York Philharmonic

myMETRO Research Projects Lightning Session
Off the Cuff: How Fashion Bloggers Find and Use Information
Kimberly Detterback,Marie Sciangula, Nicole LaMoreaux
Research for the 99%: Working with Occupy Wall Street
Darcy Gervasio,Angela Ecklund,Arieh Ress
Lifelong Learning and Libraries
Susan Chute and Robert Weiss
Friends of P.S. 217: Research for a local Educational Support Organization born into a Web 3.0 World
Ann McGettigan,Evelyn Shunaman, Judy Lee

Brooklyn Connections: Matching Students with Local History Primary Sources
Nicole Belle DeRise, Brooklyn Public Library
Ben Gocker, Brooklyn Public Library

The Need to Feed: Managing a Social Media Policy and Strategy
Jennifer Waxman, Center for Jewish History
Lauren Bradley, Center for Jewish History

The Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons: New Space, New Opportunities at Brooklyn Public Library
Melissa Morrone, Brooklyn Public Library

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM: Closing Remarks