Open Doors: Reaching Underserved Populations

As librarians, providing equitable access to all patrons should be a top priority. The patrons visiting our libraries should reflect the diversity of the communities we live in. Unfortunately, there are many populations that go underserved. How can we broaden our reach to better serve all our community?

Join us on Thursday, February 28 for an Amigos Library Services online conference, Open Doors: Reaching Underserved Populations, where we will explore methods and best practices for reaching an important part of your community.

Kicking off our conference is keynote speaker, Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran, consultant, presenter, and founder of CulturalCo LLC. Her keynote will explore how cultural intelligence makes a difference in the information profession and asks the question, "are you culturally competent?" Throughout the rest of the day, a variety of peers and experts will present on a diverse range of topics, with each time slot offering three different programming options.

Don't forget, as a benefit of Amigos Library Services membership, attendance is FREE at all online conferences!

For more information about this conference, contact Megan Bryant at or 800-843-8482, ext. 2896.

Times - CST
Sessions (45 min each)
Session Links
10:00 am
Opening Keynote - How Cultural Intelligence Makes a Difference in the Information Profession: Are You Culturally Competent
(show session description)
Dr. Michelle A. L. Villagran
11:00 am
11:15 am
"I Can't Visit the Library" and Ways to Solve that for Special Needs Populations
(show session description)
Amy Nickless and Lisa Hellman
11:15 am
Support Dreamers at a Critical Moment: Library Outreach and Services to Undocumented Students on Campus Today
(show session description)
Raymond Pun
11:15 am
Measuring Your Impact on Under-served Populations with PLA's Project Outcome
(show session description)
Samantha Lopez
12:00 pm
12:15 pm
Putting the L, G, B, T, and Q in Collection Development: Resources on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
(show session description)
John Siegel
12:15 pm
Research resource challenges and options for higher education programs supporting incarcerated students
(show session description)
Ted Chaffin
12:15 pm
Open doors: Engaging Homeless Patrons through the Digibus!
(show session description)
Shannon Morrison
1:00 pm
Lunch Break
2:00 pm
Exclusively Inclusive: Sensory Programming for Children
(show session description)
Sarah Miller and Marianne Smith
2:00 pm
Dementia Friendly Kansas City
(show session description)
April Roy
2:00 pm
Connecting the Underserved
(show session description)
Sonya Lockett
2:45 pm
3:00 pm
Reading Rocket: On the Road to Early Literacy (low income)
(show session description)
Lisa Campbell
3:00 pm
Diverse Services For Diverse Communities
(show session description)
Karen Garcia and Suvi Manner
3:00 pm
Utilizing the efficiency of Interlibrary Loan Staff to provide services to Visually Impaired Patrons
(show session description)
Travis Goode

Open Doors: Reaching Underserved Populations logo

We've concluded this online topical conference. We'd like to know a little about your thoughts on the sessions.

Please tell us your favorite session by clicking the "Add" link the right of it's title.

  • How Cultural Intelligence Makes a Difference in the Information Profession: Are You Culturally Competent - Dr Michelle Villagran
  • "I Can't Visit the Library" and Ways to Solve that for Special Needs Populations - Amy Nickless and Lisa Hellman
  • Support Dreamers at a Critical Moment: Library Outreach and Services to Undocumented Students on Campus Today - Raymond Pun
  • Measuring Your Impact on Under-served Populations with PLA's Project Outcome - Samantha Lopez
  • Putting the L, G, B, T, and Q in Collection Development: Resources on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity - John Siegel
  • Research resource challenges and options for higher education programs supporting incarcerated students - Ted Chaffin
  • Open doors: Engaging Homeless Patrons through the Digibus! - Shannon Morrison
  • Exclusively Inclusive: Sensory Programming for Children - Sarah Miller and Marianne Smith
  • Dementia Friendly Kansas City - April Roy
  • Connecting the Underserved - Sonya Lockett
  • Reading Rocket: On the Road to Early Literacy (low income) - Lisa Campbell
  • Diverse Services For Diverse Communities - Karen Garcia and Suvi Manner
  • Utilizing the efficiency of Interlibrary Loan Staff to provide services to Visually Impaired Patrons - Travis Goode
Your Vote

Votes remaining: 1

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Michele Villagran portrait

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran -

Session Time: 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. CST

Keynote Session Title: How Cultural Intelligence Makes a Difference in the Information Profession: Are You Culturally Competent

Session Description: Our organizations and the communities we serve are becoming more diverse than ever with a range of cultures, including ethnic, national, generational, etc. What cultural opportunities or challenges does this present with our patrons and underserved populations? How does our cultural identity impact our interactions at work? What diverse populations are our libraries serving or underserving? The deficit in services may be a result of a lack of cultural intelligence or cultural awareness. Dr. Villagran will share with us how we can use Cultural Intelligence to address these concerns and become more effective library and information professionals.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Villagran serves as CEO of CulturalCo, LLC consulting in areas of cultural competency, diversity & inclusion, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence. Dr. Villagran also is an Assistant Professor with San José State University, School of Information. Her research focuses on areas of cultural diversity, social justice in library and information science and cultural intelligence phenomena within libraries. Dr. Villagran earned her Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership with her dissertation focusing on cultural intelligence at Pepperdine University.

Lisa Hellman (left) & Amy Nickless (right) portraits

Speakers: Amy Nickless -, and Lisa Hellman -

Session Time: 11:15 - 12:00 p.m. CST

Session Title: "I Can't Visit the Library" and Ways to Solve that for Special Needs Populations

Session Description: The American Community Survey estimates that as of 2016, over 7 million Americans live with a visual disability. An estimated 20 million more struggle with physical disabilities that could prevent them from using standard print materials. According to the International Dyslexia Association, as much as 15-20% of the population has a reading disability. All of these differently-abled individuals could qualify for service through a National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) regional library. Learn about the services offered by NLS libraries, which open a world of accessible books to qualifying individuals in your library's service region. These alternate formats and services are delivered directly to doorsteps, desktops and mobile devices.

In addition to providing reading materials, many NLS libraries also offer accessible programming to their patrons. Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library has two successful programs that have been adapted from traditional library programming to serve special needs patrons. For adults, this includes the book club by conference call program and its subsequent spin-offs. For the youth, an accessible early literacy program was created to foster literacy in Wolfner Library's youngest patrons. Learn about the ways these traditional programs were adapted and implemented within the state of Missouri and find inspiration from the programs to incorporate at your library.

Amy Nickless Bio: Amy Nickless has worked as the Adult Services Librarian at Wolfner Library since 2015. Prior to this appointment, Amy served as a graduate reference assistant at the University of Missouri’s Ellis Library; a volunteer and intern at the State Historical Society of Missouri; and as a substitute teacher. Her position at Wolfner Library focuses on outreach, reference, accessible technologies, library programming for adults, and collection development to supplement adult materials.

Lisa Hellman Bio: Lisa Hellman has worked for Wolfner Library as the Youth Services Librarian since 2013. Lisa works directly with young patrons and their parents/caregivers to provide library services, does collection development to supplement youth materials, catalogs youth books, and manages youth programs. Lisa also works with the Collaborative Summer Library Program to provide public libraries across the nation with information on accessible materials and programming.

Raymond Pun portrait

Speaker: Raymond Pun -

Session Time: 11:15 - 12:00 p.m. CST

Session Title: Support Dreamers at a Critical Moment: Library Outreach and Services to Undocumented Students on Campus Today

Session Description: Today, there has been a series of national and state policy reforms that have greatly affected immigrants across America today. One major change is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy known as (DACA). On campuses today, there are over 800,000 young people who have DACA status according to national statistics. DACA recipients are not eligible for financial aid, work assistance programs, federal aids and loans at all. In addition to political reforms, the limited options may create additional barriers for these students to achieve academic success. What can academic libraries and librarians do to support undocumented students? From open workshops to scholarships to collaborations with campus partners to creating safe and inclusive spaces in the library, this presentation showcases a series of activities on how academic librarians can support undocumented students in the era of uncertainty. This interactive webinar will encourage attendees to share their experiences and thoughts on this discussion and to brainstorm new opportunities to supporting DACA recipients, undocumented students and immigrant/international students in general.

Speaker Bio: Ray Pun is the instruction/research librarian for Alder Graduate School of Education where he coordinates and supports collection management and research services. He has published extensively including four edited volumes and has presented widely in conferences such as ALA, SLA, IFLA WLIC, ACRL and San Diego Comic Con International. He previously worked at Fresno State, NYU Shanghai and The New York Public Library. He is also a doctoral student in educational leadership at California State University (CODEL).

Samantha Lopez portrait

Speaker: Samantha Lopez -

Session Time: 11:15 - 12:00 p.m. CST

Session Title: Measuring Your Impact on Under-served Populations with PLA's Project Outcome

Session Description: Do you wish you could say more about your outreach services other than how many people you reached? Do you know the impact your programs are having on under-served populations in your community? The Public Library Association’s Project Outcome is a free and easy-to-use online toolkit that helps libraries collect patron outcome data through simple surveys and ready-made reports and data visualizations. Discover how participating libraries are using Project Outcome to measure the impact of their outreach services and programs targeting under-served populations. Learn how outcome data will help your library make programmatic improvements, create partnerships, inform strategic planning and increase funding.

Speaker Bio: Samantha Lopez is a Program Officer for the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association. Samantha works on PLA's performance measurement initiative, Project Outcome, managing website developments, content creation, regional trainings, and user support. She also supports PLA membership engagement efforts. Prior to joining PLA, Samantha worked as a membership coordinator for the Teamsters Local Union No. 703 where she provided dues and benefits support for members and managed the Local's website. Samantha received her Master's in English Literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Bachelor's in English Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

John Siegel portrait

Speaker: John Siegel -

Session Time: 12:15 - 1:00 p.m. CST

Session Title: Putting the L, G, B, T, and Q in Collection Development: Resources on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Session Description: Do you know where to look for quality resources on sexual orientation and gender identity? A 2015-2016 survey revealed that librarians often struggle with finding materials to add to their collections, either because they are unfamiliar with the subject area or do not know where to look. This presentation will provide an overview of terminology and collection development resources such as book reviews and awards. Other collection management issues will be discussed, including formulating policies, weeding, and dealing with patron challenges to materials. The goal of this session is for you to walk away with a toolkit that will help you make sense of what seems, on the surface, to be alphabet soup.

Speaker Bio: John Siegel is the Coordinator of Information Literacy at the University of South Carolina (USC) Upstate in Spartanburg, SC. He serves as liaison and affiliate faculty for the USC Upstate Center for Women's and Gender Studies. John was a recent reviewer for the GLBT Studies subject collection in "Resources for College Libraries (RCL)." He also writes book reviews for "Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries."

John holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in social work from San Francisco State University, a Master of Library Science (M.L.S.) from the University of Maryland, and Master of Education (M.Ed.) in adult and professional learning from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

John's research interests include reference services, instruction, and collection development for LGBTQ and diverse populations. He previously worked at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Penn State DuBois.

Ted Chaffin portrait

Speaker: Ted Chaffin -

Session Time: 12:15 - 1:00 p.m. CST

Session Title: Research resource challenges and options for higher education programs supporting incarcerated students

Session Description: The Prison Education Project (PEP) at Washington University provides courses at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Facility in Pacific, MO. for prisoners and staff. The Libraries were asked to provide PEP with curriculum recommendations regarding research training for students that would support the prisoners, and also to investigate research resources for incarcerated students that could function in an environment without internet access. The goal of my presentation is to provide an overview of the efforts to date, share information on resources that we and others have obtained which work in an offline environment (such as the offline JSTOR drive), and solicit additional recommendations from conference participants/attendees regarding offline resources.

Speaker Bio: Richard "Ted" Chaffin is the Head of Academic Support & Collaboration at Washington University Libraries. Before moving to St. Louis,Ted was a part-time librarian at Baton Rouge Community College, a Reference & Instruction Librarian at Southern University, and served in the Florida State University Libraries in several librarian roles (Access Services, Liaison, and Instruction/Reference). Recently participated in the Olin Library Transformation Project. This multi-part expansion included creating/refreshing 3 library spaces instruction spaces and an AV Recording Studio. Co-Founder of (GLIC) the Gateway Library Instruction Conference which is a regional conference coming up on its 4th year. More information available on request.

Shannon Morrison portrait

Speaker: Shannon Morrison -

Session Time: 12:15 - 1:00 p.m. CST

Session Title: Open doors: Engaging Homeless Patrons through the Digibus!

Session Description: Counties, cities, & states across the United States are striving to help better serve their homeless population. In this vein, beginning in 2017 Fresno County Public Library partnered with MAP Point at Poverello House, a local multi-agency access program, that runs an integrated intake process onsite at the local shelter. MAP connects individuals facing housing, substance abuse, physical health and/or mental health challenges to any supportive services that exist. The Fresno County Library (FCPL) assists the Poverello House by regularly bringing the mobile computer classroom (Digibus) to the premises. The Digibus, equipped with 12 workstations, a printer, WiFi/connectivity, charging stations, and friendly staff onboard to give clients the chance to job search, check status or apply to public housing, submit disability claims, and much more.

Speaker Bio: Shannon Morrison is a Community Librarian within the WoW! Library, which provides library services outside the walls of the library. Shannon attends outreach events, organizes community meetings, and coordinates the Digibus. The Digibus is a mobile computer classroom that travels around the county to provide computer and connectivity access to all residents.

Sarah Miller portrait

Speakers: Sarah Miller & Marianne Smith -

Session Time: 2:00 - 2:45 p.m. CST

Session Title: Exclusively Inclusive: Sensory Programming for Children

Session Description: Interested in offering sensory programming in your library? Plano Public Library designed two programs (Sensory Storytime and Sensory Saturday) for a small audience to encourage this underserved population to participate in a safe, comfortable, non-judgmental environment, and be comfortable to be themselves. Learn how to create a welcoming environment so children with autism spectrum disorders, sensory integrations challenges, and other related issues can participate in activities in your library. The presenters will share how to choose books, music, and activities and program outlines for each program.

Marianne Smith portraitSpeaker Bio: Marianne Smith is the Collection Development Librarian at the Plano Public Library. She was the Committee Chair for Sensory Storytime at the Plano Public Library 2016-2017. Marianne earned her MLS with a Graduate Academic Certificate in Youth Services from the University of North Texas, and she is a former Texas educator with certifications in EC-4, bilingual and ESL. She graduated with a BA in Historical Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas; Suma Cum Laude.

Speaker Bio: Sarah is currently a librarian at the Davis library in Plano TX. She moved often growing up and is enjoying becoming a part of the community. She has two boys and one cat who keep her days off active.

April Roy portrait

Speaker: April Roy -

Session Time: 2:00 - 2:45 p.m. CST

Session Title: Dementia Friendly Kansas City

Session Description: For two years, the Plaza Library in Kansas City MO has been providing programs for people with dementia. What began as a simple, bi-monthly movie screening has grown to monthly Memory Cafes and community wide learning programs. This session will cover our current programming best practices and our plans to make our entire city more Memory Aware.

Speaker Bio: April Roy is the Director of the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library system. April is the current President of the Missouri Library Association and winner of the 2015 I Love My Librarian Award. April proudly served as a member of the 2012 Caldecott Book Award Jury (A Ball for Daisy) and on the Coretta Scott King Book Award Jury. When April isn’t busy being a librarian and reading children’s books, she enjoys seeing new places with her daughter, Lena. She sometimes has trouble keeping her mouth shut and never turns down a chance to use a microphone to advocate for libraries and library service.

Sonya Lockett portrait

Speaker: Sonya Lockett -

Session Time: 2:00 - 2:45 p.m. CST

Session Title: Connecting the Underserved

Session Description: As a librarian, at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), I have had the opportunity to witness students who come from a background where they were offered little to no access to libraries and technology. While we would like to think the students we serve are already familiar with the library and come from backgrounds where they have access to information. Unfortunately in the world that we live in today, there are still young people who enter college whose concept of using a library or even a computer is minimal. How do we begin to familiarize our underserved first-generation college students to the services that libraries provide? According to Albert Ritzhaupt "poor and minority families in the United States are less likely to have access to a computer and broadband Internet connection at home and less likely to have the necessary skills and knowledge to meaningfully use these resource." This problem alone usually leads to an issue with retention once that student arrives at college. One of the ways the John Brown Watson Memorial Library offers guidance with this issue is with an Information Literacy Program which includes gamification, within this program students are given the opportunity to learn about all of the resources that the library provides and how to perform basic computer operations.

Speaker Bio: Mrs. Sonya Lockett is the Coordinator of Public Services at the John Brown Watson Memorial Library located on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). She is responsible for the Circulation Area, Interlibrary Loans and the Library Liaison for the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Science. Sonya has held this position since January 2, 2008. Before her tenure at UAPB, she was the Director of Library/Media Services at Arkansas Baptist College located in Little Rock, AR. Sonya received her Master of Library Science Degree in 2003 from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. She is married to Mr. Bruce Lockett; they have one son Sha'mon and one granddaughter, Skylar.

Lisa Campbell portrait

Speaker: Lisa Campbell -

Session Time: 3:00 - 3:45 p.m. CST

Session Title: Reading Rocket: On the Road to Early Literacy (low income)

Session Description: Armed with a used bookmobile and a vision of how to bring early literacy to the underserved pockets of its three-county library community, Mid-Continent Public Library set out on a brand new mobile mission. Without existing policy, procedure, or precedent, every experience, from fashioning “Gertie” into a state-of-the-art mobile literacy vehicle to figuring out where to park all 38 feet of her, was a brand new experience. Despite all of the bumps and bruises encountered in launching the Reading Rocket: Mobile Literacy Vehicle, the first year of operation saw more than 17,000 visitors come aboard!

Speaker Bio: Lisa Campbell has been providing youth services for Mid-Continent Public Library for over 15 years. She is currently the Coordinator of the Reading Rocket mobile literacy vehicle and works joyfully with a fantastic team of people to provide storytimes, literacy programming, and resources to families in her three-county library community. She loves blowing bubbles and her favorite storytime song is "A Hippopotamus Got on the City Bus!"

Karen Garcia portrait

Speakers: Karen Garcia -, and Suvi Manner -

Session Time: 3:00 - 3:45 p.m. CST

Session Title: Diverse Services For Diverse Communities

Session Description: Collectively, the staff of Palm Springs Public Library assessed the needs of the community in order to address lack of library usage by the predominately non-English speaking residents. Staff worked on community outreach, creating partnerships and new programming. Attendance statistics significantly improved through collaboration with local municipal summer camp during the Summer Reading Program, when new programs were created through partnerships with outside community organizations and groups, and when Preschool storytime was revamped into interactive Bilingual Storytime. A new Spanish language program series emerged which included book discussions, poetry festivals and celebrating Hispanic Heritage. A Cultural Tapestry Series was created to highlight all cultural groups in the community. New programs were implemented for tweens and teens: Teen Advisory Board, Collectible Card Games Club and other special events that interest our youth such as Free Comic Book Day. With new enthusiasm, the library is emerging as the heart of the neighborhood.

Speaker Bio: Karen was born and raised in Guatemala City, Guatemala. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and is now pursuing her MLIS from the University of South Florida. Karen has worked for the Palm Springs Public Library since 2012 where she provides customer service for all ages. She also conducts Bilingual Preschool Storytime, does community outreach, and coordinates all Spanish language programs such as a monthly Book Discussion, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Poetry Festivals. She has presented at FLA, SEFLIN Conferences and PBCLA (Palm Beach County Library Association) Quarterly meetings. Karen published a Spanish poetry book in July 2017. She lives in West Palm Beach with her husband and 3 daughters.

Suvi Manner portraitSpeaker Bio: Suvi Manner is an American Finnish Educator and Librarian who has worked with multicultural communities for over twenty years in the School District of Palm Beach County as a social studies teacher and ESOL Coordinator as well as a librarian in a county system, academic and now municipal libraries. In addition to serving on the Adult Programming, Multicultural and Branch Manager Training committees for the Palm Beach County Library System, she has presented at professional conferences on the topics of library programs and outreach, community engagement and library advocacy. She is now is the director of the Palm Springs Public Library where she created the "Cultural Tapestry" event series in August of 2016 which you will hear about today. She volunteers in the local Finnish cultural organizations and churches by serving on boards, teaching exercise classes, folk dancing and emceeing and using her musical talents. Her goal is to serve the community through outreach and community engagement and of course through innovative library programs and services.

Travis Goode portrait

Speaker: Travis Goode -

Session Time: 3:00 - 3:45 p.m. CST

Session Title: Utilizing the efficiency of Interlibrary Loan Staff to provide services to Visually Impaired Patrons

Session Description: This presentation will provide an overview of UT Dallas programs and services for students with disabilities. It will outline UT Dallas libraries document scanning and delivery service for visually impaired students and include our collaboration with other departments, workflow, copyright exceptions, and issues we have found with the pilot program.

In the last two years, McDermott Library at the University of Texas at Dallas discovered a need in services for visually impaired students. Our library provides students with disabilities access to our accessibility office with adaptive technology and access to 4 librarians who are trained in adaptive hardware and software. As our adaptive technology equipment has aged, it has become more cumbersome to use and less useful to our students causing a decline in usage. Further, many of our current students own or have access to adaptive technology at home.

Despite the decline in usage of the libraries adaptive technology and the rise of personal adaptive technology in homes, we discovered a need from our visually impaired students for converting physical materials to specialized formats. This last year, we decided to pilot a program for visually impaired students by providing OCR (Optical Character Recognition) PDF scans of print materials to students with disabilities.

To lessen the staff burden of scanning materials, we utilized the efficiency of interlibrary loan staff to process, scan, and deliver OCR documents to patrons with disabilities. The Interlibrary Loan department was ideal for this type of program because they already have workflows in place for high demand scanning projects. The interlibrary loan department works closely with reference and e-reserves staff to evaluate students’ needs and come up with appropriate solutions for each patron. The pilot program has been a success so far and has received positive feedback from patrons.

Speaker Bio: Goode has a bachelor's degree in Cultural Anthropology from Vanguard University and a master's degree in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State University. As well as managing the ILL department — the department that procures resources that the McDermott Library doesn’t own from other area libraries — Goode is also a library copyright specialist and reference librarian.