About Our Review & Decision-Making Process

First, we solicit session ideas from the public in Summer/Fall preceding The Collective gathering and allow voting and comments on those ideas via an open, online forum. This helps us gauge how interested the library community is on the topic and to see if there are folks we should connect for collaboration on an idea.

After the public votes from the online forum are in, The Collective organizers start the Round One review. We check proposals for feasibility, interactivity, and make sure they fit the spirit of our gathering (i.e. not sales pitches or “sage-on-a-stage”).

The programming team then invites more detailed proposals from sessions organizers who advance to Round Two where each proposal receives a double-blind peer review (typically with feedback from three reviewers) by our peer review panel.

Final selections are made based on community interest and comments from the Round One, feedback from the peer review panel of practitioners (see below), and discussion among the conference organizers.

We strive for a variety of session types and topics, so sometimes even high-scoring proposals do not make the final cut in a competitive year. That said, there are so many ways to be an active participant at The Collective without being a session convener! We encourage folks to be on the lookout for the many open Calls for Participation that go out with our program announcement.


2020 Peer Review Panel

The following individuals will offer feedback and recommendations on proposals received through the Public Proposal Process:

Jennifer Anderson is the department head for an amazing team of librarians focusing on user engagement and library assessment. She began her library career in cataloging - spending her time describing special collections and media materials. The lure of public service and dynamic programming proved too strong and she made the leap. Jennifer likes creating opportunities for conversation and collaboration. She enjoys teachable moments and getting people to cross thresholds (the conceptual and the literal).

Sherri Brown is the Librarian for English at the University of Virginia. She previously served as Literatures and Humanities Librarian at the University of Kansas (2016-2019) and Instruction Unit Head and Subject Librarian for the School of Literature, Media, & Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology (2008-2016). She is co-author of the book A Research Guide to Gothic Literature in English (2019) and her research interests vary widely from Gothic literature and Digital Humanities to ebooks and bibliometrics. She holds an MS in Information from the University of Michigan, an MA in English from North Carolina State University, and BA in English from Duke University.

Lisa Campbell is the Instruction and Outreach Librarian at the University of Florida. In this role, she strives to create learning experiences that engage students and develop information literacy. She has a MLIS from Florida State University and a BS in Advertising from the University of Florida. She’s interested in active learning, design thinking, and universal design for learning.

Jennie E. Callas is the Head of Reference & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She earned her MLS from the University of Maryland in 2005. As the Instruction Librarian at Randolph-Macon College, an undergraduate liberal arts college, she was part of a small team that required her to teach, do reference, provide collection development and other liaison services, perform outreach, oversee Circulation and Reserves, contribute to the website, and do a little cataloging. She was awarded tenure and promoted from Assistant to Associate Professor in 2011. In 2013 she joined the team at Parkside, a regional comprehensive university, as an academic staff member. She continues to do many different duties across the library.

Ken DiFiore is a Library Outreach Director at ITHAKA - the organizational home of JSTOR, Portico, ITHAKA S&R, and Artstor services.  For nearly 15 years, he has used his experience as a scientific research and preservation librarian to support ITHAKA’s mission.  Ken has a keen interest in the development and adoption of innovative and affordable products for libraries.  He holds an MLS degree from Rutgers University and an MS degree in chemistry from Binghamton University.

Kayla Birt Flegal is the Access and Outreach Services Librarian at DePauw University. The main branch of DPU Libraries is preparing for a renovation in 2020, of which Kayla has been a valuable member of the librarian planning team for a new, innovative Roy O. West Library. While at DPU, she is also able to pursue her research interests in Visual Thinking Strategies as an information literacy tool, and library services for Generation Z. She is also active on her campus serving on faculty committees related to the university's curriculum and student life. Within her community, Kayla is a member of the Putnam County Public Library Board of Trustees and is also an active participant in the Putnam County Mural Project.

Sarah Hayes currently works as a federal librarian in Los Alamos, NM, after receiving her Associate's in Communications from Saint Louis Community College in 2013, her Bachelor's in English from University of Missouri Saint Louis in 2016, and her MLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2018. In previous lives, she was a graduate assistant at an engineering library, undergraduate circulation/reference library assistant, college newspaper editor, a freelance entertainment writer, campus IT assistant, captionist/transcriber for a disability services office, reviewer of small press horror and Japanese media, and a volunteer worker at several anime conventions - not all in that order. She has been published in multiple college literary magazines and had one short story published in an anthology by a now defunct publisher.

Courtney Hunt is the Art & Design Librarian at The Ohio State University. In her position, Courtney liaises with the departments of Art, Arts Administration, Education, & Policy, Design, and History of Art. She is interested in the power of collaboration to utilize library collections in new and pedagogically effective ways. She also researches women artists from the end of the nineteenth century to now. Courtney holds an MA in the History of Art from Hunter College-CUNY, and an MSIS from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Lauren Kehoe is the Undergraduate Instruction & Outreach Librarian at NYU. She has held this position since April, 2018. She is also the Liaison for Persons with Disabilities at Bobst Library where she coordinates library accommodations and provides accessibility support to NYU's many community members. Before joining NYU, Lauren was the Associate Director of McEntegart Hall Library at St. Joseph's College. Her research interests include undergraduate information literacy instruction, accessibility in libraries, digital humanities, and zine culture.

Martina King is a mid-career librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada, with over seven years of academic library experience. Her portfolio includes student engagement and emerging technology along with liaison responsibilities in the social sciences.

Kim Looby was a Reference and Instruction Associate before her position was converted to faculty and is now an Instruction and Information Literacy Librarian. She works closely with first year writing students, second year Liberal Studies courses and the Anthropology Department. She teaches approximately 50 instruction sessions per semester. She also serves on multiple committees within the library including web advisory, accessibility, and assessment. She is dedicated to improving instruction and library services for students, faculty and staff.





Criteria for picking sessions include:

  • Audience interest level in topic (demonstrated in part through number of public votes/ content + quality of comments). 

  • Relevance to this year’s theme.

  • Inclusion of interactive and participatory elements. (We're looking for dynamic presentations with time built-in for creating, collaborating, and sharing!)

  • Feasibility. (A proposal suggesting that Jimmy Wales lead one of our sessions might not be in our budget.)

  • Balance among session types. (Because there can only be so many lightning talk sessions!) 

We aim to make our process as fair and transparent as possible while serving the greatest number of Collective participants. For more about our Peer Review Philosophy, read this short statement.


Juliene McLaughlin has been a User Experience Librarian for 4 years at the University of Guelph. She has led UX projects using a variety of research methods including interviews, usability tests, and observations on a range of topics from our spaces to our website. The ultimate goal of her work is to remove pain points and facilitate seamless interactions with our users. She is engaged with the UX community and currently sits on the advisory board for Weave: Journal of Library User Experience as well as an Ontario-wide Discovery & UX project committee focused on creating an awesome user interface for a soon-to-be launched discovery service for 14 university libraries. Her current research focuses on UX in practice, strategic assessment, and stakeholder engagement.

Larry Milliken is the Manager, Learning Partnerships and Liaison Librarian for the Humanities and Social Sciences at Drexel University. He received his Master's in Library and Information Science in 2002 from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Prior to becoming a librarian he earned a B.A. In History from the University of Dallas followed by a M.A. in Medieval Studies from Fordham University and was a doctoral student in Medieval European History at the City University of New York's Graduate School and University Center. Before coming to Drexel, Larry was an Assistant Professor and Coordinator for Information Literacy at Neumann College (now Neumann University) and was an Assistant Librarian for the Sciences at St. Peter's College.

Andrew Prellwitz has been the User Services Librarian at Ripon College since 2008 and Chair of the Library since 2011. As User Services Librarian, he is the primary instruction librarian. A recent accomplishment includes designing a seven session information literacy curriculum every student at the college completes as part of their general education requirements. Andrew also serves as the College Archivist and works to include the use of primary sources in courses across multiple disciplines in the support of active learning, as well as advocates for and supporting digital projects in lieu of the yet another research paper. As Chair of the Library, Andrew works collaboratively with his two librarian colleagues to find the best mix of resources, spaces and services for a tiny liberal arts college of 800 students and 62 faculty members.

Michael Qiu is currently the Director of Business Development & Library Relations for Atypon. He is responsible for business development, marketing, and outreach for academic, corporate, government, and special libraries across the globe. Prior to Atypon, Michael was the Senior Global Library Relations Manager for ACS Publications where he was responsible for library outreach and engagement. Before joining ACS Publications, he was a Science and Engineering Librarian at the University of Southern California working with students, faculty, and researchers in the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science. Michael received his Master in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from UCLA and a BS in Chemistry, with a minor in Political Science, from Iowa State University.

Katherine Quinnell is the Library Director at Athens State University in Athens, Alabama. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University with her M. L. S. in 1999, earned her M. S. Education from Northeastern State University in 2004, and completed her Ph. D. in Educational Leadership in 2015 from Mercer University. She serves on national and state committees for multiple organizations including ALA, SACSCOC, and NAAL. Her research interests lie in customer services and student enrichment with an emphasis on serving patrons “where they are.”

Ashley Rosener has been a liaison librarian at Grand Valley State University for seven years. She is interested in and has conducted scholarship about mentoring and professional development in academic libraries as well as the changing roles of liaison librarians.

Megan Sheffield is a true believer in the Collective! She has attended 4 times (missed one due to childbirth), presented twice, and served as a peer reviewer and notetaker previously. Her day-to-day job is coordinating research data services in the library, but up until very recently she was a science reference and instruction librarian. As a recent recipient of tenure herself, she is passionate about encouraging junior faculty (as well as staff!) in their research and professional development. Her favorite previous Collective sessions were Battle for Library Island and Failure Confessions. Talk to her about David Bowie and/or true crime. 

Jessica Szempruch is a faculty librarian at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee. Her research and professional interests stem from her passionate belief in the essential roles academic librarians can play in fostering student/community growth and success, enhancing engagement, and supporting retention efforts. Jessica is active in ACRL, ALA, and the Florida Library Association. She is proud to have been a 2017 ALA Emerging Leader and ACRL Member of the Week.

Rachel R. Walden is a medical library director with twenty years of library experience. Her interests are technology, health literacy, evidence-based practice, social justice issues, and bringing creativity into library spaces.

Julia Wilbers has worked as a community college reference librarian for almost 9 years. She is passionate about promoting leisure reading to college students, highlighting diversity in picture books, and making sure that customer service is a top priority in the library. She obtained her BA in Comparative Religion from Miami University, her MTS from Harvard Divinity School, and her MLS from the iSchool at the University of Illinois. She loves reading, wine, and cats. She never has less than 10 books and 7 New Yorkers sitting on her nightstand.