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3rd Personal Librarian and First Year Experience Library Conference: About

2021 Conference Announcement

Kelvin Smith Library of Case Western Reserve University and The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition are elated to announce a partnership that will feature the biennial Personal Librarian Conference as a preconference to the 40th Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience to be held February 13 – 16, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. It’s our hope that this partnership will allow attendees to attend both conferences without added travel and other associated costs.

The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition serves as the trusted expert, internationally recognized leader, and clearinghouse for scholarship, policy, and best practice for all postsecondary student transitions.  Located at the University of South Carolina, The National Resource Center convenes conferences and other professional development events that address current trends, issues, and concerns related to supporting student learning, development, and success in the first college year.  

The Kelvin Smith Library of Case Western Reserve University launched the Personal Librarian Conference and has hosted it on a biennial basis since 2014 until 2018.  It was the only multi-day event dedicated to addressing the pressing challenges of, and opportunities for student success and retention regarding undergraduates, especially during their critical first two years of college.  Attendance at each event has grown, with the first two conferences attracting about 150 attendees, and 200 attendees for the 2018 conference. The mix of attendees has been remarkable, including participants from more than 30 states in the United States and provinces in Canada, as well as a wide cross-section of librarians from two- and four-year institutions, public and private, large and small.  Also, several highly selective librarians from private high schools attended to understand how best to prepare their students for research on the college level.

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Past Conference Highlights

The 2014 and 2016 National Personal Librarian & First Year Experience Library Conference saw more than 140 participants from 75 organizations at each event.

Important Dates

Registration Opens: November 10, 2017

Registration Closes: March 2, 2018

Conference Dates: March 21-22, 2018

Credit Card Payment: As of February 12, 2018, only credit card payments will be accepted.

Stay Connected

Join the conference mailing list by emailing Brian Gray, Team Leader of Research Services, at


Phone: (216) 368-2992

Brian Gray
Team Leader of Research Services

E. Gail Reese
Associate Director for Public Engagement and Library Administration


Conference History

Founded in 2014, the National Personal Librarian & First Year Experience Library Conference is a 2-day event and is the first and only of its kind in the country that focuses on all aspects of the first-year student experience and the personalization of outreach and services for incoming students. Additionally, the conference is centered around creating sustainable library initiatives, assessing service and resource outcomes, and building collaborative relationships between the library and across the academic enterprise.

Past Conference Statistics


Conference Planning Committees

Local Planning Committee:

Liz Bernal, Assessment Officer, Kelvin Smith Library, CWRU

Corina Chang, Manager Marketing & Communication, Kelvin Smith Library, CWRU

Brian Gray, Team Leader Research Services & Engineering Research Services Librarian, Kelvin Smith Library, CWRU; Coordinator for Personal Librarian Program

Sarah Mendez, Finance & Assessment Manager, Kelvin Smith Library, CWRU

Gina Midlik, Planning, Budgets, & Assessment Team Leader, Kelvin Smith Library, CWRU

Gail Reese, Associate Director for Public Engagement & Library Administration, Kelvin Smith Library, CWRU; Coordinator for Personal Librarian Program

Angela Sloan, Library Planning, Budget & Assessment Department Assistant, Kelvin Smith Library, CWRU

Jen Starkey, Research Services Librarian, Kelvin Smith Library, CWRU

External Planning Committee:

Lynne Bisko, Outreach Librarian and Associate Librarian, Carol Grotnes Belk Library, Elon University

Heather Buchansky, Student Engagement Librarian, University of Toronto Libraries

Lorna Dawes, Assistant Professor & First Year Experience Librarian, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tom Hyland, Associate Professor & Library Instruction Coordinator, Lakeland Community College Library

Raymond Pun, First-Year Student Success Librarian, California State University, Fresno

Elizabeth Yates, Liaison/Scholarly Communication Librarian, Brock University