By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

Creating Sparks That Light Our Profession” is the topic of the keynote address that School of Information Studies (iSchool) faculty member Jill Hurst-Wahl will present when she keynotes the Library Association of Rockland County, NY’s bi-annual conference.

Titled, “Let The Sparks Fly,” the conference is scheduled on Thursday, April 30, at the Crowne Plaza in Suffern, NY.

Hurst-Wahl will discuss how pursuing innovation and continually evolving is essential for today’s libraries if they are to serve the needs and interests of their communities. Despite “the discomfort we feel when change is constant,” she said, those working in library service can embrace change and create a culture of innovation without burning out themselves, their staffs or their communities. 

“The spark that lights our profession is innovation; without it we will become irrelevant,” Hurst-Wahl said. “When we decide early that something isn't possible, we limit ourselves and what we're able to provide to our communities. We fall back, in terms of goals, to what is safe and easy. Safe and easy are akin to doing the same thing that we did yesterday and today. Safe and easy limit our growth as individuals and institutions. Safe and easy do not stretch our imagination or stretch what is available to our communities.”

Her talk will include tips for being innovative and for various brainstorming techniques that can be used to spark ideas and innovations.

Hurst-Wahl is an associate professor of practice at the iSchool and directs both the School’s Library and Information Science master’s program and the Library and Information Science with School Media specialization program. As a former corporate librarian, she has always advocated for expanding career opportnities for LIS graduates, including an array of non-traditional jobs and functions in the workplace. She is a member of the USNY Technology Policy and Practices Council and a former member of the (NYS) Regents Advisory Council on Libraries. She has professional interests in the use of social media, copyright issues, and the future of the library professions.

The Library Association of Rockland County is an organization of library-oriented individuals and groups representing 17 public libraries of Rockland County, New York. Its mission is to promote library growth, cooperation and development in Rockland County. Members of LARC include library staff members from libraries, as well as trustees, friends of libraries, and other interested persons and organizations.