Related product Professional Development

Shared Spaces Series

CARLI invites you to attend a two-part Shared Spaces Series moderated by Stephanie Davis Kahl, University Librarian at Illinois Wesleyan University.

In this webinar series, Michelle Boule Smith, Carolyn Ciesla, Pattie Piotrowski, and Sarah Sagmoen will share their experiences and advice on sharing academic library space with other campus units.


Please register for each of the webinars you wish to attend.

Session 1: Tales of Sharing Spaces

May 9, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

In this first webinar of the Shared Spaces Series, enjoy two separate presentations reflecting the experiences at three academic libraries.

“It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Creating Community in Shared Spaces at North Central College’s Oesterle Library” will be presented by Michelle Boule Smith, Director of Library Services at North Central College.

Zip up your cardigan, change out of your dress shoes, and discuss how to create a sense of community when multiple campus offices share one building with the library. This past year, North Central College’s Oesterle Library underwent a complete renovation. Library Services were moved to the lower level and we gained six new departments to our space. This atmosphere has rejuvenated not only the library, but the entire north end of campus. In this session, we will talk about how to navigate shared spaces, how to build a sense of community for the staff involved, how that momentum spills over to the student community, and how to capitalize on that renewed sense of belonging. It’s not always perfect, but the opportunities are worth the effort. You can’t pick your neighbors, but you can choose how you interact with them.

“Choosing Where to ‘Live’: Advocating for Library Neighbors” will be presented by Carolyn Ciesla, Library Director at the A.C. Buehler Library at Elmhurst University.

Sometimes we don’t always get to choose our neighbors, and that can be both good and bad. In this part of the session, Carolyn will talk about the tale of two academic libraries who weren’t able to choose where they lived, and the very different outcomes for both.


Michelle Boule Smith

Michelle Boule Smith is the Director of Library Services at North Central College in Naperville, IL and serves as adjunct faculty at University of Nebraska Omaha, teaching Digital Citizenship. She is a native Texan and has worn many hats in libraries in three different states and at different kinds of libraries. Michelle is passionate about the power of people and information to change the world. Michelle is a geek, thinks life too is too sad not to read books with happy endings, squeezes in time to write between all the other things, loves the mountains, drinks too much tea, and will never turn down the opportunity to debate Marvel vs DC. The answer is always Marvel.

Carolyn Ciesla

Carolyn Ciesla is the Library Director at the A.C. Buehler Library at Elmhurst University in Elmhurst, IL. Her library career has spanned teen departments and newspaper archives. Originally from Arizona, she has lived in Chicago for over 15 years with her husband and daughter. In her freetime, she consumes all things horror, collects craft supplies she immediately forgets about, and really will start that haunted library podcast one day.

Register to attend Session 1.

Session 2: Getting to a Commons Goal: Designing the New Library Commons at the University of Illinois Springfield 

May 16, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

In this second webinar of the Shared Spaces Series, Pattie Piotrowski and Sarah Sagmoen, University of Illinois Springfield, will talk about their experiences with shared spaces, concentrating on the planning for the new Library Commons, which is to open in Spring of 2025.  In June of 2019 the university sought state funds, and was allocated $35 million, to design and construct a new student-focused building on campus that would house library collections and services, and would also include the Career Development Center, the Center for Academic Success and Advising, and Information Technology Services.  Hear how our experience with shared spaces informed the work with campus partners and architects to design the new building, and how the library managed politics and expectations for the new shared space.  In order to create a seamless experience for students, we created a joint mission statement, conducted an analysis of services and resources offered by each unit, and identified spaces that were essential to units or spaces that could be shared. This process allowed us to identify opportunities to elevate each unit’s services, create spaces to facilitate the learning process, and develop operations in a mindful manner for staff and patrons. While our work on this project is for a new building, our process could be applied to any situation where units are sharing spaces.


Pattie Piotrowski is University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services for Brookens Library at University of Illinois Springfield, and currently sits on the Board for the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI).  She joined Brookens Library in 2016.

Sarah Sagmoen is the Director of Learning Commons and User Services at University of Illinois Springfield. She has been at UIS since 2009.

Register to attend Session 2.