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2021 OPAL Conference

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Keynote Speaker

Welcome, Catherine Hakala-Ausperk

Catherine Hakala-Ausperk is a librarian, author, speaker and trainer with over 35-years of experience in everything from direct customer service to library management and administration.  A '78 (BA) and '91 (MLIS) graduate of Kent State, she is the owner and principal of Libraries Thrive Consulting (  In addition to being an Adjunct Instructor at the iSchool (Kent State), Catherine also teaches for the American Library Association’s Certified Public Library Administrator (CPLA) Program, The Public Library Association, ALA’s eLearning Solutions, the Urban Library Council, Infopeople and multiple other organizations.  An active speaker, planner and trainer in libraries across the country, she is the author of seven books published by The American Library Association: Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success (2011); Build a Great Team: One Year to Success (2013); Renew Yourself: A Six-Step Plan for More Meaningful Work (2017); and a unique series of “Leadership Planners,” including Future-Proof Your Team (2019); Win ‘Em Over (2019); Dynamic Discipline (2019), and Hot Ticket Meetings (2020).  Catherine’s passion is for supporting, coaching and developing great libraries, successful teams, and – especially – strong and effective leaders.

Invited Speaker

Welcome, Elaine L. Westbrooks

Elaine L. Westbrooks has been Vice Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 2017. She leads a library system that includes 10 libraries; nearly 10 million volumes; and 300 librarians, archivists and staff members.  Westbrooks has held leadership positions at the University of Michigan, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Cornell University.  Westbrooks is a member of the Association of Research Libraries’ Scholars and Scholarship Committee and the Executive Committee and Governing Board of the Triangle Research Libraries Network. She serves on the boards of the Digital Public Library of America and the HathiTrust Digital Library.  She co-edited “Metadata in Practice” with Diane Hillmann (2004) and “Academic Library Management: Case Studies” with Tammy Nickelson Dearie and Michael Meth (2017). She is a frequent speaker on leadership, transforming the scholarly communications system and inclusion, diversity, equity and access in libraries.