The articles included in this conference issue are based on presentations delivered at the 2023 Academic Business Library Directors (ABLD) Annual Meeting which took place May 9–12 at Northwestern University. Carol Doyle & Carlton Brown served as co-planners. This year’s conference did not have a formal theme; we were all treated to wide-ranging and creative discussions with our peers.

The conference kicked off with a welcome and remarks by Xuemao Wang, University Librarian at Northwestern University Libraries and a conference overview from Carol Doyle, also of Northwestern University Libraries. Then we dove straight into the “Year In Review” report, as presented by myself (Ash Faulkner, The Ohio State University) and Ken Peterson (Harvard University). Ken Peterson wrote the article overview of this presentation wherein he highlighted the challenges and opportunities ABLD libraries are experiencing. Many libraries are focused on communicating their value to patrons more effectively, creating customized e-learning objects and expanding support to new patron groups. Many are also seeing significant library reorganizations, notable staff turnover and even unionizations, and physical spaces are experiencing equally rapid evolutions as libraries address an emphasis on digital resources, budget constraints and users with new needs. In discussing collections updates, multiple libraries mentioned challenges relating to privacy, accessibility, and a widespread transition to single sign-on (SSO) authentication. Many business schools are growing, and this means both a time of excitement and uncertainty for member libraries.

The second day of the Meeting, we were treated to presentations on talent acquisition and management, engaging with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and how library support for both business and engineering might combine to serve entrepreneurs more effectively. In their article “Thoughts on the Recruitment and Retention of Business Librarians”, Laura Walesby (MSU) and Angela Horne (UCLA) share their years of experience in hiring and onboarding new librarians and the challenges they’ve encountered in filling these roles. Both authors discuss ways their libraries are striving to make hiring practices more equitable and how professional development support is emphasized as part of new hires’ onboarding. Challenges discussed included small candidate pools and the decline of corporate libraries and professional associations, though hiring managers might address some of the challenges faced by advocating for better salaries and benefits, and lending support to creating alternative professional introduction experiences for library students and new career librarians.

The next presentation shifted focus, and in “Engagement with AACSB begins with You and Me: A draft AACSB Business Library Checklist” Ilana Stonebraker (Indiana University) and Anna Milholland (William and Mary) provide a summary of various outreach efforts by business librarians to engage with the AACSB over the past few years and suggest a checklist of similar activities other business librarians can consider to build their own engagement. The authors point out that libraries and/or librarians were not mentioned in the standards until 2020, but in the most recent standards business schools are encouraged to utilize the support of libraries to aid in student success. Consequently, business librarians have been publishing on the topic of their engagement, and business librarians now have a formal networking community within AACSB. The authors discuss the difficulty in setting uniform standards for librarians’ support for their business schools, but they have developed a checklist for possible activities librarians can pursue as participants in accreditation to “better align with our peer libraries as well as articulate what librarians can offer to the process”.

We ended the second day with a presentation by Rebecca A. Smith (University of Illinois) and Christina Sheley (Cornell) on the topic of “Bringing Business and Engineering Library Services Together to Support Entrepreneurship”. In their article, the authors discuss the organizational structures and actions that have allowed them to build new services from collaborations between business and engineering support. Many of these services support entrepreneurship on campus and the librarians are approaching these new ideas with an equally entrepreneurial spirit. At both institutions, the libraries have ‘pivoted’ with new service models to address growing space and service demands with limited funds and personnel. The authors explore the origins of their new service models and the expanded collaboration and outreach that have resulted from these new models. Readers are left with a discussion of next steps at the authors’ institutions and encouragement to explore possible intersections of business and science more broadly in their own contexts.

The third day of the conference began with a faculty presentation by Angela Lee, the Mechthild Esser Nemmers Professor of Marketing and former Marketing Department Chair at Northwestern University. Conversation continued that morning with Corey Seeman (Michigan), Carol Doyle (Northwestern), Carlton Brown (Duke) and Marcella Barnhart (University of Pennsylvania) sharing advice and experiences in eresources acquisitions and renewals in their panel on “Acquiring & Continuing E-Resources in the Post-COVID Economy”. In this Ticker issue, Carlton Brown has written an article focused specifically on strategies for renewals, based in part on this panel presentation. Carlton breaks down these strategies on a timeline from preparing for renewals ahead of time to beginning the renewals process. Understanding your renewal process, who is involved in the process, when cancellation notice is required, and key metrics like average year-on-year increases and usage rates are crucial to success. Additionally, managing your own timeline to be sure you have sufficient time to analyze metrics, gather feedback from key stakeholders, and negotiate price as needed are critical for success. When it comes to negotiating, Carlton gives readers advice on issues such as considering tiered access and/or multi-year agreements, walk-away points, and ways to protect yourself against future price and decision shocks.

Lastly, we have an article from Ryan Splenda (CMU) and Erin Wachowicz (Yale) based on the panel presentation they gave with Annette Buckley (UC Irvine) on the topic “From Solo to Duo-“Business” Librarianship: Challenges and Success Stories”. Nearly 29% of current ABLD members operate as solo business librarians and sometimes this can create challenges when business schools continue to grow without a corresponding growth in librarians. In this article two former solo business librarians discuss the factors that allowed them to successfully advocate for a second librarian.

It was a wonderful Annual Meeting this year at Northwestern University, and hopefully this issue of Ticker will allow more of our fellow business librarians to benefit from the experiences and expertise of our ABLD colleagues.

Ash Faulkner