Sometimes when you get people in a room together, ideas really start flowing.  

That’s what happened when Lori Bell, Tom Peters, and Brittany Dudek were chatting one day in 2012, and it’s really the basis for ForwardFocus as a whole!  

But, just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was ForwardFocus.  Brittany brought the conference idea to Cate Kaufman, who was her supervisor at the time.  The two brainstormed the feasibility and decided to survey community college librarians to find out if it was just their crazy idea or if it really could work.

As it turns out, librarians across the country said they needed an event specifically targeted at community college issues. Armed with that knowledge but no money or experience in creating a conference, what were Brittany and Cate to do?  Plan and host it in less than six months, of course!  

Experience was at the heart of ForwardFocus 2012--and not just in terms of understanding how to host a simultaneous online and in-person conference for participants across the country (that’s the easy part, right?).  Despite challenges with technology, the participants from 2012 said they had a great experience and asked if an annual event was possible.  

After combing through the feedback, ForwardFocus 2013 became a slightly altered version of 2012’s event with even more discussion among colleagues and a very entertaining and informative panel presentation.  With over 150 participants online and in person, you can imagine all of the ideas that were flowing that day!

The beauty of ForwardFocus is that we’re free to make it what our community college colleagues want it to be, so chime in and be heard.  It’s YOUR time to learn and share what matters most to you.  

Still don’t believe us that ForwardFocus makes a difference? Take a look at what previous participants had to say:

I’ve been in contact with our Communications Department to help us with a marketing plan.”

“Share with my department and V.P. of Academic Affairs who asked for a little report at our faculty senate.”

“We’re going to discuss what other institutions shared about what they’re doing and see if we can incorporate similar efforts at our school.”

“The grants information will be used as we pursue grant opportunities for our library. I learned something from each session I attended.”

“I’d like to start a “one book, one college” program if I can gather enough support for it. I think changes in our reference desk could make a difference as well.”

“I shared everything with my library faculty, and I learned lots of things I would like to implement in my own library.”

“Some good tips on thinking about the way we do reference — something I will discuss with my boss!”

“Although I am not the person in charge of outreach/ marketing, I was inspired by what the other colleges are doing, especially World War Z at Moraine Valley Community College! I would love to see our students, faculty, and administrators that engaged with the library!!!