Learning about AI: Level Up Your Skills Without Overwhelming Your Mind

OpenAI and deep learning and neural networks, oh my! The swiftly developing landscape of artificial intelligence, combined with its rapid integration into our work and personal lives, can feel confusing and overwhelming. This session will help you think about AI in your own work and plan your own personal AI learning journey, while also providing thoughtful recommendations on how both you and your users can get started. The presenters will discuss common terminology, user-friendly resources for understanding AI, questions to ask when exploring AI tools, and ideas on how to start building your own knowledge on this topic. The information shared can also be used by library staff to support users and guide them on their own learning quests. The potential power of AI provides a range of exciting opportunities for libraries and their users – this session will give library staff the keys to start thinking about AI as an ally.


Jennifer Freer is a business librarian at the Rochester Institute of Technology with 28 years of experience in librarianship. She has a professional interest in the technology and methodology behind the discovery of information and most recently an interest in the application of AI in library services. She has a B.A. in History from Binghamton University, a Master's of Library Science from Queens College and an M.S. in Communication & Media Technologies from the Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Lara Nicosia is a Humanities Librarian and interim Director of Learning Initiatives at the University of Rochester. With over ten years of experience in reference and user services, including information literacy instruction, Lara is excited about the opportunities and applications for AI to support student learning and research discovery. She earned a B.A. in History and Economics from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. in Museum Studies and M.S. in Library and Information Science from Syracuse University, along with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Digital Libraries.

This session was previously presented during the RUSA Virtual Forum and attendees had this to say:

  • Learning about AI: Level Up Your Skills Without Overwhelming You Mind was an awesome session and the presenters did a fantastic job!
  • The speakers for 'Learning about AI: Level Up Your Skills Without Overwhelming You Mind' did meet expectations though - they were someone who clearly had more than a cursory knowledge of the subject and was familiar with the literature on the topic both within libraries and wider contexts.