Midwinter Meeting, Annual Conference, Virtual Conference

2012 Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference were launched with new taglines to reflect a major focus for each, including increased interactivity. In past post-conference surveys, attendees had said they would welcome greater interactivity and more opportunities to build on unstructured conversations. The new kinds of sessions, programs, and events were appreciated and well attended.

Now regular features at Midwinter Meetings and Annual Conferences, Friday’s Unconference, Monday’s Library Camp, and the ongoing Networking Uncommons all help meet those needs, in addition to other types of programs such as facilitated conversations, “Ignite” sessions, and “Conversation Starters.” Positive comments from attendees in post-event surveys and social media suggest they noticed and appreciated the innovations. Increased outreach and buzz about the content of the conferences especially in American Libraries, emails, and social media fueled enthusiasm before attendees arrived in Dallas in January and Anaheim. Calif., in June. Channels for active communication during the conferences for both attendees and those not attending (including many who use the hashtag #ALAleftbehind) have grown to encompass blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Flickr.

The third ALA Virtual Conference took place in July, building on the focus of Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference under the tagline “Mapping Transformation.”

Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, Texas

ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting, held January 20–24 in Dallas

“The conversation starts here . . .”

The 2012 ALA Midwinter Meeting, held January 20–24 in Dallas drew 6,236 attendees and 3,693 exhibitors.

More than 1,800 meetings probed such issues as the ongoing struggle for libraries facing budget cuts, the emergence of e-books, and best practices on a range of library-related concerns. A major content focus introduced by ALA President Molly Raphael was the facilitated conversations about the transformation of libraries.

“Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities” and Presidential Initiatives

Bookending this Presidential theme were the Unconference, a participant-guided experience organized by the crowd that harnesses unstructured conversations into the conference itself, and the first-ever Midwinter Library Camp on Monday afternoon that got an enthusiastic and eclectic group together to talk about what had inspired them, issues on their minds, and what they were taking home from Midwinter.

The Unconference set the stage for “Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities,” two afternoons of conversation hosted by ALA President Molly Raphael on the evolving needs of our communities and how we can transform libraries and librarianship. Syracuse iSchool professor and author of “Atlas of New Librarianship” (Association of College and Research Libraries/MIT Press, 2011) David Lankes led small groups in addressing questions about transforming our communities and the profession. Lankes’s focus is on reconceptualizing the library field through the lens of “new librarianship.” Facilitators from the graphic recording company Sunni Brown helped create visual images of the plenary conversations that concluded each afternoon.

The Saturday session focused on “Understanding Your Communities,” and the Sunday session on “Transforming Librarianship.” Picking up and continuing the conversation as the featured speaker in Raphael’s President’s Program on Sunday afternoon was Rich Harwood, described as “one of the great thinkers in American public life.” President and founder of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, he has become a leading national authority on improving America’s communities, raising standards of political conduct, and reengaging citizens in today’s most complex and controversial public issues.

Part of President Raphael’s diversity leadership initiative “Empowering Diverse Voices,” Champion Connections provided selected new and emerging leaders with an opportunity to meet with established leaders within ALA, its divisions, round tables, and affiliates.

ALA Youth Media Awards

The ALA Youth Media Awards were announced on Monday morning, January 23. Approximately 15,000 webcast viewers joined more than 1,300 onsite audience members for the announcement of 18 awards that honor children’s and young adult authors and illustrators and producers of children’s audio and video materials, including the prestigious Caldecott and Newbery medals, as well as the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and Printz awards. Results were followed live on Twitter and through live updates on the ALA website. Highlighted videos from winning authors are now posted each year to a dedicated YouTube channel.

ALA Masters

The ALA Masters Series was introduced to offer insight into hot trends and issues, with experts from across library specialties describing their latest in-house innovations in fast-paced 30-minute sessions. To kick off the program, a special hour-long Masters Series session, “A Library Occupies Occupy Wall Street,” allowed attendees to learn firsthand from five librarians on the front lines of the Occupy Wall Street movement who helped build the People’s Library. The second Masters Series session was “Reimagining the Public Library in a Post-Recession Economy,” addressing how Dallas Public Library rethought everything during the transition out of the 2008 economic collapse. In the final session, Carl Lennertz described how attendees could be part of World Book Night, a giveaway of one million books to underserved readers across the United States on April 23.

Updates and Hot Topics

ALA divisions and offices and other organizations and companies across library-related fields provided expert updates on policy, research, statistics, technology, and more, based on new research, surveys, reports, legislation/regulation, projects, beta trials, focus groups, and other data. Topics included orphaned works and digital libraries, grassroots strategies for saving libraries on the verge of closure, e-books and ownership, ensuring the use and discoverability of digital collections, and others.

Business/Financial Meetings

The usual roster of business and financial meetings was covered, including the Executive Board, Council, Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC), Planning and Budget Assembly, Finance and Audit (F&A) Committee, and the ALA–Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA).

The Exhibits

With more than 400 exhibiting organizations, the exhibit floor was as always an integral part of the education at the Midwinter Meeting. Authors and illustrators were on hand at publishers’ booths, and the PopTop stage focused on various genres each day, including Mystery Day, Romance Day, and Storytelling Day. The Spotlight on Adult Literature on Saturday afternoon, jointly sponsored by United for Libraries and Conference Services, is an opportunity at each Midwinter for conference attendees to learn more about new authors as well as new books from seasoned authors of adult literature. Participating publishers provide free books and some host author signings.

The ALA Conference Store, located again on the exhibit floor, offered promotional and continuing education items. The nearby Membership Pavilion offered a wide range of information and resources, and New Members Round Table representatives were on hand to answer questions and help newer members find ways to get involved.


Susan Cain speaking at American Library Association Midwinter Meeting 2012
Susan Cain speaking at ALA Midwinter Meeting 2012

The ERT/Booklist Author Forum kicked the Midwinter Meeting off with authors discussing their work as it relates to exploring social conditions past and present in fiction and nonfiction. Authors Helen Schulman and Hillary Jordan shared their own special approaches to capturing society at large and family in particular, either in contemporary times or in the historical past, with moderator Brad Hooper, Booklist adult books editor.

The Auditorium Speaker Series featured authors Susan Cain and John Green. Cain is the author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” a title that became an award-winning bestseller. Green, author of several bestselling titles and with more than 1.1 million Twitter followers and more than 600,000 subscribers to and 185 million views of his vlogbrothers YouTube channel, looked at how social networking relates to literature and how librarians can reach patrons through fun and inventive social networking. Green was also the the featured speaker at the annual Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) fundraising author event.

Author and activist Jamal Joseph presented the 13th annual Arthur Curley Lecture, and talked about his personal odyssey from the streets of Harlem to Rikers Island and Leavenworth, and to the halls of Columbia, also detailed in his book, “Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention.”

Rev. Dr. Lewis V. Baldwin, professor of religious studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, keynoted the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sunrise Celebration on Monday morning, the theme of which was “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Honoring a Legacy that Still Inspires.”

United for Libraries (then still the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends, and Foundations) hosted the annual Gala Author Tea on Monday, featuring Kim Edwards, Erin Duffy, Pam Houston, Taylor Stevens, and Leonard Kniffel (former Publisher and Editor of American Libraries).

The Midwinter Meeting wrapped up and plans for Annual Conference in Anaheim revved up starting in the exhibit hall on Monday afternoon. The fun culminated in the Wrap Up/Rev Up Celebration with Grammy-nominated pop star Lisa Loeb bringing her humor and creativity.

ALA JobLIST Placement Center

The ALA JobLIST Placement Center, provided by ALA’s Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment, was again a hub of activity, from its orientation session to its open house and in between. Counselors were available to guide job seekers in strategizing for the next phase of their careers, solve current job situation problems, and provide assistance in rejuvenating careers, including a number of 20-minute, confidential one-on-one sessions.

Think Fit @ ALA

Following an eight-year hiatus, the ALA Fun Run returned when a “Think Fit @ ALA” focus was added to encourage both personal and environmental health at Association events. The well-attended Fun Run 5K and Walk took place early on Saturday. Going forward, ALA Conference Services will continue to host and identify events promoting personal or environmental health.

Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

“Transforming Our Libraries, Ourselves.”

 ALA Annual Conference, held June 21–26 in Anaheim, California

The 2012 ALA Annual Conference, held June 21-26 in Anaheim, Calif. drew 14,746 attendees and 5,388 exhibitors, with a strong focus on transformation and innovation.

New highlights at the 136th Annual Conference included a revamped ALA Awards presentation, a first Inaugural Brunch (rather than an evening event), where ALA President Molly Raphael honored incoming President Maureen Sullivan and division presidents-elect, and the first ever Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.

Attendees have said in post-conference surveys that ALA Annual Conference is the “best gathering for professional development opportunities, exhibits and vendor reps, and networking possibilities that a librarian is likely to find” and “the gold standard in professional development and networking.” A new resource, "Making Your Case for Attending," was made available to help potential attendees communicate these strengths and the many ways that ALA conference attendance can pay dividends, especially in times of tight budgets and reduced staffing.

Attendees could keep track of everything on the go for the first time with the new mobile app for the Conference Scheduler that put all the information people needed right at their fingertips, including their existing schedule, list of exhibitors, and notes from the full Scheduler site. Highlights of the Conference Scheduler itself have grown to include: multiple ways to browse sessions; an easy-to-create personal schedule that can be shared or kept private; tailored lists of recommendations; ease of adding, prioritizing, and updating sessions and events; and ease of adding booth visits and meetings with specific exhibitors.

Key issues covered at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference included digital content and e-books, technology in libraries, innovation, books and authors, leadership, library advocacy, civic engagement, library marketing, and many other topics that are top of mind for librarians in this era of rapid change.

E-books and digital content were a major focus of conference content, covered in many sessions, including the Opening General Session, where Rebecca MacKinnon, journalist, internet policy specialist, and author of "Consent of the Networked," focused on why it is time to stop arguing over whether the internet empowers people, instead addressing the urgent question of how technology should be governed to support the rights and liberties of users around the world. Auditorium Speaker David Weinberger, celebrated Internet philosopher and coauthor of "The Cluetrain Manifesto," addressed conferees on his vision of the future of knowledge in a connected world, shaking the foundations of our concept of knowledge—from the role of facts to the value of books and the authority of experts. ALCTS and RUSA cosponsored the program “The Ebook Elephant in the Room: Determining What’s Relevant and Effective for Your Patrons and Making Effective Decisions for Your Future E-Collection,” the ALA Washington Office presented “Digital Literacy and Libraries: Designing What Comes Next,” and Booklist Reference hosted “Why Can’t an Ebook Be More Like the Print?”

Featured speakers

John Irving speaking at ALA Annual Conference 2012
John Irving speaking at ALA Annual Conference 2012

A strong lineup of authors and thought leaders addressed attendees on a wide variety of topics and tales. ALA President Molly Raphael welcomed the mother-daughter author team Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer for her ALA President’s Program. Bestselling author John Irving talked about his 13th and latest novel, "In One Person," described as his most political since "The Cider House Rules" and "A Prayer for Owen Meany." 

A unique Auditorium Speaker session focused on three courageous and creative young adults who have already changed things for the better within their communities, cultures, and societies—William Kamkwamba, Talia Leman, and Gaby Rodriguez. Best known for his starring role as Kurt Hummel in the Golden Globe and SAG Award–winning comedy "Glee," Chris Colfer introduced his first children’s book, "The Land of Stories." George R. R. Martin, most famous for his ongoing series A Song of Ice and Fire, and Blake Charlton, known for his Spellwright Trilogy, discussed the increasingly mainstream aspect of the science fiction and fantasy genres. Behavioral economist and bestselling author Dan Ariely, New York Times bestselling author of "Predictably Irrational" and "The Upside of Irrationality," took a groundbreaking look at the way we behave, examining the contradictory forces that drive us to cheat and keep us honest.

Sapphire, author of the bestselling novel "Push," that was adapted into the blockbuster movie "Precious" in 2009, introduced her recent novel, "The Kid," which brings readers deep into the interior life of Abdul Jones, son of Precious. J. R. Martinez, inspirational speaker and 2011 winner of "Dancing with the Stars," spoke in the Closing General Session about the experiences behind his book "Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit." Dan Rather, the award-winning journalist who anchored CBS Evening News discussed his memoir "Rather Outspoken" for Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF, now United for Libraries) President Donna McDonald’s President’s Program. Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver discussed their jointly created Ghost Buddy series for middle-school-age kids that addresses topics such as bullying and living in a blended family.

Division President’s programs

In addition to the ALTAFF (now United for Libraries) President’s Program featuring Dan Rather, the following programs were hosted by division presidents:

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)—Carl Harvey: Lori Takeuchi, director of research at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, presented on the Families Matter report issued in June 2011.

Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA)—Janine Golden: Heather Krasna, career expert and author of "Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service."

Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)—Gary W. White: “Library in Your Hand: Mobile Technologies for Exchanging Information with Patrons,” with Joan Lippincott of the Coalition for Networked Information, Kristin Antelman of North Carolina State University, and David Lee King.

Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA)—Norma Blake: John Jantsch, bestselling author of "Duct Tape Marketing" and "The Referral Engine," applied his theories specifically to libraries.

Public Library Association (PLA)—Marcia Warner: Following the recognition of PLA’s 2012 award winners, President Marcia Warner welcomed Sherman Alexie, bestselling author of 22 books, including "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian."

Library Information and Technology Association (LITA)—Colleen Cuddy: “The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Research, Digital Scholarship and Implications for Research Libraries” with Tony Hey, corporate vice president of Microsoft Research Connections, and Clifford Lynch, director of the Coalition for Networked Information.

Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)/Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)—Mary Fellows, Sarah Flowers: “The Digital Lives of Tweens and Young Teens” with Stephen Abram, then vice president at Gale Cengage Learning, and Michelle Poris, quant savant at Smarty Pants.

Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS)/Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)—Betsy Simpson, Joyce L. Ogburn: “Future of the Book: Innovation in Traditional Industries” with Duane Bray, a partner at IDEO, a global innovation and design consulting firm.

Other programs

ALA Annual offered a wealth of other opportunities to satisfy multiple professional interests and groups such as the launch of the Reforma Educational Foundation; “First Author, First Book,” a conference tradition sponsored by United for Libraries that features first-time authors; the latest on legislation affecting libraries and cutting-edge technology updates during the ALA Washington Office Update; a Bookmobile Saturday Author Luncheon, Bookmobile learning sessions, and the 2012 Parade of Bookmobiles in conjunction with the 2012 Diversity and Outreach Fair; and the International Relations Round Table’s International Librarians Reception welcoming and celebrating with librarians from more than 80 countries. Now Showing@ ALA has become a popular center of activity for film-related programming at the conference.

Award events

Perennial award-related favorites at Annual Conference included the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Awards Banquet, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Breakfast, the Stonewall Book Awards Brunch, Margaret A. Edwards Luncheon, and Michael L. Printz Program and Reception. In 2012, the celebrations included the first ever Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction announcement and reception—a standing-room only event with authors, editors, and publishers present to hear and celebrate the winners, Anne Enright’s "The Forgotten Waltz" for fiction and Robert K. Massie’s "Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman" for nonfiction. (The new awards are made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and are cosponsored and administered by Booklist, ALA’s review journal, and the Reference and User Services Association.)

A host of things to do in the Exhibit Hall

The exhibit hall, with more than 1,500 booths showcasing the latest publications, products, and technologies available to libraries, also offered an array of informative and entertaining events, stages and pavilions. Vendors were on hand to discuss and demonstrate everything from virtual libraries and mobile book-stacking systems to premium quality library furniture. Attendees had a chance to meet and greet favorite adult and children’s authors and illustrators throughout the conference.

The exhibit hall included the ALA Membership Pavilion with information from ALA divisions, round tables, offices, and ALA-affiliated groups; the ALA Store offering the most current professional development materials and gifts, posters, and other items to help promote literacy and libraries; “Artist Alley” located in the Gaming/Graphic Novel Pavilion, with original artwork by leading artists and illustrators; DVD/Video Pavilion showcasing recorded materials for libraries of all types; Gaming/Graphic Novel Pavilion with educational and recreational games and graphic novels; the new Government Information Pavilion offering the latest and greatest information from featured government agencies; the Green Pavilion showcasing products and services to help libraries be ecologically smart; the International Pavilion with multilingual and multicultural publications and library materials; the Library School and Instruction Pavilion, a showcase of LIS educational programs by the Association for Library and Information Science Education and individual schools; the Mobile Applications Pavilion with the latest mobile apps and technologies to manage libraries and improve services; the Small Press/Product Area where new and independent presses often launch their newest titles and new vendors introduce themselves to the library community; the Spanish Publishers Pavilion; the Technology/Library 2.0 Pavilion featuring the latest products and service designed to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and creativity; and the Zine Pavilion for zine creators and librarians who manage zine collections. Other highlights not to miss included “What’s Cooking @ ALA” Cooking Demonstration Stage, the PopTop Stage focused on popular librarian favorites including mystery, romance, travel, sci-fi, religion, and horror, the Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage, and the “LIVE! @ Your Library” Reading Stage. The Wrap Up/Rev Up celebration featured musician Bettye LaVette who kept the party going from the exhibit hall to the Ballroom.

ALA/ProQuest Scholarship Bash

The Bash on Saturday evening offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—to rock out at the very last performance of the beloved Rock Bottom Remainders. The band included some of today’s most shining literary lights--Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Amy Tan, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, James McBride, Roy Blount Jr., Matt Groening, Stephen King, and Greg Iles. As always, the money raised provides scholarships for graduate students in library and information studies, including Spectrum.

2012 ALA Virtual Conference

American Library Association Virtual Conference 2012For the third year, ALA hosted a Virtual Conference in July, offering individuals and groups the chance to participate in an interactive two-day event based on the theme “Mapping Transformation.” The focus of the keynotes and sessions was a wide range of innovation and dynamic experiments,

The two days of interactive Web sessions, discussions, and insights attracted hundreds of engaged participants, as thought leaders offered starting points for discussion as well as practical ideas for moving forward and trying something new. From building e-book platforms to publishing the local community’s unique content and adding a DIY/Maker service for users, the presenters highlighted how new services are transforming both their libraries and their communities.

The speakers and topics included keynoters Travis Good from MAKE Magazine on what a makerspace is and why libraries should care, and George Needham and Joan Frye Williams on "Libraries In a Post-Print World." Other speakers included: Stephen Abram ("Mirages, Maps, Menus, Flowcharts, and Dreams"); Marie Ostergard ("Mediaspace: Transforming the Library of the Future"); Lee Rainie ("The State of ebook Borrowing from Libraries"); Brian Mathews ("Thinking Entrepreneurially: What Libraries Can Learn from Startups and Other Innovative Organizations"); James LaRue ("Moving Upstream: From Distributor to Co-Creator"); Marlene Harris ("Beyond the Bestseller List: Filling Patron Demand for Great ebooks Without the 'Big 6 Publishers'”); Peter Murray ("Introducing FOSS4Lib: Helping Libraries Decide IF and WHICH Open Source Software Is Right for Them"); Terry Ballard ("Using Google Products to Enhance Your Library’s Mission and Branding"); Emily Dowdall ("One-Stop Center: The Multiple Roles of the Public Library, Today and Tomorrow"); Steven Bell ("Start With a “Way We Serve Statement:” Design a Library User Experience the Way the Pros Do"); Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library ("I Street Press Project"); and Allen County IInd.) Public Library ("Making Our Future: The ACPL-TekVenture Maker Station Community Collaboration").

Booklist editors hosted what have become popular 30-minute author lunches at Virtual Conference. Brad Hooper talked through a monsoon with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New Yorker staff writer Katherine Boo (“Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity”) and Donna Seaman interviewed Christian Kiefer, an active poet, songwriter, and recording artist.

In the post-event survey, attendees had this to say: “One of the best distance workshops I’ve ever attended.” “Great content in a convenient place.” “Interesting topics, new perspectives, great speakers.” “The price was reasonable, the content was outstanding.” “Very inexpensive for a good lineup of events.” ”Enlightening.” “Very engaging.” “Interesting insights.” “Amazing, inspiring.” “New and fresh.”

Other conferences

ALA Virtual Membership Meeting

Nearly 550 ALA members from around the world participated in the first-ever ALA Virtual Membership Meeting June 6, which presented an opportunity to convene the membership in an online setting to discuss current projects, ongoing initiatives, and the direction of the Association. Members were able to participate directly in the discussions through chat and voiceover IP, asking questions from ALA leaders while sharing information and insights from their own libraries. A full video and document archive of the Meeting is available online.

Membership Meetings are convened for two main reasons: to communicate with members about the Association’s work and to allow members an opportunity to participate in setting policy for the Association by submitting resolutions for consideration.

Highlights of the 2012 meeting included ALA President Molly Raphael’s report detailing her two initiatives focusing on diversity and leadership development and advocacy, along with a recap of extensive meetings that she and other ALA leaders have had with publishing and author communities about e-books and libraries.

Raphael went on to detail the activities of the School Libraries Task Force empaneled to address the urgent need for advocacy for school libraries. Her complete report is available in the video archive.

Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels presented an “ALA Progress Report” on work achieving the goals of the ALA 2015 Strategic Plan. He detailed Association and member efforts in Advocacy, Building the Profession, Transforming Libraries, Members Engagement, and Organizational Effectiveness. Highlights included the Connect with your Kids @ your library advocacy campaign; the new ALA continuing education portal that drew more than 100,000 participants in online learning in its first year; the "Transforming our Libraries, Transforming Ourselves" theme for Annual Conference; new ways to engage with other members on Connect; and the success of several joint ALA and divisional membership recruitment campaigns. A full video and slide archive is on ALA Connect.

Clara Bohrer, chair of the Budget Analysis and Review Committee, presented the ALA Financial report. She began with a discussion of the Association’s financial health and went on to detail ways that ALA management and member leaders continue to address the Association’s budget in a challenging economy. She also discussed efforts to reduce expenditures and achieve efficiencies, actions taken to reallocate resources when possible, and new business initiatives like the acquisition of Neal Schuman by ALA Publishing. Bohrer’s full report is included in the video archive.

Under the leadership of the ALA Committee on Membership Meetings, this virtual event was held to provide new access to Association information and business for members while allowing more participation by members who do not attend conferences regularly.

On ALA Connect, Committee members convened several discussion topics identified in a recent member survey as conversation starters. Two discussion threads were highlighted, with members invited to comment during the live event about their own experiences. The first topic, “Improving the Role of Libraries in our Communities,” elicited some interesting examples of the ways that libraries and librarians identify and address diverse needs in their communities. The second topic, “eBooks and Libraries,” was a wide-ranging discussion that included an update about ALA’s ongoing leadership in the area from Alan Inouye, director of the OITP. Both discussions are included in the video and chat archives on Connect. Membership meetings are the venue for members to present resolutions for consideration and possible referral to ALA Council as policy recommendations along with memorials and tributes to honor fellow members, both living and deceased, who have made a significant contribution to the profession and to libraries.

2012 ALSC National Institute

ALSC National Institute - Libraries Leading the Race

ALSC spent much of 2011–12 planning for the National Institute held in Indianapolis September 20–22. The event featured award-winning authors Peter Brown, Denise Fleming, Kevin Henkes, Eric Rohmann, Gary Paulsen, Bryan Collier, Doreen Rappaport, and April Pulley Sayre, with 20 educational programs spread over two days. Programs delve into some of the most important topics in library service to children, such as using technology in programming, what’s hot in children’s spaces, working with underserved populations, putting Every Child Ready to Read into practice, and using local partnerships to improve programming. Special events included a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal during Friday morning’s Breakfast for Bill, a Friday reception at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, and a tour of the infoZone and Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Michael Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo
Peter Sis

Peter Sís

Peter Sís delivers 2012 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture

In April, the 2012 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture was delivered by Czech-born author and illustrator Peter Sís, a three-time Caldecott Honor recipient. The lecture, hosted by Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and titled, “Reading in the Dark.” An archived webcast of the lecture is available. The 2013 Arbuthnot Lecture will be given by the United Kingdom’s Children’s Laureate, author Michael Morpurgo.

National Library Legislative Day

On April 22–24, ALSC leaders participated in the 2012 National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C. The division was represented by ALSC President Mary Fellows, Vice-President Carolyn Brodie, and Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter. ALSC leaders met with key members of the House and Senate committees charged with education and library issues to impress upon them the critical role that children’s librarians and public libraries play in early learning development. They also attended the signing ceremony with Institute of Museum and Library Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the Information Memorandum on Public Libraries and Head Start. The group also met with the bipartisan advocacy organization First Focus to discuss commonalities and initiate a relationship that may result in future collaboration.

AASL national conference

Turning the Page

Dedicated solely to the needs of school librarians, the AASL 15th National Conference & Exhibition, “Turning the Page,” featured preconference workshops, several school and educational tours, more than 100 top-quality continuing education programs, thought-provoking opening and closing general sessions, author events, and exhibiting companies. Held in October 27–30, 2011, in Minneapolis, more than 3,000 school librarians, educators, exhibitors, and guests discussed key issues that impact the profession.

Best-selling author Nicholas Carr opened the conference with a discussion of his book "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains," which asks the question, “As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?” Carr also remained on hand to join the One Book, One Conference panel discussion.

Mimi Ito, international expert on mobile technologies and using new digital media in everyday life, headlined the closing general session, discussing the value of digital social media in education, countering the perception that new media is hostile to learning. Attendees enjoyed two screenings of the documentary "Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century," which complemented the overall theme of the conference, which was to identify and embrace new technologies and resources that will engage 21st-century learners.

The conference also included a variety of preconferences that addressed new technologies, gaming, and best practices for using 21st-century learning skills. In addition, a variety of local tours showcasing sites in and around Minneapolis were offered, as well as school tours for attendees interested in new ideas from local library programs.

More than 40 tabletop displays were part of the Exploratorium, the conference’s best-practice showcase. Topics included e-book implementation, grant-writing strategies, intellectual freedom, matching the right book to the right reader, preparing students for college, subscription databases available to K–12 school libraries, and creating lessons for English language learners.

National conference concurrent sessions were specially chosen to help attendees “turn the page” in their careers, including those focused on helping school librarians implement the AASL learning standards and program guidelines, raising the level of learning in school library programs, and addressing the needs of a new generation of students.

Other special events included as part of the conference festivities includes an author banquet featuring Andrea Davis Pinkney, Pat Mora, and Joan Bauer, along with two author brunches—one with Gennifer Choldenko and the second with Maggie Stiefvater. Attendees were also invited to a closing celebration held at the picturesque Nicollet Island Pavilion for food, dancing, and roasting s’mores around outdoor fire pits.

2012 PLA Conference, held March 13–17 in PhiladelphiaPLA Conference

The PLA 2012 Conference, held March 13–17 in Philadelphia, drew more than 8,700 library staff, supporters, exhibitors, and authors. The conference included nearly 200 educational programs, special events, and tours, along with some 400 exhibitors representing everything from large library vendors to ALA divisions.

Programming focused on key public library issues of advocacy, technology, literacy, and serving adults and youth. At the forefront were emerging technologies, e-books, and digital rights management. PLA President Marcia Warner, director, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Public Library, wrote an article, “Becoming Proactive: Taking the E-Book Initiative,” for the onsite paper, the PLA Daily News.

The conference also hosted a series of entertaining author events featuring best-selling adult, young adult, and children’s authors David Baldacci (“Absolute Power”), Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls series), Joyce Carol Oates (“We Were the Mulvaneys”) and Jerry Pinkney (“Gulliver’s Travels”). PLA also played host to the Audio Publishers Association Dinner, which featured authors Carl Hiaasen (“Hoot”), Lisa Scottoline (Rosato & Associates series), Karen Slaughter (“Beyond Reach”) and narrator Wanda McCaddon.

The conference also hosted a series of entertaining author events featuring best-selling adult, young adult, and children’s authors David Baldacci ("Absolute Power"), Ally Carter, (Gallagher Girls series), Joyce Carol Oates (“We Were the Mulvaneys”) and Jerry Pinkney ("Gulliver’s Travels"). PLA also played host to the Audio Publishers Association Dinner, which featured authors Carl Hiaasen ("Hoot"), Lisa Scottoline (Rosato & Associates series), Karen Slaughter ("Beyond Reach") and narrator Wanda McCaddon.

New to the conference this year was the PLA Unconference, a participant-driven event where conference attendees shared ideas, presented brief discussions and networked with other attendees with similar interests.

PLA President-Elect Eva Poole, chief of staff at the District of Columbia Public Library, introduced the closing keynote speaker, actor and comedian Betty White. The Emmy winner is also an outspoken animal advocate and author of seven books. White had the standing-room-only audience laughing throughout her interview with PLA staff member Brendan Dowling.

Those who were not able to attend the conference in Philadelphia had an opportunity to attend online through the PLA Virtual Conference, held March 15–16. The Virtual Conference included five live, hour-long programs each day and special events such as daily author interviews, audio poster sessions, Web tours with audio narration, and opportunities for networking.

LA Boot Camp - Intensive Library Management TrainingPLA Results Boot Camp

After a brief hiatus, the popular and respected PLA Results Boot Camp returned in October of 2011 and August of 2012 with attendance by more than 120 people. “Results Are What Matters: Management Tools and Techniques to Improve Library Services and Programs” is a four-and-a-half-day intensive education program designed around PLA’s Results series and is intended to offer public library management training not provided in library school. Taught by Sandra Nelson and June Garcia at the Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library, the programs tackled topics like strategic planning, data-based decision-making, effective resource allocation, implementation strategies, and change management.


2011 LITA National Forum

The annual LITA Forum offers three days of content-rich programming for library technologists along with much appreciated networking opportunities.  Attendees have the opportunity to get to know leaders, Forum speakers, and peers in the library and information technology field across all types of libraries.  The 2011 LITA Forum convened in St. Louis from September 29 to October 2.  The theme was “Rivers of Data, Currents of Change”.  The three keynote speakers were John Blyberg, assistant director for Innovation and User Experience at Darien Library and open source advocate, Karen Coyle, consultant investigating the possibilities offered by the semantic web and linked data technology, and Barbara McGlamery, taxonomist at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia who has been creating taxonomies and employing semantic solutions for websites for many years.  Two full day preconferences, 39 concurrent sessions, and 13 poster sessions addressing critical technology topics and sharing practical experiences in implementing technology in libraries provided an in-depth educational opportunity.