ALA Annual Everywhere

As we all know by now, 2020 is not a normal year and ALA's annual conference has gone virtual from June 24–26. While missing the chance to network, connect, and collect galleys, the silver lining is that attending ALA is now available to a far broader cross-section of the field than ever before. Here, LJ’s editors have made their personal picks. 

ALA Virtual conference logoIn normal years, LJ previews the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference by both highlighting sessions curated by our editors and, often, calling out nearby recommended restaurants and local sites of interest to library workers. As we all know by now, 2020 is not a normal year and the annual conference has gone virtual from June 24–26. While missing the chance to network, connect, and collect galleys, the silver lining is that attending ALA is now available to a far broader cross-section of the field than ever before. Below, LJ’s editors have made their personal picks. All times given are in Central time.

Reference & Professional Reading Editor

Out-Doing Outreach in a Post Covid-19 World (ABOS LIVE)
Thurs., Jun. 25, 10–10:45 a.m.
How do librarians conduct outreach in a world where social interactions are fraught with health risks? Cathy Zimmerman, president of the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS), and Susan Parkins, immediate past president of ABOS, will discuss strategies.

ALA President's Program featuring Stacey Abrams
Thurs., Jun. 25, noon–1
Hear from Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia, who has spearheaded projects such as Fair Fight, dedicated to eradicating voter suppression, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project.

Senior Editor, Technology

Spotlight Session - Digital Library Trends from COVID-19
Wed., June 24, 1:30–2:15 p.m.
Coronavirus-related branch closures caused significant spikes in ebook and digital audiobook circulation. This session will feature three librarians sharing data on usage during the past three months, as well as e-content strategies as libraries reopen.

LITA Top Technology Trends
Wed., Jun. 24, 1:30–2:15 p.m.
This session is always one of the highlights of ALA's in-person conferences. This year's virtual panel includes seven librarians from academic and public libraries offering insights into emerging technology trends.

Streaming During COVID-19 and Beyond
Wed., Jun. 24, 2:30–3:15 p.m.
Nine experts will discuss the sudden shift to remote teaching as schools and colleges shut down due to COVID-19. Topics will include "navigating issues of funding and access; supporting extra-curricular screenings remotely and interpreting Fair Use and other provisions; connecting with users and operational resiliency with media collections."

Spotlight Session - How to Measure the Value of Library Marketing on Book Discovery & Sales
Thurs., Jun. 25, 11:15 a.m.– noon
For the past two years, the Panorama Project has been working to quantify the impact that libraries have on the publishing ecosystem. This session will take a look at author events, and how libraries can "track, measure, and contextualize the full monetary value of their marketing efforts for publishers and authors."

Editor, Prepub Alert

Intellectual Freedom, Hate Speech, the First Amendment, and You
Wed., Jun. 24, 11:15 a.m.—noon
Peter Coyl, director of the Montclair Public Library, NJ, a member of the Public Library Association's Task Force on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice and the New Jersey Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee, joins with New York Law School professor Nadine Strossen, the immediate past president of the American Civil Liberties Union, to discuss what hate speech is, why the First Amendment protects it, and how library workers can implement the Library Bill of Rights.

Suggesting Own Voices to All Readers: EDI and RA Service
Thurs., Jun. 25, 11:15 a.m.–noon
Becky Spratford, Readers' Advisory Specialist, RA for All, La Grange, IL; and Robin Bradford, Collection Development Librarian, Pierce County Library System, WA, show that honoring values equity, diversity, and inclusion doesn’t mean just adding titles to your collection but actively getting them in the hands of readers.

All Ages Welcome: Recruiting and Retaining Younger Generations for Library Boards, Friends Groups, and Foundations
Fri., Jun. 26, 12:15–1 p.m.
The ALA Emerging Leaders group for United for Libraries—Lina Bertinelli, Workforce Librarian, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD; Kathy Kosinski, Member Services and Outreach Manager, Califa Group; Madeline Jarvis, Adult and Information Services Manager, Marion Public Library, NJ; and Tess Wilson, Network of the National Library of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region—explains how to get Millennials involved on library boards and in library advocacy

Reviews & Production Director, LJ & SLJ

Serving the Transgender Community: It's More Than Just Bathrooms!
Wed., Jun. 24, 1:30–2:15 p.m.
Panelists will explore their experiences and knowledge in providing services for the transgender community at their libraries.

More Than Just Banned Books: Recent Research on Intellectual Freedom (IFRT LIVE)
Fri., Jun. 26, 3–3:45 p.m.
An update on recent empirical research in intellectual freedom and censorship from academic experts in the field.

News Editor

Enhancing Our Communities: Tribal Libraries Innovating to Expand Services
Thurs., Jun. 25, 1:15–2 p.m.
I’d like to see more tribal library coverage in LJ, and finding out what this panel has to say would be a good place to start.

Sonia Manzano - Featured Speaker
Thurs., Jun. 25, 2–2:30 p.m.
Of course I want to hear Sonia Manzano—she’s from the Bronx and she’s from Sesame Street. Plus I’ve heard she’s a good speaker, and I’m interested in her experience.

"Lightning Talks: Libraries Fostering Community Resilience during COVID-19" (SustainRT LIVE)
Thurs., Jun. 25, 4–4:45 p.m.
Representatives from California, New York, and Florida libraries should make this an interesting array of takes.

Assistant Managing Editor, LJ Reviews

Herstory Through Activism: Women, Libraries, and Activism
Thurs., Jun. 25, 10–10:45 a.m.
Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of suffrage for white women and the 50th anniversary of ALA’s Feminist Task Force, this panel explores the connections women have forged in libraries through activism and grassroots literacy initiatives, and the benefits of these relationships to libraries today. Presenters include Emily Drabinski, Critical Pedagogy Librarian, City Univ. of New York; Dalena Hunter, Librarian/Archivist, Los Angeles Communities and Cultures, Univ. of California Los Angeles; and Teresa Neely, professor, Librarianship and Assessment, Univ. of New Mexico.

BOOM! Studios: Breaking the Rules of Graphic Novels - Featured Speakers
Thurs., Jun. 25, 3:30–4 p.m.
Keeping the small rules in order to break the big ones might be among the topics touched upon in this exciting panel about the expanding graphic medium. Featuring consummate cartoonists Gabby Rivera, Brian Azzarello, and Ryan North in conversation with big-name prose authors–turned–graphic novelists Roxane Gay and Tracy Lynne Oliver.

Expanding Worldviews: How Libraries Create Awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Inspire Change
Fri., Jun. 26, 11:15 a.m.–noon
Librarians from the United States, Kazakhstan, Central America, and Singapore share ideas for improved library services that engage and elevate local communities. Made possible by the International Papers and Projects Program, established by ALA’s International Relations Round Table, and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Libraries as Social Change Engines Around the World - International Relations Round Table (IRRT) Chair's Program
Wed., Jun. 24, 2:30–3:15 p.m.
I’m excited to hear from library leaders from Australia and Turkey and see what holds true, or could be adapted, across country and cultural contexts.

Live Chat: Racial Equity in Library Institutions
Thurs., Jun. 25, 10–11 a.m.
Panelists from the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, public libraries, and LIS education will lead a timely and much-needed conversation on individual, institutional, and structural racism, and how to identify barriers rooted in race and engage with other agencies to reduce them.

Behind the Wires: American Concentration Camps Then and Now (APALA LIVE)
Fri., Jun. 26, 11:15 a.m.–noon
Together, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (co-sponsored by Social Responsibility Round Table), will address today’s migrant camps and those which imprisoned Japanese Americans during World War II. The program will showcase resources, programs, and outreach activities.

Associate Editor

Retention efforts of minority librarians in librarianship from the perspectives of early, middle and advanced career librarians (health science, academic, public, school-media, and special libraries)
Wed., Jun. 24, 12:15–1 p.m.
Retention is even more important than recruitment. Twanna Hodge, Jahala Simuel, Raymond Pun, Kimberley Bugg, and Joslyn Bowling Dixon share their experiences and discuss how to attract—and keep—minority and underrepresented populations in a field that isn’t always welcoming to them.

Civic Duty?: Libraries and the Disenfranchised
Thurs., Jun. 25, 2:30–3:15 p.m.
With ongoing voter suppression throughout the United States, voter disenfranchisement also continues to be a problem. But how can librarians help? I’m interested in listening and learning from a panel of librarians and others about how we can help patrons stay informed, and ensure their right to vote.

Assistant Editor, LJ and SLJ

Are the Kids Okay? How Librarians Can Use Literature to Help Kids Navigate Socioemotional Stress
Thurs., Jun. 25, 1:15–2 p.m.
It will be really interesting to see how the presenters navigate potentially triggering scenes in YA, and how they strike the balance between finding literature that fosters conversation and healing and literature that uses trauma as shock value.

Twitch & Discord in Public Libraries: New Opportunities for Adult Services
Fri., Jun. 26, 11:15 a.m.–noon
Video games are so popular among youth (I remember entire summers spent in front of an Xbox) that by increasing these services, libraries can get a whole new generation of readers to come in. It will also be interesting to see how they suggest modifying one’s access to Twitch to keep younger patrons safe (there can be lots of nudity and profanity) as well as ensuring that content created in the library is considerate of other patrons.

Juntos: Latinx Family Engagement at Your Library
Fri., Jun. 26, 12:15–1 p.m.
As a Latina I saw a number of young readers and classmates struggle to learn to read in English, leading to them falling behind in school for years to come. Often libraries and other free, public places are the only times these kids get to hear stories in English read in English, so it’s crucial that we make these spaces more welcoming and engaging for these folks.

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