Category Archives: ALA

ALA Conference Remodel Proposal for Association-Wide Input

The ALA Conference Committee is seeking your feedback as we work to remodel the ALA Annual Conference. Mary Ghikas, ALA’s Senior Associate Executive Director, in consultation with the Conference Committee/Conference Program Coordinating Team and with input from ALA conferences services, division staff, and roundtable/ALA committee staff liaisons, has developed a remodel proposal for our upcoming 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans.

As we worked on its development, we had the following objectives in mind:

  • Create a more manageable and more easily navigable Annual Conference
  • Provide high-quality continuing education in content streams relevant to individuals from different types of libraries and in different specializations
  • Eliminate to the extent possible conflict between programs in the same content stream or during the same time periods
  • Provide peer-to-peer learning and networking aligned with contract streams through discussion/interest groups
  • Continue to provide an exceptional exhibition of products and services for the library community, as well as an opportunity for authors and librarians to interact
  • Provide integrated content information—including programs and discussion groups, as well as interactions with authors and exhibitors
  • Support the governance of the Association by providing a venue for both essential governance meetings and collaborative work
  • Address attendee dissatisfaction with the spread-out campus by reducing campus size by approximately 50%
  • Control costs by reducing campus spread, eliminating or reducing room turns and increasing consistency in practice
  • Increase sustainability, both financial and environmental

The Conference Committee values your input. We particularly encourage all units of the Association and affiliates who produce programming, hold discussion/interest groups, and/or hold meetings at Annual Conference to review the remodel proposal. You may post your comments on the Conference Committee’s ALA Connect space.

The Conference Committee feels this remodel provides a better conference experience for all participants, as well as long-term sustainability for our association.

Clara Bohrer, Chair

ALA Conference Committee

ALA Rethinking Annual Conference

Editor’s note: The following is a message from ALA Conference Committee Chair Clara N. Bohrer.

The ALA Conference Committee is seeking your assistance as we rethink the ALA Annual Conference, looking at member experience, conference-based collaboration and networking, learning and sustainability.

As an ALA Committee, we appreciate that the ALA Conference offers significant benefit to members:

  • It brings together librarians and library staff (across types of libraries and specializations), authors, editors, library trustees and friends, and library suppliers to share their best thinking, explore common issues from their distinctive perspectives, discuss emerging trends, and challenge assumptions that might otherwise stifle innovation.
  • The Conference provides an opportunity to showcase for new audiences the best work of ALA’s divisions, round tables, committees and partners: the latest research, the results of outstanding projects, successful models, innovative practices.
  • It offers a powerful platform to speak to the communities that our libraries serve, through conference-based advocacy work.
  • While ALA’s work goes on year-round, Annual Conference offers the face-to-face engagement that is often essential to addressing critical issues or resolving problems.
  • Regardless of type of library or specialization, the Conference offers an opportunity to develop and nourish each member’s unique national network.

Right now, the ALA Annual Conference offers 2,400-2,700 programs, discussion groups, meetings, and events in 350-370 concurrent meeting spaces. While this shows the vitality and amazing span of this field, we believe that it is necessary to do this in a more structured and efficient way. We know from post-conference surveys that attendees do not like the expansive, spread-out campus which requires running back and forth between multiple venues, consuming both time and personal energy. We know that attendees have a difficult time finding the most relevant content for their current needs because it gets buried in the volume and complexity of the Conference. We also know that using 350-370 rooms across a large campus is ultimately not a financially sustainable practice for our Association.

Our focus is the best possible conference experience for all participants, forward-focused innovation, and long-term sustainability for our association. So, we are seeking your collaboration with the ALA Conference Committee as we examine what we are currently doing, think about possible new opportunities, and explore new ways to collaborate. We will end up doing less of some things. We may end up doing some things we don’t currently do  — but would like to do.

The Committee has asked Mary Ghikas, ALA’s Senior Associate Executive Director, to develop a couple of different models, looking at three inventories:

  • The things we do at conferences – programs, discussion groups, meetings, special events.
  • The places we use at conferences – meeting rooms at both the convention center and hotels.
  • The conference schedule – the designated time periods for programs and other conference activities.

We are looking at reducing the “places” inventory from 350-370 to 200, which would have a significant and positive impact on the time that participants spend going from place to place. It will also require collaboration, imagination and open communication with each other. How can we more effectively coordinate and collaborate in conference content development? How might we coordinate discussion group schedules and improve access to these vital venues for peer-to-peer sharing and learning?  How can we reduce the schedule conflicts between meetings and programs and between programs and discussion groups within a related content stream?

It will be the task of the ALA Conference Committee to examine and discuss the models presented, to share and obtain input from across the Association on the models, and to select or modify a model for implementation at the 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans and future annual conferences. The Committee’s structure is an asset in this process. The ALA Conference Committee has a representative composition, bringing together various stakeholders – from the broad ALA membership, from ALA Council and Executive Board, from Divisions, from Round Tables. The annually-appointed Conference Program Coordinating Team (CPCT), a subcommittee, is also representative, including someone from every division, as well as the Round Tables Coordinating Assembly. The CPCT will participate in rethinking the Annual Conference with the ALA Conference Committee and assist in obtaining feedback across the Association. Work will be done through space on ALA Connect, where proposed models will be posted, as well as at our face-to-face meetings at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference.

In the future, we will be asking for your feedback on models. We value your input. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.


Clara N. Bohrer, Chair

ALA Conference Committee

2016 I Love My Librarian Award

I Love My Librarian logoNominations are open through September 19, 2016, for the I Love My Librarian Award. The award encourages library users — professors, administrators, students — to submit nominations about how their librarian makes a difference on campus or in the community.

Up to 10 librarians in public, school and college, community college and university libraries will be selected to win $5,000 and will be honored at a ceremony and reception in New York, hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York. In addition, a plaque will be given to each award-winner’s library.

Nominate your favorite College, Community College, or University librarian today!

The award is supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York, The New York Public Library, and The New York Times.

ALA Task Force on the Context of Future Accreditation Online Forums

The ALA Task Force on the Context of Future Accreditation is charged to develop a white paper that describes the fields and context for which we will be accrediting in the future and to make such recommendations as may arise in the process of that development to the ALA Executive Board.

Within its purview are

  • Accreditation of information programs — who is doing what, how do or might they relate to LIS programs; disconnect (or perceived disconnect) between skills increasingly needed (e.g., information architecture), the current curricula of LIS programs, and standards/statements of core competencies currently in place;
  • Values — e.g. public access, privacy, intellectual freedom — as common threads binding together LIS and related fields and a core element in curricula; and,
  • The changing institutional context for accreditation, including factors such as pedagogical innovation, assessment and resources.

The discussion/white paper should result in a conceptual statement as a framework for the development (by the ALA Committee on Accreditation) of future standards.

The Task Force on the Context of Future Accreditation seeks broad input from the LIS community. To this end, the Task Force will be staging a series of online forums targeting certain populations and capped with a general forum for those who have not otherwise had an opportunity to contribute.

The four sessions are as follows:

Thursday, August 18  10:00 am PDT/12:00 pm CDT – LIS faculty (other than deans and directors). To attend this event please register at:

Thursday, August 25  10:00 am PDT/12:00 pm CDT  – Librarians and LIS graduates in Canada. To attend this event please register at:

Wednesday, August 31  10:00 am PDT/12:00 pm CDT  – Current LIS students and recent LIS graduates. To attend this event please register at:

Friday, September 2  10:00 am PDT/12:00 pm CDT  – General forum. To attend this event please register at:

Each forum will be hosted by a facilitator from the Task Force. Attendance at each forum will be capped at 100. The facilitator will have a set of guiding questions, but discussion is otherwise open. The conversation will be recorded.

Please contact Task Force chair Peter Hepburn at should you have questions.

We look forward to the conversations.

Thank you,

Peter Hepburn, Chair, Task Force on the Context of Future Accreditation

ALA 2016 Virtual Membership Meeting

ALA Virtual Membership MeetingYou are invited to register and join ALA President Sari Feldman along with hundreds of other ALA members for the annual ALA Virtual Membership Meeting (VMM16) on Thursday, June 2, from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. (CDT). VMM16 is a terrific way to have your voice heard, to discuss essential topics with other members, and to connect with colleagues, old and new. Live captioning is provided so all registrants can participate.  It is your chance to contribute, connect, and engage. This virtual meeting will:

  • update you about ALA’s strategic directions and finances;
  • cover topics related to the Libraries Transform public awareness campaign as well as the work of the Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and
  • provide participants the opportunity to submit and to vote on resolutions or testimonials.

Registration is now open. A dedicated VMM16 ALA web page and ALA Connect group provide detailed information and relevant documents. If you are considering submitting a resolution, you’ll find complete guidelines on the web page. Remember to submit your resolution no later than 1:30 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, May 26.

The meeting officially concludes at 2:30 p.m., but the text-chat session will remain open for an additional 15 minutes to allow participants to wrap up their conversations.

We look forward to “seeing” you online on June 2.  Please share this information with your own network of contacts. Thanks to the Committee on Membership Meetings (COMM) for their leadership in preparing for VMM16.

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