Every year, tens of thousands of librarians descend upon the selected site of ALA Annual, the American Library Association’s annual conference. Every year ALA provides a stellar lineup and this year in Chicago is not an exception. In addition to the Monday keynote of Senator Hillary Clinton, there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of sessions, events, programs, papers, and panels available.
For a library student, or any newcomers to ALA Annual, making sense of the program and what to prioritize is a daunting task. Not only is there multitude of events to potentially attend, the program isn’t exactly, um, easy to browse, despite being online and searchable. Perhaps our conference app hosts should hire a taxonomist, hm?
At any rate, we at HLS have taken it upon ourselves to curate several thematic tracks that we think will be most useful for library students to attend. We’ve taken care to select sessions that encompass multiple kinds of libraries and populations.
To access our recommendations
- Check out our open Google doc here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1m3Z7g935oUUKE0IaibXarFQ2YGydBe8zMZbKyqmY99E/edit?usp=sharing
- Browse the tabs at the bottom to find a track of interest.
- Sessions are organized by date and time.
Below is “The Short List,” a selection of sessions that we believe all library students will benefit, regardless of area or expertise:
Friday, June 23
11:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
- Graphic Novel Friday Forum: Read More, Read Better – Learning with Comics and Graphic Novels
Free, daylong series that tackles graphic novels and comics in classrooms of all ages.
Saturday, June 24
- Washington Office Update Session – Be A Catalyst: Your Portfolio of Resources to Create Catalytic Change in Communities
- You Can’t Stay Neutral on a Moving Train: Making Critical Librarianship Tangible Through Library Programs and Exhibits
Presented by HLS alum, Annie Pho
- Dynamic Ways to Serve Teens of Color
- Fearless Questions and Fierce Conversations: Recruiting and Retaining LIS Doctoral Students of Color
- APALA President’s Program, Rising Up: South Asian, Muslim, Arab and Sikh Communities Reshape America
- How to Be an Influential Librarian: Leading and Mentoring from Wherever you Are
- Keyword to Mastery Game: An Active Learning Approach to Discover Research Topics
- Intersections and the Experience of GLBTQ Library Folks
- Women Aren’t Funny (And Other Essential Untruths For Middle Grade Readers)
- Leaning International: Stories from the Field
- The Other (Invisible) Refugees – Supporting Central American Children in Crisis
- What They Don’t Teach You in Library School: Using Emotional Intelligence to Succeed as Academic Librarians of Color
Sunday, June 25
- Crossing Over: Adult Lit with YA Appeal
- From MLS to MLD: It’s Time to Integrate Design Thinking and Philosophy into LIS Education
- Re-Skilling for a Digital Future: Developing Capabilities and Capacities in Digital Scholarship for Academic Libraries
- Building Bridges: Using Research and Partnerships to Support Early Literacy in Diverse Communities
- Libraries Transform: New Tools and Best Practices
- GLBT Library Leaders on Queerness at Work: How Queer Identities Impact Leadership Roles, Professional Relationships, and Career Trajectories
- International Comics – Culture & Creation Beyond America (Discussion/Interest Group)
Monday, June 26
Of course, for anyone who has attended ALA, you know that simply deciding what to do is only half the battle. For all you seasoned vets out there, what tips do you have for getting the most out of conferences? Have any additional must-see recommendations?
Photo credit: American Library Association, 2017.