November 28, 2015

The San Francisco Deets | ALA 2015

ALA 2015 logo

The opening general session of this year’s American Library Association (ALA) conference in San Francisco was a feel good fest, thanks largely to the good luck and good planning that ALA demonstrated in booking Roberta Kaplan, lawyer for the Supreme Court case that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, as the opening keynote. On the two-year anniversary of that case, the Court found in favor of marriage equality, turning Kaplan’s speech into an emotional victory celebration punctuated with standing ovations.

ALA President-Elect Julie Todaro on Transforming Librarians

ALA_Todaro BW cropped

The American Library Association (ALA) 2016–17 presidential campaign concluded on May 8, with Julie Todaro winning the role of president-elect. She prevailed over the rest of this year’s unusually large field—Joseph Janes, James LaRue, and JP Porcaro—by a narrow margin, edging out Janes, the runner-up, by only 22 votes. A total of 10,119 votes were cast for the position of president between March 24 and May 1.

A Taste of San Francisco | ALA 2015 Preview

Exterior photo by Melanie Duerkopp; food photo by Frankie Frankey

San Francisco is deservedly known for its restaurant offerings. No conference preview could cover them all (and no conference attendee could visit them). Below is a tasting menu of options that are accessible from the Moscone Center, at 747 Howard Street, provided courtesy of San Francisco local Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House’s Crown Publishing Group.

Literary Landmarks | ALA 2015 Preview

Photo by San Francisco Travel Association/Scott Chernis

While it is tough to get away from the conference long enough to experience the host city, and there’s a lot to see in San Francisco, here are a few literary-inflected sights courtesy of Not for Tourists that visiting librarians might especially appreciate.

Fog City Reads | ALA 2015 Preview


The city of San Francisco has been immortalized in hundreds of books in every genre: the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) keeps a Pinterest page of 81 titles and counting, as well as a “literary landmarks of San Francisco” list in its BiblioCommons catalog, plus separate lists for SF-based chefs and books for kids and teens. Here, a curated selection of reading for those ALA attendees who like to immerse themselves in a sense of place while they travel to the conference.

Authors & Celebrities | ALA 2015 Preview

Kopp photo by Leslie Culver; Sherman photo by Emrah Gurel; Crabb photo by Julia Gillard; Poundstone photo ©2012 Michael Schwartz; Thomson photo by Jillian Kalonick; Katzenbach photo by Nancy Doherty

Appearances from authors and celebrities abound at ALA Annual, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Paula Poundstone, Al Roker, Gloria Steinem, and many more.

ALA by the Bay | ALA 2015 Preview


The American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference returns to San Francisco for the first time since 2001, this June 25–30, with an array of programming that lives up to its colorful surroundings. Innovations this year include a LITA preconference, Learn To Teach Coding and Mentor Technology Newbies, presented in cooperation with Black Girls Code, and a series of sessions offered by ALA’s recently launched Center for the Future of Libraries.

Meet the Candidates: ALA President 2016–17


Voting for the American Library Association (ALA) 2016–17 presidential campaign has opened, and ALA members in good standing can cast their ballots through May 1. In order to offer voters some additional insight into the candidates’ opinions and plans, LJ has asked them to weigh in on some key issues facing the president-elect and general items of interest. The four candidates—Joseph Janes, associate professor and chair of the MLIS Program, University of Washington Information School, Seattle; James LaRue, CEO of LaRue & Associates, Castle Rock, CO; JP Porcaro, librarian for acquisitions and technological discovery at New Jersey City University Library, Jersey City, NJ; and Julie Todaro, dean of library services at Austin Community College, TX—have given their responses below.

Update: Librarians Embroiled in Lawsuit Alleging Sexual Harassment

In a Statement of Claim dated July 15, 2014, Joe Murphy—a 2009 LJ Mover & Shaker—named librarians nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed in Toronto, Ontario (de jesus is a Canadian citizen). Murphy is suing the two for $1.25 million in damages–$1 million for general defamation, and $250,000 for aggravated exemplary and punitive damages. On March 25, 2015, de jesus and Rabey both published retractions and apologies to the Team Harpy website, which had previously hosted their joint legal defense fund, as well as to their personal blogs and Twitter accounts.

Barbara Stripling on Seeing the Big Picture

Barbara Stripling Portrait

Barbara Stripling has served as assistant professor of practice at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies since 2012, and was recently promoted to senior associate dean. Stripling also served as president of the American Library Association (ALA) from 2013–14, where she initiated a number of programs that reflected her commitment to library advocacy. These included the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the proactive public awareness initiative Libraries Change Lives, which culminated in the “Declaration for the Right to Libraries”—a statement testifying to the power and value of libraries that was signed by advocates nationwide.