The opening general session of this year’s American Library Association (ALA) conference in San Francisco was a victory celebration, thanks largely to ALA’s luck and planning 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 appearance into so much more than a speech. While Sunday’s Pride Parade added logistical complications to travel, the mood was gala, with many of the 15,883 attendees and 6,813 exhibitors popping over to see the scene or participate. Total attendance was up by almost 3,000 compared with the 2014 annual conference in Las Vegas.
News from the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeeting
Early results from two Knight News Challenge award-funded pilot programs indicate that mobile hotspot lending could help bridge the digital divide in city neighborhoods where broadband adoption is low, and home Internet subscriptions are considered a luxury. A capacity crowd was on hand to hear Luke Swarthout, director of adult education services for the New York Public Library (NYPL) and Michelle Frisque, chief of technology content and innovation for Chicago Public Library (CPL) discuss NYPL’s “Check Out the Internet” and CPL’s “Internet to Go” services during their “A Tale of Two Cities: NYPL and CPL Wi-Fi Lending Projects” presentation.
While it has always fallen to libraries to preserve the historical record of the communities they serve, libraries also need to consider their own history—especially in light of the changing landscape they face. At the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, a panel of three authors whose recent books focus on private, public, and academic libraries spoke with moderator Barbara Hoffert, editor of LJ’s Prepub Alert, on Libraries and Book Collections as Essential Cultural Institutions: A Historical and Forward-Looking Perspective. The panelists discussed their own studies, and charged libraries to examine the cultural legacies of their own collections.
Librarians should not be afraid to discuss both positive and negative implications of collecting and analyzing patron data, library technology consultant Carson Block said during the Library and Information Technology Association’s (LITA) Top Tech Trends panel during the American Library Association’s Annual Conference on June 28. “We’ve limited ourselves by saying, ‘We don’t want to touch [the topic of data collection] because we might be infringing on patron confidentiality and privacy,’” he said. “I think that’s too simplistic of a view. I think, in fact, we have to embrace looking at data collection to serve our patrons…and protecting confidentiality and privacy. I think we’re the only organization[s] that really care about actually protecting that pile of data.”
At the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, ALA’s United for Libraries division presented a well-received session, Getting a Bigger Piece of the Pie: Effective Communication with Funders and Policy Makers. A panel of three experienced fundraisers talked about what is and isn’t working in their ongoing mission to help support their libraries, offering a range of good advice to library leaders and fundraisers at every level.
The use of video in higher education isn’t new, but the delivery method is changing. Streaming video offers access to important content and cutting-edge issues, and is easy to integrate into online courses. However, its recent popularity in the classroom—both on campus and for distance education—requires faculty, librarians, and distributors alike to learn a new set of rules. The American Library Association’s (ALA) Video Round Table hosted a session at the ALA Annual Conference to examine student and faculty engagement with streaming video, and the concerns surrounding it.
While the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) is largely concerned with policy on the legislative level, an OITP-sponsored program at ALA’s 2015 annual conference, Hacking the Culture of Learning in the Library, focused on what libraries themselves need to know to function as outside-the-school-walls learning zones. Moderator Christopher Harris, school library system director at Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and ALA OITP Fellow for Program on Youth and Technology Policy, began the interactive session by noting that public, school, and academic libraries have a great opportunity to frame a common theme to work around—Libraries Are Education—and set about exploring some of the issues at stake.
Every American Library Association (ALA) conference produces a bumper crop of news from the companies that serve libraryland, as each tends to time its biggest debuts to the event, and this year was no exception. Here’s an assortment of what we learned on the exhibit floor. Did we miss your news? Please add it in the comments!
The 2015 cohort of LJ’s Movers & Shakers celebrated with some of their compatriots from previous year’s during the American Library Association (ALA) Annual conference at a gala luncheon at San Francisco’s The Blue Mermaid. For those who couldn’t attend, or who want to see more of the Movers they met there, below are a few videos made by some of this year’s most innovative librarians highlighting why they were selected. Pop some popcorn and enjoy!
As proof positive that, even with their superior powers of observation and vision, librarians can’t predict the future, the planners for the American Library Association 2015 annual conference definitely underestimated how many people would be attending the program Look into the Crystal Ball: Future Directions for Higher Education and Academic Libraries, sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries University Libraries Section (ACRL ULS). Every seat was filled, as well as all available floor space, with attendees eager to hear the panel’s thoughts on what the future may hold for academic libraries.