November 17, 2017

Between Pressure & Promise: Where hyperlocal meets the big picture | Editorial

Trend watching is always fun, but it becomes an annual exercise when the New Year arrives and outfits large and small seize the moment to attempt to encapsulate the forces at work in their spheres. With the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting held so early this year, the 2016 trends deep dive dovetailed, for me, with the many conversations I had in Boston, which as usual ranged from essentially functional to highly aspirational, pinging between today’s pressures and tomorrow’s promise. It struck me that our collective work balances in that space, sometimes more precariously than others.

ALA President, Treasurer Candidates Speak Out | ALA Midwinter 2016

American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting attendees were presented with a slate of strong contenders from both public and academic libraries at the ALA 2017–18 Presidential and Treasurer Candidates’ Forum on Saturday evening, January 9. Presidential candidates Christine Lind Hage, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, and James G. Neal, as well as treasurer candidate Susan H. Hildreth, presented their platforms and discussed their stances on topics that will affect ALA in the months and years to come: investments; international outreach; the development of a leadership pipeline; the proposed name change for the Office for Literacy, Diversity, and Outreach Services; and work with the Freedom to Read Foundation. In particular, candidates highlighted their visions for ALA’s three current strategic directions: advocacy, information policy, and professional and leadership development.

Knight Foundation Launches Second News Challenge on Libraries | ALA Midwinter 2016

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (KF) kicked off the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Boston on the morning of January 10 with a session announcing its second News Challenge on Libraries. The challenge, which launches February 24, will address the question “How might libraries serve 21st century information needs?” Winners will receive a share of $3 million in funding toward their projects. In addition, a select number of projects will be considered for the Knight Prototype Fund.

Aspen Institute Releases New Action Guide for Public Libraries | ALA Midwinter 2016

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries (DPL) unveiled its newest publication at a session at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting. The Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library, a set of resources to be used in connection with DPL’s report Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, was released simultaneously with the session on January 10. On hand to launch the Action Guide were DPL director Amy Garmer; DPL advisor (and ALA past president) Maureen Sullivan; and John Palfrey, author of the recent BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More than Ever in the Age of Google (Basic Books) and a 2011 LJ Mover & Shaker (among many other roles).

Ready for the Next Phase | ALA Midwinter 2016

The American Library Association’s (ALA) 2016 Midwinter Meeting, held January 8–12 in Boston, was pleasingly free of snow—even if the temperature did fluctuate enough, from nearly 60 rainy degrees on Sunday to well below freezing Monday evening, to make packing light impossible. But weather uncertainties took a back seat to the overwhelming atmosphere of positivity at the Boston Convention Center and Exhibition Center and surrounding venues during Midwinter’s 2,400 scheduled meetings and events. There was a strong sense among attendees, panelists, ALA officials, and exhibitors of libraries being poised to step into the next phase—whatever that might be. Below are some of the event’s highlights; more detailed coverage will follow.