The American Library Association Annual Conference
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Major themes that resonated throughout the conference included book bans and censorship; issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion; examples of successful library programming during the pandemic; library funding strategies; patron and library worker safety; information access; and technology trends and challenges.
The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with 49,727 members as of 2021.
In 1967, some librarians protested against a pro-Vietnam War speech given by General Maxwell D. Taylor at the annual ALA conference in San Francisco; the former president of Sarah Lawrence College, Harold Taylor, spoke to the Middle-Atlantic Regional Library Conference about socially responsible professionalism; and less than one year later a group of librarians proposed that the ALA schedule a new round table program discussion on the social responsibilities of librarians at its next annual conference in Kansas City. This group called themselves the Organizing Committee for the ALA Round Table on Social Responsibilities of Libraries. This group drew in many other under-represented groups in the ALA who lacked power, including the Congress for Change in 1969. This formation of the committee was approved in 1969 and would change its name to the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) in 1971. After its inception, the Round Table of Social Responsibilities began to press ALA leadership to address issues such as library unions, working conditions, wages, and intellectual freedom. The Freedom to Read Foundation was created by ALA's executive board in 1969. The Black Caucus of the ALA and the Office for Literacy and Outreach were set up in 1970.
The official purpose of the association is "to promote library service and librarianship." Members may join one or more of eleven membership divisions that deal with specialized topics such as academic, school, or public libraries, technical or reference services, and library administration. Members may also join any of seventeen round tables that are grouped around more specific interests and issues than the broader set of ALA divisions.
The ALA is affiliated with regional, state, and student chapters (SCALA) across the country. It organizes conferences, participates in library standards development, and publishes a number of books and periodicals. The ALA publishes the magazines American Libraries and Booklist. The Graphics Program creates and distributes products that promote libraries, literacy and reading. Along with other organizations, it sponsors the annual Banned Books Week the last week of September. Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) also sponsors Teen Read Week, the third week of each October, and Teen Tech Week, the second week of each March. In addition, the ALA helps to promote diversity in the library profession with various outreach activities, including the Spectrum Scholarship program, which awards academic scholarships to minority library students each year. Additionally, the ALA's Office for Library Advocacy has an initiative called I Love Libraries, also known as ilovelibraries, which attempts to "spread the world about the value of today's libraries," promotes value of librarians and libraries, explains key library issues, and "urges readers to support and take action for their libraries."
The ALA helps to provide a total of 29 scholarships (over $300,000 annually), a list of which can be found on their website. National Library Week, the second week of each April, is a national observance sponsored by the ALA since 1958. Libraries across the country celebrate library resources, library champions and promote public outreach.
The annual awards roster includes the John Cotton Dana Award for excellence in library public relations, and the ''I Love My Librarian'' award in concert with the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York and the New York Public Library.
The ALA and its divisions hold numerous conferences throughout the year. The two largest conferences are the annual conference and the midwinter meeting. The latter is typically held in January and focused on internal business, while the annual conference is typically held in June and focused on exhibits and presentations. The ALA annual conference is notable for being one of the largest professional conferences in existence, typically drawing over 25,000 attendees.
In 2020, Wanda Kay Brown was the first president in 75 years under whom the Annual Conference, scheduled for Chicago in June 2020, was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a press release about cancellation of the conference, Brown stated: "ALA's priority is the health and safety of the library community, including our members, staff, supporters, vendors and volunteers."
Join IMLS Director Crosby Kemper; Cyndee Landrum, Deputy Director, Office of Library Services; Anthony Smith, Associate Deputy Director, Office of Library Services, Discretionary Programs; Teri DeVoe, Associate Deputy Director - State Programs, and other IMLS staff during the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Washington, DC June 23-28, 2022.
2022 ALA ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION: The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, founded on October 6, 1876. The ALA organizes one of the largest professional conferences in existence, the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition.
The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, founded on October 6, 1876. The ALA organizes one of the largest professional conferences in existence, the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition.
The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, providing association information, news, events, and advocacy resources for members, librarians, and library users.
ELI President Rob Herndon attended the American Library Association (ALA) Conference in Washington D.C. on June 22nd and 23rd at the invitation of Duncan Smith. Duncan, who is one of the founders of NovelList, is also an Ice House Facilitator and Chief of Strategy for Public Libraries for EBSCO. ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world. With a mission of enhancing learning and ensuring access to information to all, they are at the forefront of helping librarians transform libraries to keep pace with the needs of their constituents.
First piloted in the fall of 2016, the Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Office for Library Advocacy continue to offer Intellectual Freedom and Advocacy Boot Camp at pre-conferences around the country in cooperation with library chapters. Four Advocacy Boot Camps have taken place in 2017, and five are slotted for the fall of 2017. Led by OIF Director James LaRue and OLA Director Marci Merola, the training sessions present the four new, key messages of ALA:
During this time of political turmoil, pandemic fatigue, and community divisiveness, library workers are struggling to help their communities navigate tough topics. In order to address this growing and ongoing need, Clinton-Macomb P