Our Picks for ALA Virtual 2020

ALA Virtual is quickly approaching! The online conference will host headliners such as Misty Copeland, Sophia Thakur and Natalie Portman, and offer plenty of educational programming, special author events, and social networking. Register here today.

Below are some of our top picks for programming-related offerings. What’s on your conference schedule? Share your suggestions in the comments.


Wednesday, June 24

Treasure Hunters at Libraries? Why Not!! (CALA LIVE)

11:15 a.m – 12 p.m

Major retailers use “Treasure Hunts” to encourage customers to visit their stores as often as possible, and it’s a tried and true method! Libraries across the nation are using a similar concept to get their communities excited about their services by offering many different programs targeting different audiences.

In order to promote their events, libraries have been taking their programs on the road, to the street, and into schools. Some even offer pop-up programs in the library open space, such as in the plaza of library building, or the entry hall of the library floor. These various unconventional library programs prove to be very effective and are helping libraries become “the cool place” to be.

Serving the Transgender Community: It’s More Than Just Bathrooms!

1:30 p.m – 2:15 p.m

Panelists will explore their experiences and knowledge in providing services for the transgender community at their libraries. Firstly, panelists will discuss how they established a need for transgender programs and services in their community. Next, the panel will cover the different programs, services, and outreach they provide to their communities. Panelists will also discuss their experiences as transgender librarians and how this has helped them with providing services.

Time will be given at the end of the program for attendees to ask questions of the panelists regarding their experiences serving the transgender community.

Thursday, June 25

Herstory through Activism: Women, Libraries, and Activism

10 a.m – 10:45 a.m

In honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and the 50th anniversary of ALA’s Feminist Task Force, this panel presentation will look at the intersections and relationships between women, libraries, and activism. From early literary clubs to today’s radical feminists, libraries have always been a haven for both women and activists. Hear “herstory” from a diverse group of librarians and learn more about how this relationship developed and grew into today’s current activism. See how far we’ve come and what else is left to do. 

Out-Doing Outreach in a Post Covid-19 World (ABOS LIVE)

10 a.m – 10:45 a.m

Out-Doing Outreach in a Post Covid-19 World will help attendees understand the meaning of outreach and how it affects libraries and their communities. ABOS has a history rich in the mentoring of those working outside the mortar walls of the library. Are you part of the Outreach or Bookmobile department at your library? Are you looking to start an Outreach department? Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a discussion on the current practices of outreach, what is working and what could be improved. Strategies for making the most of your department will be discussed by the presenter. You will leave this session with renewed enthusiasm for your outreach profession and the knowledge that there is a national organization dedicated to those in the Bookmobile and Outreach Services field.

Working with Subject Matter Experts in YOUR Community – Promising Practices and Where to Start

11:15 a.m – 12 p.m

The STAR Library Network, as part of the Space Science Institute’s NASA@ My Library Program, is excited to share lessons learned working with Subject Matter Experts from NASA, universities, schools and other organizations. What is a Subject Matter Expert? It’s someone in YOUR neighborhood who loves a particular topic. A Night Sky Ambassador who wants to share the night sky with your patrons. A geologist who wants to let you display their rock collection. Or even a retired engineer who worked on the Apollo mission and wants to chat! Learn how to take advantage of these (often free!) community resources in this session.

The STAR Net team will introduce its successful Community Dialogue Framework, a tool to learn more about your community, and the community members who want to work with you. We’ll also hear from libraries who have successfully worked with community members on programming, and get a taste of a new virtual scientist program that you could start in your library!

Are the Kids Okay? How Librarians Can Use Literature to Help Kids Navigate Socioemotional Stress

1:15 p.m – 2 p.m

In an age of rising teen anxiety and stress, as librarians, we turn to what we know best-- our books. Together with authors and with mental health professionals, librarians are uniquely positioned to offer a haven of socio-emotional learning through programming, a safe and inviting atmosphere and opportunities to reflect upon self and look into the windows of others, growing empathy, community and understanding that transcends the walls of the classroom.

Examples of highlighted student learning opportunities include the use of a school-wide student and faculty book club paired with authors to discuss mental health and diversity within YA literature and the connections to teens’ daily realities, the collaboration of library and school groups to perform needs assessment surveys through CMS channels and then the development of student focus and discussion groups to build community and promote awareness and action and continuous programming in the library that provides students with opportunities to both reach out to others and dial into self. Outreach opportunities include “Stall Street Journals” with a library corner that promotes books and community connections relative to spotlighted issues and concerns.

Enhancing Our Communities: Tribal Libraries Innovating to Expand Services

1:15 p.m – 2 p.m

Tribal Libraries serve their communities in a wide variety of ways. These libraries may be public, college, school, special, or a combination. As Tribes are sovereign nations, each determines how its library operates and what roles it serves, but all provide vital services. As operating budgets are often limited, IMLS Enhancement Grants provide an opportunity to expand services through projects focused on programs, collections, digitization, Tribal history and culture, and more. Attendees will learn about several Enhancement Grant projects that showcase the innovative and culturally appropriate ways in which Tribal library workers are making the most of these federal dollars.

"Lightning Talks: Libraries Fostering Community Resilience during COVID-19" (SustainRT LIVE)

4 p.m – 4:45 p.m

Short presentations on how libraries are helping to build the resiliency of the communities they serve during the COVID-19 crisis.

Friday, June 26

Twitch & Discord in Public Libraries: New Opportunities for Adult Services

11:15 a.m – 12 p.m

The intersection of streaming platforms and participatory online media along with the idea of users as content creators are factors that have driven the development of live stream gaming from a niche subculture into the mainstream. Twitch and Discord are part of a larger trend of the greater popularity of eSports and gaming among adults. These platforms can also be used as tools for connecting with targeted segments within the larger communities that public libraries serve, enhancing community engagement, programming, and services.

Twitch and Discord can also be used to support libraries’ vocational and academic educational outcomes. This session will present examples of how both platforms are used currently in libraries and emerging best practices in libraries.

Juntos: Latinx Family Engagement at Your Library

12:15 p.m – 1 p.m

It’s crucial for Youth Services Library Para-Professionals and Librarians to support life-long learning by constantly developing cultural awareness and understanding of how diverse and rich is the Latino community. By removing any barriers based on a young library patron’s socioeconomic status, education, literacy-related barriers, language, gender, ability, and diversities, Latino families could support their children’s learning from birth through their teenage years and thrive within their communities.

During this speaking engagement, you will learn about common misconceptions often incorporated or displayed in programming, attain ideas on various culturally enriching programming, and hear how Librarians are currently implementing Latino Family Engagement at their libraries and within their serving communities.