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ALA Annual Conference Hat Trick

July 20, 2015
Short Title
ALA Annual Conference Hat Trick

Librarians who wear a programming “hat” can enjoy these highlights from ALA 2015.

The ALA Annual Conference always has a lot of session options to choose from. Librarians wear many hats, so sometimes it’s difficult to choose which one to wear at conference. If you were or were not at conference and missed something geared toward programming librarians, you’re in luck. Here’s my hat trick (top three) for you to try on for size.

'Beret' punchy: How Much Punch Does that Program Pack?

At this program, each librarian panelist shared his or her experience with program assessment. Edmonton Public Library’s Linda Garvin said, "Create a framework for your programming. Set your objectives for each program: new, old and recurring. Who is this for? What will it change? What resources will it take? What’s the degree of achievement?" Sarah Searles of Knox County Schools told the audience, “Measure what you value, and then build an instrument to find it.” Janie Hermann of the Princeton Public Library explained her team exercise,“Pause, Play, Rewind,” she uses to evaluate each ongoing program for effectiveness. "Pause" means it might be time to let it go; "play" means the program should continue on; "rewind" means it needs to be reviewed and improved. Kathy Webb of the University of Dayton discussed her library’s 2014 rare book program, Imprints and Impressions, noting that at least one course and one faculty member are involved for each library exhibit or program.

Hat tip to PLIG

The Programming Librarian Interest Group (PLIG) is a force to be reckoned with. This dynamic group has a great Facebook group of more than 2,700 programming librarians who network and share ideas. PLIG hosts two events at each conference (even at Midwinter) — an interest group meeting and a pancake breakfast. In San Francisco, interest group attendees were split up by their type of library (public system with branches, single libraries and special/academic). This way, attendees could discuss ideas that worked for a similar type of library. If you missed PLIG this time, join the Facebook group if you haven’t already, and look for its program announcements and Facebook events for the pancake breakfasts at upcoming ALA conferences.

Hold on to your hat

This upcoming year may get programming librarians noticed for their creative approaches to redefining their library spaces and services. ALA President Sari Feldman announced her goals to “refresh the image of the library profession to support professional recruitment and energize tenured professionals” and highlight the contemporary work of librarians (source). At ALA Annual 2016 in Orlando, Fla., attendees can look forward to a fundraiser benefiting ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund (CCF) — an endowment to support cultural programming in libraries — and even more sessions exploring programming in libraries.

Hats off to ALA and all presenters for another great conference! 

ALA Annual Conference banner logo
Library Type
Academic / College
School (K-12)
Job Functions
Resources and Program Starters
Program Evaluation
Programming Librarian Forum