2015 ALA Midwinter Preview

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January 2, 2015

2015 ALA Midwinter Preview

Carl Sandburg famously dubbed Chicago “City of the Big Shoulders” in a 1916 poem. The poem goes on to say, “Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive … and strong and cunning.”

Sandburg could have been talking about librarians.

As societal and technological shifts continue to influence (and create gaps in) who has access to information and how, librarians’ roles as the bridges connecting different and diverse communities to relevant resources becomes more prominent. Big shoulders indeed.

Librarians from around the world will arrive in Chicago for the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits, January 30–February 2, to discuss the changing landscape, the future of their profession, and its impact on the communities they serve.

Turning outward

Saturday, January 31. Four stand-alone “Turning Outward to Lead Change in Your Community” hands-on sessions—Aspirations (8:30 a.m.), Turn Quiz (10:30 a.m.), Intentionality (1 p.m.), and Sustaining Yourself (3 p.m.)—offer a chance to learn how to leverage your trusted position in the community to engage people on what matters to them. Each session, led by Harwood Institute coaches, focuses on one tool; taken together, they become a framework for engaging community and leading change. To access the tools that will be used and for more information about the program, visit ala.org/LTC.

Ignite Sessions

Saturday to Monday, January 31–February 2, noon–12:30 p.m. For the first time, ALA will offer Ignite Sessions at Midwinter. These five-minute presentations are accompanied by 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds. Six sessions each day cover topics from effective web writing and geek culture to diversifying youth collections and creating viral content. Visit bit.ly/alamw15ignite to see a full lineup of all 18 sessions.

All about those books

Sunday, February 1, 5–6:30 p.m. Celebrate the best in adult literature with Margaret Hawkins (Lydia’s Party) at the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) Book and Media Awards. RUSA’s advisory committees reveal their selections for the Reading List and Listen List, and the winners of the Dartmouth Medal for reference, Sophie Brody Medal for Jewish literature, Zora Neale Hurston Award for achievement in promoting African-American literature, and Louis Shores Award for book reviewing. Follow #literarytastes for the latest updates.

Monday, February 2, 8–9 a.m. Every year, committees of librarians and media experts dedicate themselves to selecting the winners of the Youth Media Awards, which honor books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. Winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King are among the prestigious awards and medals that will be announced. Follow results in real time via #alayma or live webcast. Visit ILoveLibraries.org for more information.

Monday, February 2, 2–4 p.m. Authors Elizabeth Berg (The Dream Lover, Random House), Steve Berry (The Patriot Threat, Macmillan), Marja Mills (The Mockingbird Next Door, Penguin), Thomas Perry (A String of Beads, Perseus), and Marisa de los Santos (The Precious One, HarperCollins) discuss their writing and forthcoming books at the United for Libraries Gala Author Tea, sponsored by ReferenceUSA. Enjoy a light offering of tea, finger sandwiches, and sweets, followed by a book signing. Tickets: $60 in advance ($55 United for Libraries members), $65 onsite.

President’s Program

Sunday, February 1, 3:30–5:30 p.m. Join ALA President Courtney L.Young as she welcomes Mick Ebeling, author of Not Impossible: The Art and the Joy of Doing What Couldn’t Be Done (Atria Books, January 2015), as her Midwinter President’s Program speaker. Ebeling, founder of Not Impossible Labs and the award-winning international production company and creative think tank The Ebeling Group, explains how people can change the world through simple, DIY technologies that promote access.

Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture

Saturday, January 31, 4–5 p.m. Award-winning human rights activist and bestselling author Ayaan Hirsi Ali shares her belief that an Islamic Reformation—referenced in her book Heretic (HarperCollins, March 2015)—is the only way to end the current wave of global violence and repression of women associated with the religion. Hirsi Ali fled her native Somalia for the Netherlands in 1992, where she went from cleaning factories to winning a seat in the Dutch Parliament. Currently a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2005.

Auditorium Speakers

Sunday, February 1, 10–11 a.m. Children’s literacy advocate, actor, and producer LeVar Burton discusses his recent work developing innovative children’s educational media. The former host of Reading Rainbow has reimagined the PBS series through his company RRKidz’s award-winning mobile library, as well as with the creation of a Reading Rainbow educational app. He also recently published his first children’s book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, a picture book written with poet Susan Schaefer Bernardo and illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher.

MLK Jr. Sunrise Celebration

Monday, February 2, 6:30–7:30 a.m. Internationally renowned activist Cornel West, author of Race Matters and Democracy Matters, will keynote the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration, which commemorates King’s legacy and recognizes the connection between his life’s work and the library world.

ALA Masters Series

Hear experts from across library specialties describe their latest in-house innovations. Grab lunch and join these 45-minute sessions to get insights into the hottest trends and how librarians are embracing them.

Saturday, January 31, 11:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m. In “Start a Revolution: Stop Acting Like a Library,” Ben Bizzle will describe the award-winning marketing strategy developed by the team at Craighead County Jonesboro (Ark.) Public Library to better serve its community, increase public awareness, and change the perception of the library as an antiquated institution.

Sunday, February 1, 11:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Mechanic institutes, hackerspaces, makerspaces, techshops, incubators, accelerators, and centers of social enterprise. Where do libraries fit in? Mita Williams, librarian at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, and founder of Hackforge, a community-driven hackerspace that got its start in the front room of the Windsor Public Library, provides a field guide to these new spaces.

Monday, February 2, 11:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m. The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project, a librarian-created space for quality indie/self-published books, was created in 2013 to demonstrate the power of libraries to influence readers. The project encourages library collaboration to discover new good reads among the thousands of books self-published each year. In this session, Donna Fletcher, Denise Raleigh, Julie Stam, and Lucy Tarabour discuss how to get this cutting-edge project started in your community.

ERT/Booklist Author Forum

Friday, January 30, 4–5 p.m. Join Booklist Associate Editor Sarah Hunter and Eva Volin, supervising children’s librarian for Alameda (Calif.) Free Library, as they dig into graphic novels with four of the genre’s most popular authors and artists: Cece Bell, Françoise Mouly, Jeff Smith, and Gene Luen Yang.

Bell has written and illustrated several books for children, including the Geisel Honor book Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover, Itty Bitty, Bee-Wigged, and the Sock Monkey series. In her recent graphic novel/memoir, El Deafo (Abrams, September 2014), Bell shares what it is like to grow up deaf.

Mouly is art director at the New Yorker and is also publisher and editorial director of Toon Books, an imprint of comics and visual narratives for young readers. She co-founded the comics anthology Raw, the New York Times bestselling Little Lit series, and the Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics.

Cartoonist Smith is best known as the creator of the award-winning, New York Times bestselling comic book series Bone. A board member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Smith guest-edited the anthology The Best American Comics 2013 and is creator of Tüki and RASL. His other books include Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil and the 2009 Geisel Honor recipient Little Mouse Gets Ready.

Yang’s first book, American Born Chinese, won the 2007 Printz Award and was a National Book Award finalist. His other works include the popular comics adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the New York Times bestselling graphic novel diptych Boxers & Saints—also a 2013 National Book Award finalist. The Shadow Hero, the story of the first Asian-American superhero, is Yang’s most recent graphic novel.

Looking ahead

Saturday, January 31, 8:30–10 a.m. Explore new ideas and interact with YOUmedia and Chicago Public Library staff members at Partnering Strategically to Reach Beyond Library Walls, an interactive panel discussion put on by the Young Adult Library Services Administration (YALSA) that highlights YOUmedia and CPL’s partnership strategies and projects.

Saturday, January 31, 8:30–10 a.m. Get an overview of the online user-centered resource, the Social Justice Collaboratorium (SJC), that ALA Spectrum Doctoral Fellows are developing at Illuminating Pathways between Social Justice Issues and LIS, along with an ALISE poster session. Follow it up with a conversation about how people approach social justice and its role and relationship to LIS, and participate in a discussion of model initiatives.

Saturday, January 31, 3:30–5:30 p.m. In the RUSA Leadership Development and Speed Mentoring session, MLS students, new librarians, and mid-career librarians are invited to participate in a session (similar to “speed dating”) where they will have the opportunity to gain leadership advice from a number of senior librarians and RUSA leaders.

Sunday, February 1, 10:30–11:30 a.m. Learn about the latest outcomes from the Public Library Association’s (PLA) performance measurement task force at Performance Outcome Measures for Public Libraries. Task force members will share early results and best practices from survey implementation tests. You’ll also find out about next steps and how your library can get involved.

Sunday, February 1, 10:30–11:30 a.m. In Robots, Superheroes, and Squirrel Missions: Conquer the Factors Affecting Reading Ability in School-Aged Children, hear what can happen when a school library and its public counterpart share objectives and a single vision, shape a joint strategy, and leverage resources, data, and the child’s own interests.

Sunday, February 1, 1–2:30 p.m. Join Jorge Reina Schement, vice president for institutional diversity and inclusion at Rutgers University and former dean of the School of Communications and Information, and Nancy Kranich, lecturer and special projects librarian at Rutgers University and chair of the ALA Center for Civic Life, as they lead a Conversation on Diversity and Inclusion topics.

Sunday, February 1, 1–2:30 p.m. Learn more about ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy’s (OITP) Policy Revolution! initiative in What Is a Policy Revolution! anyway? and discuss a preliminary policy agenda and how it relates to the Association’s overall strategy.

Sunday, February 1, 1–2:30 p.m. Get up to speed at the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Update on Value of Academic Libraries Initiative. This session includes a special focus on results of the first year of the project “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success,” which is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Monday, February 2, 8:30–10 a.m. At How to Foresee the Future(s): Learning with AAM’s Center for the Future of Museums, Elizabeth Merritt, founding director of the American Alliance of Museums’ Center for the Future of Museums, gives an overview of how forecasting has helped museums adapt to a changing world. This will be followed by a discussion of ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries.

Monday, February 2, 3–4 p.m. Samantha Adams Becker, the New Media Consortium’s lead writer/researcher of the NMC Horizon Report series, explores the future landscape of academic and research library technology use in On the Horizon: Pressing Technologies, Trends, Challenges for Libraries.

ThinkFit Zumba

Saturday, January 31, 7–8 a.m. Join in for an hour of good, clean, exhilarating fun as certified instructors mix low- and high-intensity moves for a calorie-burning dance fitness party. Tickets: $15 in advance ($20 onsite).


Saturday, January 31, 6–8 p.m. Make new friends and reconnect with old ones at the ALA–Allied Professional Association’s (ALA-APA) Networking Reception and Fundraiser. Proceeds from the event support “the mutual professional interests of librarians and other library workers” through research, advocacy, and enabling the certification of individuals in specializations beyond the initial professional degree. Tickets: $50.

Wrap Up/Rev Up

Monday, February 2, 2–3 p.m. Enjoy some jazz with Grammy-nominated trombone and trumpet player Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and his band Orleans Avenue at the Wrap Up/Rev Up. Award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier also joins Andrews to discuss Trombone Shorty (Abrams, April 2015), a lively picture book autobiography of the musician on which they collaborated.

Emerging Leaders workshop

Friday, January 30. This year’s class of Emerging Leaders (EL) launches a year of action with a full-day workshop focused on leadership development. Members of the EL program represent the best new librarians in the field, and many are sponsored by an ALA division, office, round table, ethnic caucus, or state association. The new class will select their projects and begin planning the rest of their EL year.

Institutes for Professional Development

Topical Pre-Midwinter Institutes and symposia offered by ALA divisions, offices, and round tables cover key areas, from online learning and web applications to advocacy and career development. Visit alamidwinter.org/ticketedevents for more information.

ALA JobLIST Placement Center

Saturday and Sunday, January 31–February 1, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sponsored by ALA’s Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment. Job seekers and potential employers can preregister and learn more at joblist.ala.org/placementcenter.cfm.

Put it all together

Make connections at the Networking Uncommons, a dedicated area at the convention center where you can have a quick meeting, polish presentations, follow up on discussions, or just recharge. Free Wi-Fi, a projector and screen, and various multimedia gadgets help push content out in real time. Sign up for a time slot or just show up.

Monday, February 2, 3–4 p.m. End your Midwinter experience at Library Camp. Discuss anything library or conference related, with a focus on reflecting on what inspired you. Come prepared to share your experiences or lead a discussion on a topic of your choice. Everyone is welcome.

In the Exhibit Hall

With more than 450 exhibitors offering the latest in products and services for every type of library, pavilions dedicated to niche areas, and stages featuring the hottest authors, the exhibit hall is central to the learning and networking at Midwinter.

Exhibit hall visitors can explore the breadth and depth of library products, services, books, and online services, as well as the tools and technologies available for today’s libraries. See a full list of exhibitors at alamidwinter.org/exhibitors.


Friday, January 30, 5:30–7 p.m.

Saturday, January 31, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Sunday, February 1, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Monday, February 2, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.


Saturday and Sunday, January 31–February 1, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; and Monday, February 2, 9:30–10:30 a.m. Pick up the latest trends in publishing in one convenient place in the exhibit hall. Visit alamidwinter.org/node/14031 for a complete list of participating publishers.


The popular PopTop Stage features readings, discussions, and presentations, with a book signing after each event. For a full schedule and the most up-to-date information, visit alamidwinter.org/node/25193.

Saturday, January 31, 10–11 a.m. Danielle Paige, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die, moderates “Diverse Debuts: Writing Stories for Us All,” a panel discussion with authors about how their books add to the diversity of children’s literature.

Sunday, February 1, noon–1 p.m. Calling all Star Wars fans: Hear from Jeffrey Brown, Eisner Award–winning artist and author of New York Times bestsellers Goodnight Darth Vader, Darth Vader and Son, and Vader’s Little Princess, as well as Darth Vader and Friends.


Heating up the exhibit floor with mouth-watering displays of the latest cookbooks, chefs will be on hand to prepare the hottest recipes on the Demonstration Stage and to autograph their books. See the full lineup at alamidwinter.org/node/25194.

Saturday, January 31, 10:30–11:30 a.m. In her latest cookbook, Indian for Everyone, Anupy Singla takes the most popular Indian recipes and shows how to make them healthier, lighter, and even vegan or gluten free.

Sunday, February 1, 10:30–11:30 a.m. Join barbecue aficionado Gary Wiviott and Colleen Rush, author of The Mere Mortal’s Guide to Fine Dining: From Salad Forks to Sommeliers, How to Eat and Drink in Style Without Fear of Faux Pas, for “Low and Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in Five Easy Lessons.”


Friday, January 30, 5:30–7 p.m. The Grand Opening reception will be inside the exhibit hall. Attendees can start Wrap Up/Rev Up celebrations any time on Monday in the exhibit hall with discount sales and special giveaways at exhibitors’ booths.

News You Can Use

Get the latest updates on policy, research, statistics, and technology based on new research, surveys, reports, legislation/regulation, projects, beta trials, and focus groups at these sessions.

Join the Unconference on Friday, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. The facilitated conversations and discussion groups meet from Saturday to Monday. Ask questions, explore options, make recommendations, and examine ideas at Library Camp on Monday, then reflect on the implications or follow up with a small-group discussion in the Networking Uncommons.

Saturday, January 31, from 8:30–10:00 a.m. During the ALA Washington Office Update: Whither Washington: The 2014 Election and What It Means for Libraries, a panel of experts explores the implications of the midterm elections for America, libraries, and library advocacy.

Saturday, January 31, 10:30–11:30 a.m. ALA’s Offices for Intellectual Freedom and Library Advocacy, Public Information Office, and the Washington Office partner with all 12 ALA divisions to present An Hour a Week: Library Advocacy Is Easy!!! The session will take the mystery out of just what “advocacy” means, how to do it, and how to have fun along the way.

Saturday, January 31, 1–2:30 p.m. Digital Public Library of America Assistant Director for Content Amy Rudersdorf presents an Update on DPLA. She will highlight its progress after two years, discuss upcoming initiatives, and provide information about how libraries and librarians can join the DPLA community and network.

Saturday, January 31, 1–2:30 p.m. Speakers at the Women in Geekdom panel will discuss their own areas of pop-nerd culture as well as ideas about how librarians can reach out to geeks in their community through science, comics, STEM and technology, and pop culture and fandom.

Sunday, February 1, 8:30–10 a.m. Join moderator Candice Mack of Los Angeles Public Library for 275 Degrees of Innovation: Online High School Diplomas @ Your Library. Speakers discuss what Career Online High School is, how and why they implemented it, what they’re learning, and what this might mean for your community. (Read AL’s feature on COHS starting on page 34.)

Sunday, February 1, 10:30–11:30 a.m. Expert panelists describe advances in technology that they see impacting the library world, and suggest what libraries might do to take advantage of these trends at LITA’s Top Technology Trends.

Sunday, February 1, 10:30–11:30 a.m. Leaders of ALA’s Digital Content and Libraries Working Group and a panel of library and publishing experts discuss the ebook lending market and how libraries can connect authors and readers at ALA DCWG: Libraries and Ebooks—Where Do We Go from Here?

Sunday, February 1, 1–2:30 p.m. At Diversity Matters: Stepping It Up with Action! participants focus on key issues in diversity, children’s books, and librarianship. Attendees share practical strategies, real examples, and tangible ideas they have successfully employed for increasing diversity awareness within the publishing and library communities.

Business and Financial Meetings


  • 8:30–11 a.m., ALA Executive Board Meeting I
  • 11 a.m.–noon, ALA-APA Board of Directors
  • Noon–1:30 p.m., BARC/Finance and Audit Committee Joint Meeting


  • 8–10:30 a.m., Council Orientation Session
  • 11 a.m.–noon, Finance and Audit Committee Meeting
  • Noon–1 p.m., BARC Meeting
  • 3–4:30 p.m., ALA Council/Executive Board/ Membership Information Session
  • 4:30–5:30 p.m., Presidential Candidates’ Forum


  • 8:30–11 a.m., ALA Council I
  • 11–11:30 a.m., ALA-APA Information Session and Council
  • 1–2:30 p.m., Planning and Budget Assembly
  • 2:30–3:30 p.m., BARC/Division Leaders Joint Meeting


  • 7:30–9:30 a.m., Finance and Audit Committee with Auditors
  • 10 a.m.–12:15 p.m., ALA Council II
  • 12:30–1:30 p.m., Executive Board Candidates Forum
  • 2–4:30 p.m., ALA Executive Board II


  • 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., ALA Council III
  • 1:30–4:30 p.m., ALA Executive Board III

Stay Connected

Not sure where to start your Midwinter experience? Check out our What is there for me at Midwinter? flowchart!



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