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Conversation Starters, Ignite Sessions, and Poster Sessions Highlight Annual Conference Informal Education Offerings

Covering a huge range of timely topics, the 150 Poster Sessions, 19 Conversation Starters, and 18 Ignite Sessions for 2015 ALA Annual Conference offer special informal opportunities to hear the latest from your library colleagues on what is working in their libraries and beyond.

Poster Sessions include descriptions of innovative library programs, analyses of practical problem-solving efforts, reports of research studies, and more. During their assigned time slots, the poster creators informally discuss their presentations with conference attendees. These sessions will take place in the Exhibit Hall on Saturday, June 27 and Sunday June 28. Topics to be covered vary widely, including distance learning, trends and forecasting, transforming libraries, technology, emerging technologies, electronic resources, and international libraries.

Public voting for Conversation Starter talks and Ignite Sessions again tipped the balance in selecting the ones that showcase your colleagues’ newest passions and innovations during the 2015 Annual Conference. The emerging topics, trends, and innovations addressed range widely, including community engagement, youth services, technology, outreach services, popular culture, and games and gaming.

“Think Like a Project Manager, Act Like a Library Leader,” presented by Emily Clasper is added as a Conversation Starter Special Edition on Monday, June 29, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. This session was added to mark the proposal's exceptional 100% vote from all selection groups.

Conversation Starter talks are fast-paced 45-minute sessions intended to jumpstart conversations and highlight emerging topics and trends. Ignite speakers present for exactly five minutes on what they're most passionate about in the library world, and inspire the audience to join them. Each five-minute Ignite talk is accompanied by 20 slides, each displayed for 15 seconds, with slides advancing automatically. The sessions will be held throughout the conference in the Moscone Convention Center. The public votes counted for 30% of the selection process; staff votes accounted for another 30%; the remaining 40% came from an advisory group of ALA members.

Titles, descriptions, and times are available now and will be included in the conference scheduler (with locations) when it opens in mid-May.

Lead Positive Community Change in Your Community

Last chance to be trained in the acclaimed ‘turning outward’ approach at an ALA national conference

All communities have challenges. Libraries are uniquely positioned to help conquer them — given the right tools.

Join ALA and The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation at the 2015 Annual Conference on Saturday, June 27 for a series of four learning sessions to teach libraries to leverage their trusted position in the community to engage people on issues that matter.

“Turning Outward to Lead Change in Your Community” will demonstrate practical tools to aid in decision-making, facilitation and leadership. Each stand-alone session focuses on a single tool; taken together, they become a powerful framework for engaging community and leading change.

Attend one session or all four:

“Turning Outward to Lead Change in Your Community: Aspirations” (8:30 — 10:00 a.m.) will help libraries focus on community aspirations, identify next steps for change, and create an aspirations-based story for their community as a starting point for library action.

“Turning Outward to Lead Change in Your Community: Turn Quiz” (10:30 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.) will introduce librarians to the “Turn Quiz” tool, enabling them to assess the focus of their efforts in the community as they shift their orientation from internal to external.

“Turning Outward to Lead Change in Your Community: Intentionality” (1:00 — 2:30 p.m.) will enable participants to test the external orientation and mindfulness of their community engagement choices and decisions.

“Turning Outward to Lead Change in Your Community: Sustaining Yourself” (3:00 - 4:30 p.m.) will help librarians personally map the components that feed their motivation and commitment for community work.

All attendees will receive a free workbook, either print or digital, to continue the process back at home.

The community engagement techniques shared in LTC are based on the Harwood Institute's “turning outward” practice, which emphasizes shifting the institutional and professional orientation of libraries and librarians from internal to external.

The “Turning Outward” series has been offered at three previous ALA and Public Library Association (PLA) conferences since 2014, and trainings are taking place at state library associations around the country. Don't miss your chance to receive this training at an ALA national conference.

These sessions are offered as part of Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC), an ALA initiative that seeks to strengthen libraries’ roles as community leaders and change-agents by developing and distributing tools to help library professionals connect with their communities in new ways. The initiative is made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Learn more at

Azar Nafisi, a ward- winning and critically acclaimed author of the international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, speaks at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. (See pages 1-5 for more information about this year's Auditorium Speakers Series presenters).

Kitchen Table Conversations 2015: We Want to Hear from You About Membership!

We asked for your feedback, and we got it! The good: ALA is influential and great for networking. The not-so-good: We can be too complex, we're sometimes bureaucratic, and we send a lot of email.

Well, we heard you loud and clear, and we are working on it. Help us stay on track. Through a series of “kitchen table conversations” at the 2015 Annual Conference, attendees will gather to dig deeper into the ALA member experience. Topics may include joining and renewing, reducing email “chatter,” and making sure you get the information that matters most to you.

You do the talking; we'll be there to listen, learn, and then act. Please participate in the conversation and help us shape a new ALA together. Check the Scheduler for meeting times.

BIG IDEAS at the San Francisco Public Library - PLA Series Returns

On Friday, June 26 the Public Library Association (PLA) will present “PLA BIG IDEAS @ ALA Annual,” an ideal event for public library directors, deputy directors, and managers. An extension of the popular BIG IDEAS series at PLA Conference, this engaging day will feature dynamic speakers from outside the library world, including leadership expert, Jay Conger and creativity expert, Tina Seelig.

The day-long program is designed to be thought-provoking and fun! Take new (BIG!) ideas back to your library and make a difference in how you connect with your colleagues and your community. A networking lunch and after-reception are included in the cost of registration. The day will be hosted in the beautiful San Francisco Public Library and its Koret Auditorium.

Click here for more information or registration.

Start your Conference Off Right by Attending One of ASCLA's Preconferences

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) In Your Library. The training staff of the Pacific ADA Center has tailored this program for the specialized needs libraries face with ADA questions and issues. This preconference is ideal for library staff assigned as ADA coordinator for their library, or anyone else with an interest in the ADA. This preconference will take place from 9:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 26. Location to be announced. Read more. Register here.

Looking to the Future: Strategic Foresight and Scenario Planning.

This preconference will have maximum value for those interested in strategic planning, scenario planning, trend-spotting, futurism, and anticipating significant changes that lie ahead.

This preconference will take place from 9:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m. on Friday. Location to be announced. Read more. Register here.

The A to Z of RFPs: Writing, Responding, Evaluating, and Awarding Requests for Proposals

Gain a comprehensive understanding of the request for proposals (RFPs) process and life-cycle, from writing through awarding them. This preconference will take place from 8:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. on Friday. Location to be announced. Read more. Register here.

All of ASCLA's preconferences are valuable for library staff at any level of experience. No matter your area of interest, ASCLA offers something for everyone.