ATG Caught My Eye: The 2017 ALA Annual in the Windy City

by | Aug 8, 2017 | 0 comments

Attendance at this year’s ALA Annual Conference saw a significant surge over the less than stellar figures recorded at the 2016 meeting in Orlando.  ALA News reports that the 2017 ALA Annual held in Chicago “was attended by more than 22,700 librarians, library workers, and library supporters (including more than 6,500 exhibitors)…” Comparing those numbers to the 16,597 librarians and exhibitors that braved the heat and humidity of Orlando and ALA officials must be breathing a collective sigh of relief.

Fortunately, the increased number of attendees were rewarded by sunny days and comfortable temperatures – along with a full complement of program options. Those making the trek to the Windy City could select from over 1,800 programs and more than 2,500 events at the McCormick Place Convention Center and nearby locations.  Of course, it’s impossible to cover each and every one of them, so as we have done in the past, we thought we’d try and convey a sense of this year’s ALA by collecting a list of posts from a variety of sources and let you explore for yourselves.

  • 2017 Annual Conference Wrap-Up is American Libraries summation of the 2017 conference and its key highlights. Author Anne Ford weaves together coverage of hundreds of programs into common themes like children and teen services, social justice, information access, and science and technology while also noting featured speakers ranging from Ron Chernow to Sarah Jessica Parker and Bill McKibben to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

  • In Chicago, Librarians Get Their Mojo Back  offers Publishers Weekly’s take on ALA Annual. According PW contributor Andrew Albanese, this year’s conference offered a strong contingent of speakers who expressed support for libraries helping to “energized librarians for the political, professional, and budget battles that lie ahead.” Although he devotes a fair amount of space to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s keynote, Albanese says that “perhaps the most compelling speech of the conference, … came at the Carnegie reception honoring (Colson) Whitehead and (Matthew) Desmond, from the evening’s featured speaker, author Sara Paretsky, who captivated her audience with a clarion call for librarians, authors, and publishers to stand up for truth and reason.”

*  ALA and Google expanding their Libraries Ready to Code collaboration;
*  Gale’s launch of the Gale Small Business Builder;

*  HarperCollins’ expanded exploration into cost-per-circ (CPC) licensing;
*  Yewno’s showcasing of the new research tool Yewno Life Sciences;

*  Recorded Books launch of RBdigital;
*  ProQuest’s announced integrations and interoperability for several of its products.

  • Tech Power is another report from the exhibit floor. This one is from American Libraries and focuses on an “impressive array of technology products and services for libraries.”  Author Marshall Breeding notes his observations from visits to the booths of corporate giants like Google, ProQuest and EBSCO as well as to those of mid-tier vendors like Auto-graphics and BiblioCommons. He also discusses his impressions of self-service technology providers like Bibliotheca and EnvisionWare; open source services like ByWater Solutions and start-ups and innovators like TIND, Yewno and Odilo.

  • ALA Annual 2017 in Photos posted by Publishers Weekly will appeal to anyone who wants to gain a visual appreciation of what went on at ALA. It provides “some photo highlights from the event, including author signings, in-booth appearances, panels, and more.”

  • Digital Media in the Mainstream at ALA is Information Today’s overview of developments in the digital space. Author Terry Ballard discusses new online content from Kanopy, Alexander Street Press and RBdigital as well as top technology trends, and digital scholarship initiatives.

  • LITA’s annual technology panel discussion was the focus of a post in American Libraries. Entitled Top Tech Trends: Advice for Makerspaces, it “included perspectives from resource sharing (Veronda Pitchford, director of membership development and resource sharing, Reaching Across Illinois Library System), public libraries (Emily Almond, director of IT, Georgia Public Library Service), library consultants (Marshall Breeding), European libraries (Vanessa Hannesschläger, researcher, Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities) and academic libraries (Tara Radniecki, engineering librarian at the University of Nevada-Reno).”

  • LITA Offers Camp for Women in Library Technology is also posted in American Libraries. It reports on AvramCamp, a one-day camp for women in technology held immediately before ALA on June 23rd. The event is described as “a multi-racial, multi-lingual group of nearly 40 women who gathered on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, for a day of discussion around the roles and challenges of women in library technology.” The post mentions the various topics discussed as well as noting a series of breakout sessions that are portrayed as the “heart of the camp”.

  • Open Educational Resources for Science Liaisons​ reports on a panel moderated by Sarah Crissinger, scholarly communication librarian at Indiana University.  Observations are shared about the “strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of OERs” by panelists Merinda McLure, associate professor and health and human services librarian at University of Colorado–Boulder; Nina Exner, researcher and grant support services librarian at North Carolina A&T State University; and Regina Gong, librarian and OER project manager at Lansing (Mich.) Community College.

  • A First-Timer’s First Ever Day at ALA offers the personal experience of Athina Livanos-Propst, digital librarian at PBS Education in Arlington, Virginia as she negotiates her first time ever attending an ALA conference. She relates how she “power-walked my way between sessions on digital scholarship, cataloging norms, linked data, and analyzing how instructors use media.”

  • Government, Inside and Out | ALA Annual 2017 by LJ’s Meredith Schwartz highlights ALA’s internal governance while discussing issue-related resolutions passed at all three Council meetings as well as those resolutions passed that reflect the Association’s organizational values. There was also mention of personnel changes related to Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels’ retirement as well as discussion of ALA’s fiscal and budgetary status.

  • Also regarding ALA governance, American Libraries provided coverage of all three Council meetings:

*Council I Tackles Climate Change;
*Council II Defines ALA Executive Director Search Criteria;
*Council III: Memorials and Tributes




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