ALA Division Presidents' Programs, Chair Programs, and other Featured Speakers

An additional opportunity to be inspired by thought leaders in programs hosted by ALA divisions, their Presidents, and ALA offices.

Dr. Jervette R. Ward Image


(AASL) AASL Awards Ceremony and President's Program
Saturday, June 23, 9:00am-12:00pm

The AASL Awards Ceremony highlights best practices in school librarianship through collaboration, leadership, innovative programming, national involvement, and upholding the principles of the profession. The program is a public acknowledgment and celebration of school librarians who have made a significant contribution and modeled excellence within the profession. Also recognized, the 2018 AASL Best Websites and Best Apps for Teaching and Learning, and a new recognition this year, the 2018 AASL Social Media Superstars. AASL President Steven Yates will present the final award, the Crystal Apple Award.

Following the Awards Ceremony, Yates will welcome Dr. Jervette R. Ward, associate professor of English at the University of Alaska Anchorage, who will present her thoughts on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Get details and add to your schedule.

(ACRL) ACRL President’s Program: Beyond Resilience: Crafting a Caring Organization
Saturday, June 23, 10:30am – 12:00pm

Join ACRL President Cheryl A. Middleton for the ACRL President’s Program. A well-attended program at ACRL 2017 challenged academic librarians to think critically about how the term resilience is used to shift responsibility for success and survival to individuals, while silencing conversations about structural inequalities. In this follow-up, panelists will share stories describing how they have dealt with major change and challenges and discuss steps to shape responsive and caring organizations. Panelists include Chris Bourg, Director, MIT Libraries, K. G. Schneider, Dean, University Library, Sonoma State University, Derrick Jefferson, Communication Librarian, American University, Fobazi M. Ettarh, Student Success Librarian, California State University, Dominguez Hills. The moderator is Eamon Tewell, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Long Island University, Brooklyn. Get details and add to your schedule.

Michael W. Twitty Image








(ALCTS) ALCTS President’s Program: Dining from a Haunted Plate
Monday, June 25, 10:30am – 12:00pm

Join Michael W. Twitty, author of The Cooking Gene (HarperCollins 2017), as he discusses his journey to uncover the history of Southern food in his own family. This talk focuses on his search through the lens of extensive research at libraries and archives and plantations across the South and how he translated that journey into food through museum education and historic interpretation. In tracing his family roots through food from enslavement to emancipation, from West and Central Africa to the Old South, his work invites all Southerners of all backgrounds to a complicated, uncomfortable groaning table rich in heritage and tradition in which new conversations and connections emerge. 

Michael W. Twitty is a noted culinary and cultural historian and the creator of Afroculinaria, the first blog devoted to African American historic foodways and their legacies. He has been honored by, as one of the twenty greatest food bloggers of all time, and named one of the “Fifty People Who Are Changing the South” by Southern Living and one of the “Five Cheftavists to Watch” by His work has appeared in Ebony, the Guardian, and on He is also a Smith fellow with the Southern Foodways Alliance, a TED fellow and speaker, and the first Revolutionary in Residence at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Get details and add to your schedule.

(ALSC / AFL-APALA) Wandering Wonderland: How an Outsider Found Her Way In (with author/illustrator LeUyen Pham)
Saturday, June 23, 10:00am - 11:30am

Author and Illustrator, LeUyen Pham, will focus on stories of her childhood, and how those experiences directly relate to the books she does today, the reason she picks such subject matter, and the angles she chooses to focus on being an immigrant informs much of what she sympathizes with in the publishing world, and how much her work tries to be all-inclusive in the manner that would have comforted her as a child. Get details and add to your schedule.

(ALSC) ALSC President’s Program: Considering All Children: A New Ideal in Evaluating and Engaging around Books for Youth
Monday, June 25, 1:00pm – 2:30pm

On Monday, June 25, 2018, the ALSC Charlemae Rollins President's Program will focus on Considering All Children: A New Ideal in Evaluating and Engaging around Books for Youth. Awards, best-of-the-year lists and reviews focus on "quality" and "excellence" in literature for youth, but what do “quality” and “excellence” really mean in the canon of American literature for children? Who is deciding which books stand out? How are some critics and some children privileged in our field’s thinking? How are some dismissed or made invisible? What does “American literature for children” even mean?

Join ALSC President, Nina Lindsay for a program that will challenge us all to confront our biases as they explore common assumptions and current discourse, and consider what it would look like if we truly considered all children as we evaluate books and single out titles for distinction both within and beyond ALSC. Panelists include Margarita Engle, the current National Young People’s Poet Laureate and award-winning author, Debbie Reese, PhD, educator and advocate for Native representation, Jason Reynolds, 2018 National School Library Month spokesperson and award-winning author, and Ebony Thomas, assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania.

The session will be moderated by Edith Campbell, Associate Librarian, Reference/Instruction, Indiana State University. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with speakers in a question-and-answer session. Get details and add to your schedule.

(ASCLA) Using Innovative, Music-Based Outreach Programs to Reach Vulnerable Populations of All Ages
Saturday, June 23, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Research shows that music positively affects people. Nursery rhyme recitation boosts children’s vocabulary and language skills, important factors in preparing them for success in school and reducing rates of adult incarceration. Singing together creates community among people of all abilities; outreach to people with disabilities is facilitated by music. And, songs from earlier years are often easier for older adults with memory loss to retain; the ability to sing rhymes together lasts long after other ways of communicating have been lost. Music-based outreach programming can benefit everyone. 

Based on her unique background as a nurse in health and aging research and as a choral conductor/performer, Jan Maier will lead an active demonstration on the pervasive effects of music on our brains and bodies. She will share recent highlights on cutting-edge research on music and the brain, as well as the many health benefits of musical programming. Then, a panel of professionals involved in innovative outreach work will share their musical projects and discuss steps you can use to include music in your own outreach programs.

“Mother Goose on the Loose Goslings” is a newly-developed program for parents with premature babies in NICUs. Social-media based “pop-up storytimes” in neighborhood parks bring diverse communities together uniting them through song. Visits to nursing homes can successfully incorporate musical activities with seniors. Music programs can make libraries more welcoming to people with disabilities such as the longstanding partnership with Music for Autism, through which the Brooklyn Public Library has attracted new patrons. Discover the steps taken to set-up these programs and hear about the powerful impact they have had on the vulnerable communities they serve. At the end of the session, brainstorm ways in which you can bring one of these programs (or something similar) into your community.  Get details and add to your schedule.

(ASCLA / FAFLRT) Building Your Brand: In a Landscape of Budget Cuts and Library Closures
Saturday, June 23, 2:30pm - 3:30pm

This program provides a process for libraries and librarians to build their brand and link personal authenticity toward the mission of services offered by libraries to their communities. New insight will be disclosed to create a more inclusive view of all diverse voices such as representation from decision-makers, stakeholders, and library advocates. Also, barrier removal strategies will be shared, allowing equity in accessing information through internal and external relations strategy. The program is designed to provide insight into developing coalition strategies. It is to note that the library sector is fantastic and leadership strategies are needed to save time. Key themes that will be covered in the program: Teamwork, Engagement and Resiliency. Get details and add to your schedule.

(EMIERT, ODLOS) Arab American Literature – A Librarian’s Guide
Saturday, June 23, 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Over recent years, Middle Eastern literature has been making great strides in the international book market, with many authors and works receiving widespread attention and praise. The implementation of awards such as the Arab American Book Awards has also done much to raise the profile of Arabic literature and to facilitate a wider readership. In this session, panelists will highlight Arab American literature, including children’s books featuring Arab American characters, to poetry and fiction written by Arab Americans, and nonfiction in the field of Arab American studies. Speakers: Kirsten Terry-Murphy, Librarian, Arab American National Museum; Safi S. M. Safiullah, Manager, Salt Lake City Public Library-Marmalade Branch; Connie Lamb, Social Science Librarian, Brigham Young University; Laila Hussein Moustafa, Assistant Professor/Middle East and North African Studies Librarian, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Chair and moderator of the program: Mimi Lee, MLIS, Diversity and Literacy Consultant, New Jersey State Library. Get details and add to your schedule.

GAMERT Chair's Program: Safe-T Corp - An Information Literacy Escape Experience
Saturday, June 23, 2:00pm - 4:00pm

A student has gone missing, a presentation needs to be given and ultimately a choice must be made. Explore the missing student's belongings and research materials looking for clues, learning more about what happened, and why. This project has been developed over the last year by librarians from School Library System of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, Monroe 2 BOCES, SUNY Geneseo and the Rochester Institute of Technology. The end goal, to create an engaging, curriculum aligned escape experience that is sharable and usable in high school and academic learning spaces. This session will give you a chance to go through the escape experience, learn about how it was developed and get the resources needed to implement the experience in your space. Get details and add to your schedule.

(GLBTRT) Intersectionality and the Library of the Future
Monday, June 25, 2:30pm – 4:30pm

GLBTRT will host an interactive panel presentation about intersectionality and how it affects the future of Libraries, including staff development and recruitment/retention, community participation, and the ever-strengthening roles our profession has in transforming our libraries and communities into spaces that meet the diverse needs of all people in a complex, dynamic and even dangerous political environment. Get details and add to your schedule.

(GODORT) Government Information for a Cynical Citizenry
Sunday, June 24, 10:30am - 11:30am

What does trust mean in the context of government information? Inequality, exclusion, and political influence have led to distrust of government content. This panel will highlight some of the deceptive practices, vanished websites, and infectious skepticism that should inform the evaluation of government sources as trustworthy. 

We’ll present approaches to supporting your users as they navigate this content. You’ll also learn about some key issues affecting access to government resources. Bring your questions and be prepared to test your information literacy skills as we discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of government information. Get details and add to your schedule.

(IFRT) Big Data in Libraries: Friend or Foe?
Saturday, June 23, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) will sponsor a moderated debate on the subject of “big data” analytics in the library world. The right of library users to keep private their individual use of library resources has traditionally been protected by federal, state and local privacy laws as well as ALA’s long-standing guidelines. But those protections are increasingly challenged by the use of “big data” library patron information that is bundled up, aggregated, and usually, anonymized for varied purposes including trend analyses, grant funding, and reporting to local governments.

In a lively discussion, two speakers representing opposing points of view will debate the “big data” phenomenon and its possible consequences for patron privacy. The discussion will be moderated by Bill Marden, Director of Privacy and Compliance at The New York Public Library. Get details and add to your schedule.

(IRRT) Chair's Program: Libraries Saving Lives: Serving Immigrants and Refugees
Saturday, June 23, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Global mobility and recent worldwide crises have led to an increase in immigrants and refugees seeking to improve their lives in sometimes unfamiliar countries and cultures. Libraries around the globe are responding to and welcoming the newcomers of all ages, languages, and nationalities into their communities. By developing services, programs, collections, and spaces, they are assisting these particularly vulnerable populations with logistical and cultural adjustment through such programs as innovative language learning meet-ups, job-seeking guidance, and homework assistance. During this program, you’ll hear about how librarians in Malmö, Sweden; Cologne, Germany; and Kentucky, U.S., are using ground-breaking models and creating dynamic spaces to engage immigrants and refugees. Panelists will make suggestions on how you can adapt these ideas to transform your own libraries into socially inclusive spaces. Get details and add to your schedule.

(LEARNT) Staff Development is the New Strategic Planning
Saturday, June 23, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

LEARNT will host a panel discussion on how leaders shape and lead their organizations by developing their staffs. An emphasis will be placed on the importance and commitment to staff development. Get details and add to your schedule.

(LHRT) LHRT Edward G. Holley Memorial Lecture
Sunday, June 24, 10:30am - 11:30am

Mary Niall Mitchell is Ethel & Herman L. Midlo Chair in New Orleans Studies, Joseph Tregle Professor in Early American History, and Associate Professor of History at the University of New Orleans, where she co-directs the Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies. She is the author of Raising Freedom's Child: Black Children and Visions of the Future after Slavery (NYU Press, 2008). Her latest book project, The Slave Girl in the Archive, is a study of race, photography, slavery, and memory in the nineteenth century. Professor Mitchell is one of three lead historians for, a collaborative database of fugitive slave advertisements housed at Cornell. She has written for the New York Times Disunion blog, Harper’s Magazine, The Atlantic, and She has received fellowships and awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and J. William Fulbright Foundation. ( Get details and add to your schedule.

(LIRT) Moving Beyond the Threshold: Next Steps in Critical Information Literacy
Saturday, June 23, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

There is little doubt of the importance of critical information literacy and the role of librarians, but many librarians are asking themselves, what should come next? Recently, academic, school, and public librarians have been working tirelessly to document, articulate and discuss our progressively challenging role in cultivating social responsibilities within our communities, and amongst our students in order to frame the conversation for growth. Join leading experts to hear more about breakthroughs in this area. Get details and add to your schedule.

Kendra Albert Image






(LITA) The Silences of (Big) Data
Sunday, June 24, 3:00pm - 4:00pm

As data becomes the substrate for human and algorithmic decision-making and funding, it speaks louder and louder. But what can we infer when there is no or limited data, that is, when the data is effectively silent? Like all records, the data that libraries collect about their patrons and services contain presence and absence, resistance and compliance, exclusion and overrepresentation. In this provocative talk, lawyer and critical legal scholar Kendra Albert will reflect upon how the rise of data collection in libraries can be informed by the silences of data.

Drawing upon the literature on archival silence, as well as their work understanding and critiquing data collection across contexts, Albert will explore a number of potential reasons for data silences, from law to collection bias to subject disobedience.  Their talk will focus on how such silences translate from spaces of curated collection to those where collection and retention is, at least theoretically, automatic and complete.

Kendra Albert is a clinical fellow at Harvard Law School, where they teach students and advise clients on legal matters related to copyright, privacy, and computer security. Their scholarship focuses on applying critical legal theory to modern day technology issues, and understanding how power shapes and is shaped by technology systems. Get details and add to your schedule.

Nancy Watson Image






(LLAMA) LLAMA President’s Program: Addressing Conflict Through Difficult and Uncomfortable Dialogues…Why This Is Important
Saturday, June 23, 10:30am – 12:00pm

We live in a changing world and everywhere we turn these days we seem to be encountering interpersonal conflict within our libraries, our professional associations, and our personal environment.  For a wide range of reasons, most individuals are not comfortable engaging in and trying to manage it.  This discomfort can lead us to avoid situations involving conflict or overreact and try to manage it from a position of authority, both of which may not be ideal in addressing the conflict.  In this program, Dr. Nancy T. Watson, Ph.D. - TMCA Distinguished Mediator and President of The Center for Change and Conflict Resolution will provide insights into better understanding and managing conflict.  Attendees will gain an understanding of recognizing elements contributing to conflict, passive-aggressive behaviors, and get tips on engagement to address or move past difficult conflict-based situations. Get details and add to your schedule.

(LRRT) Library Research Round Table Research Forum 2018
Saturday, June 23, 8:30am – 10:00am

The LRRT Research Forum offers the opportunity for investigators to present research papers examining emerging topics in library and information science research. Peer-reviewed papers will feature examples of excellence in research, relating to new and under-studied topics in the broad field of information services, as well as theory, methods, and practices in library research, with the potential to make significant contributions to the field, particularly regarding library advocacy, diversity, inclusion, and equity. The papers exemplify a strong use of theory, clear and well-organized research design, and appropriate data gathering and analysis methods. Get details and add to your schedule.

(LSSIRT) Moving Up the Library's Ever-Changing Ladders
Sunday, June 24, 8:30am - 10:00am

In this one hour, panel lead discussion, attendees will hear of the growth within our field, carer opportunities and recent changes, as well as the many areas that libraries now have to offer in the area of Support Staff & Technician Assistant positions. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage and interact with the panelist in sharing information about their positions and libraries across the country. Get details and add to your schedule.

(MAGIRT) Understanding and Using Spatial Humanities: Digital Mapping at the Forefront of Scholarly Research
Saturday, June 23, 8:30am - 9:00am

Overall goal: Participants will understand necessary skills and innovations available to librarians to successfully guide researchers in spatial humanities. Specifically: 

  • Gain an understanding of the concept of spatial humanities 
  • Review examples of successful projects incorporating spatial humanities 
  • Learn types of services (or models) and resources available to and through academic libraries. 

A panel discussion style, each panelist will choose their own topic by sharing their expertise on: 

  • Concept of spatial humanities and review examples of successful projects related to spatial humanities
  • Resources and tools used or needed to do spatial humanities projects 
  • Types of services provided for spatial humanities projects 
  • Challenges or strategies for supporting this practice within their own institutions

Get details and add to your schedule.

(ODLOS) Spectrum Anniversary Reflections on 20 Years
Sunday, June 24, 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Our Anniversary theme is Spectrum’s 20 Years: A Celebration of Community—because more than anything else, that is what Spectrum embodies—Scholars and supporters working together towards common goals of advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in our profession. Many Scholars struggle with the intersections of socio-economic class and race and ethnicity, and the financial support provided by the Spectrum Scholarship Program can make a huge difference in whether or not one can complete a graduate program. However, the most valuable thing about the Spectrum Scholarship Program is in a way both palpable and intangible—the emphasis on building relationships and community, both within one’s cohort and beyond. These connections are vital and indispensable to librarians of color who struggle to not only enter the profession, but to remain in it. Join our Cohort Champions as they reflect on how they are rebuilding connections within each cohort, expanding local networks of librarians of color, supporting one another in raising visibility and funds for the Spectrum Scholarship Program, and setting a vision for the future. Get details and add to your schedule.

(RMRT) Making a Good Life with Words, Words and More Words
Sunday, June 24, 10:30am - 11:30am

Retired librarians and authors are alike as they have many stories to tell and places to go that they never imagined. Join us as award-winning reporter and columnist, author Rheta Grimsley Johnson takes us on a colorful journey of her life. She believes, “Libraries and independent bookstores are the lifeblood of authors.” Her love for libraries started when she was a girl in Montgomery, Alabama, using the beloved bookmobile. After 42 years of newspaper work encompassing 33 years as a columnist, her busy retirement includes starting an art gallery, Faraway Places, near her home of 30 years Fishtrap Hollow, Mississippi. The gallery has a "book nook" -- the closest real bookstore is 60 miles away. She is currently working on a book about that experience -- working title: The Dolly Lisa, Starting a Gallery in East Jesus. Johnson, 65, spent over four decades as a reporter and columnist in the Deep South. For 20 years she wrote a syndicated column for King Features Syndicate of New York that appeared in about 40 newspapers across the nation. Johnson also is the author of several books including Good Grief, The Story of Charles M. Schulz and her latest The Dogs Buried Over the Bridge. Johnson’s journalism awards include the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary, the Ernie Pyle Memorial Award, the National Headliner Award for Commentary. In 1991 she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. She worked for several Alabama newspapers and United Press International beginning her syndicated column at The Commercial Appeal of Memphis and later working as columnist at The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Get details and add to your schedule.

Carla Hayden and Courtney Young Image







(RUSA) New Dawn for Libraries: A Conversation with Carla Hayden
Saturday, June 23, 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Dr. Carla Hayden, the first woman and the first African-American Librarian of Congress, is an avid proponent of proactive public services that support discovery and enrich communities. In her new role, she seeks to make the Library’s collections and stories come alive for all Americans regardless of their proximity to the nation’s capital. Former ALA President Courtney Young will engage Dr. Hayden in a wide-ranging conversation about forging roles for library services in meeting the needs of today’s varied and diverse populations. 

RUSA President, Chris LeBeau will also be presenting RUSA's division level achievement awards to: Eleanor Mitchell and Sarah Watstein, winners of the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award, sponsored by Credo; Kaite Stover, winner of the Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award, sponsored by NoveList; The State Historical Society of Iowa, winner of the John Sessions Memorial Award, sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO; and Toledo Lucas County Public Library, winner of the Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Services, sponsored by ReferenceUSA. Get details and add to your schedule.

(SRRT) Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration Exchange for Libraries
Saturday, June 23, 4:00pm - 5:00pm

The SRRT Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force will host panelists from the New Orleans metro area to discuss local King Holiday celebrations. The program is geared towards libraries looking for ideas and/or potential partners for King Holiday celebrations. Guest panelists will include representatives from the local community, as well as the New Orleans Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Planning Committee. Get details and add to your schedule.

(SUSTAINRT) The Rising Tide: How Libraries Sustain a Planet in Crisis
Sunday, June 24, 8:30am - 10:00am

In this panel/program we seek to convey the inextricable connection between social justice and climate change. Specifically, how climate change disproportionately affects poorer communities and communities of color, and how libraries and librarians can (and do) play a pivotal role in helping vulnerable communities build the physical, social, economic, and emotional resources and skills necessary to endure and thrive in the face of such catastrophic climate, social, and economic disruptions. The site of our Annual conference, New Orleans faced the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, and will continue to face increasing disaster as our climate actively changes. Another such community is the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who have worked to protect their water from pollution by corporate pipelines. We hope to include local librarian(s) who were/are on the ground serving and assisting their communities during and after these and other events, and also hope to highlight how they are helping their communities plan/prepare for future such events. Get details and add to your schedule.

(VRT) 21st Century Collection Development Strategies for Media
Saturday, June 23, 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Specific topics addressed by this program will include discussion of the unique film-to-library user ecosystem and its import for collection development and services and collaborative approaches to building effective streaming video collections, such as developing relationships with multiple vendors to license streaming video content, educating library users about relevant format and licensing options, collaborating with institutional diversity initiatives, and implementing streaming video initiatives at branch or satellite locations. Get details and add to your schedule.

(YALSA) YALSA President’s Program: Supporting Youth Activism in Your Library
Monday, June 25, 10:30am – 12:00pm

YALSA President Sandra Hughes-Hassell’s year-long initiative, Youth Activism through Community Engagement, is a call to action for library staff to support teens in developing the necessary skills, tools, and confidence to engage in enacting social change. This YALSA initiative recognizes that teens are experts on the issues facing their communities. This is especially true for youth who are experiencing marginalization due to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, or other forms of oppression. As library staff, we can support teens’ desires to become positive agents of change in their communities. Attend this session to learn about innovative, teen-centered programs that foreground social justice and emphasize the development of teens’ knowledge and abilities to engage in advocacy and community engagement. Attain strategies, ideas, and resources to take back to your own library. Get details and add to your schedule.