CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) hosted the first online conference LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience (LLX), January 21-24, 2022. LibLearnX is an all-new conferencing experience, built from the ground up on the based on years of research. , exploration and, above all, the contribution of library professionals. The 2022 conference was intentionally designed as a benefit for ALA members, with an opportunity to learn, network and celebrate. The event attracted over 2,100 attendees and 66 exhibiting organizations. The conference, originally scheduled for San Antonio, Texas, was redirected to a virtual offering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LibLearnX has provided training for library professionals by library professionals with over 110 live and on-demand courses education sessions in various learning engagement formats and topics. As a result, attendees were able to learn best practices and gather innovative ideas to quickly take back to their libraries for immediate implementation. A sample of well-attended training sessions included Trauma at the library; Advance racial and social equity in library communications; How to think like a library project manager to execute your ideas; Problematic authors and their works – A question and answer on intellectual freedom; Creation of a library usability service for e-learning; Take this work and shake it up: the great movement of abandonment; and 3 Reasons Why Your DEI Programs Are Not Working.
General LibLearnX sessions focused on issues of social justice, equality and advocacy. In the Opening session, ALA President Patricia “Patty” Wong was joined by U.S. Senator from Hawaii Mazie K. Hirono in conversation. The motivational session touched on the themes of Asian American leadership, the immigrant experience, and the role of women in positions of power. Both women represent significant firsts for the organizations they represent. Hirono is the first female senator to represent Hawaii and the only first-generation immigrant to serve in the Senate; she was born in Japan and came to the United States with her mother when she was 8 years old. Wong is the first Asian American president of the ALA. Senator Hirono spoke about her memoir, “Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter’s Story,” and her unconventional and groundbreaking journey that led her to hold one of the nation’s highest offices.
ALA President Patricia “Patty” Wong and ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall hosted and moderated “Innovative Approaches to EDI in Texas Libraries», a panel discussion live from San Antonio, Texas. The panel included four library leaders from the Lonely State of Texas, including Tamiko Brown, Library Coordinator, Fort Bend International District; Dean Hendrix, Dean of Libraries, University of Texas at San Antonio, Shirley Robinson, Executive Director, Texas Library Association; and Ramiro Salazar, Director, San Antonio Public Library. Another Texas highlight was the roundtable, “Being a queer librarian in Texas: expectations versus reality“, presented by the ALA Rainbow RoundTable.” The session included LGBTQIA+ librarians, working in various types of libraries and communities across Texas. Panelists shared their experiences with the public assumption of being a queer out professional in a predominantly conservative southern state.
Activist, athlete and author of the picture book “I Color Myself Different”, available in April 2022, Colin Kaepernick closed LibLearnX with a heartfelt message of thanks to librarians for being “community anchors” and steadfast knowledge keepers. During the unforgettable and very well-received session, he challenged librarians to rethink some of the library systems and practices to ensure that libraries are spaces where all black and brown people belong.
LibLearnX has come up with an exciting list of inspiration speakers who discussed their new and upcoming books. They included young adult authors, Angeline Boulley, storyteller and author of “Firekeeper’s Daughter”; Cicely Lewis, co-founder of ReadWoke™ Books and author of “Mass Incarceration, Black Men, and the Fight for Justice” and “Resistance to Slavery: From Escape to Everyday Rebellion”; Mariko Tamaki, comic book writer and author of “Cold: A Novel”; Charly Palmer, visual artist, illustrator and author of “The Legend of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale”; Jacqueline Woodson, four-time Newbery Honoree, three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and author of “The World Belonged to Us” and “The Year We Learned to Fly”; and Kelly Yang, bestselling author of “New From Here.” Actress, comedian and author Molly Shannon spoke about her book “Hello Molly: A Memoir,” as well as her new role as Honorary Chair of National Library Week. Shannon shared the difficult process of writing her memoir, in particular the chapter detailing the tragic car accident that defined her childhood, a tragedy that claimed the lives of her mother, younger sister and a cousin, and left her grieving father to raise her. She hopes the book will be inspiring and provide readers with a sense of resilience.
In the library marketLibLearnX attendees were able to visit 66 participating exhibitors and attend Exhibitor Spotlight Sessions, featuring authors and presented by leading publishers.
For many in the library community and beyond, the celebrations and awards that became central to ALA’s January Gatherings were the ALA Youth Media Awardsawarding the best books, digital media, videos and audiobooks for children and young adults, including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards, and The I Love My Librarian Awards, celebrating 10 outstanding winners whose exemplary service has had a positive impact on their communities. This year’s winners included three university librarians, four public librarians and three school librarians. Other celebrations included the RUSA Book & Media Awards, featuring the Andrew Carnegie Medals of Excellenceand the 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Holiday Celebration and Sunrise Celebration.
All LibLearnX registrants will have access to conference content through February 28, 2022.
Additional information can be found on the 2022 LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience Website and social networks: ALA Twitter, ALA Facebookand instagram.
Media with additional questions may contact Macey Morales, Deputy Director, ALA Office of Communications and Marketing at [email protected].
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the leading national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the role of the library in improving learning and access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.