Be Extraordinary #PLA2016

Screenshot 2016-04-10 22.18.16One of the best things about being a candidate for ALA President is the opportunity to get to know the different parts of the Association in greater depth. This week I attended the Public Library Association Conference (#PLA2016) in Denver.

What an inspiring and engaging event – very true to the conference theme: BE EXTRAORDINARY! I particularly love the booklet that all conference attendees received – Make It Extraordinary: A Little Guide to Your Big Ideas. I am also enjoying the PLA 2016 Be Extraordinary 30 Day Challenge on Facebook.

I spent most of my time at the conference at the #Lisa4ALAprez information table in the exhibits hall. I handed out 1400 bookmarks and 200 stickers and had a lot of fun meeting people who stepped up to a “pic with the prez” candidate photo booth at my table.

Many people commented that they had already voted in the election, which was great to hear. Even nicer was hearing how many had voted for me because they had read my candidate statement, An Ethos of Hospitality, and appreciated both the specificity of my statement as well as my emphasis on inclusion, support for new professionals, using technology to expand engagement in the work of ALA, and/or willingness to consider new conference models. I am pleased that my platform is resonating with so many ALA members.

A number of conference attendees also wanted to know more about my own work as a librarian and I was happy to share about my position as the Coordinator for Information Literacy in the University of Illinois Library and as Affiliate Faculty in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS). I was also able to share some advice as a mentor during Friday’s Speed Mentoring event – that was intense and fun!

On the last day of the conference, with the exhibits ended, I was able to attend a few sessions. Anand Giridharadas Big Ideas talk was challenging and a call to empathy and inclusion delivered with compassion and humor. I added my voice to his #aTrueAmericanIs Twitter conversation.

I next attended The Changing Landscape of Library Privacy, which provided a succinct review of library values and current challenges to privacy. Give my own work on privacy, data security, and civil liberties, I was pleased that the conversation was nuanced and acknowledged the tensions libraries are negotiating in our current complex digital environment.  I next attended Blowing Up the PLDS: Measuring Impact. The Value of Academic Libraries was one of my initiatives as ACRL President (2010-2011) and an ongoing area of interest for me. I was intrigued with the Team-Based Inquiry model that was presented and look forward to learning more about it.

In the evenings, I enjoyed the camaraderie and fun of the conference receptions, social gatherings, and dinner with other Illinois GSLIS alumni. I was pleased as well to attend EveryLibrary PLA Afterhours event and contribute funds to their important political work on behalf of libraries and the communities that they serve.  I think I introduced myself personally to about 400-500 people at these events! Though it was fast-paced, I learned a great deal about what people were taking away from the conference and what issues are most important to them.

20160409_093556.jpgOverall, I found the PLA 2016 Conference to be great fun, extremely informative, and always engaging. I hope to be back at the PLA 2018 Conference as ALA President!



P.S. With this chance to attend the PLA conference, I’ve now experienced all three of the “type of library” division conferences (I’ve attended the conferences of the American Association of School Libraries and the Association of College and Research Libraries many times). All three have an energy and pacing that reflects a different kind of event than the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. I’m more resolved than ever that now is the time to think carefully about our conference ecosystem and whether it is best suited to the current needs of our communities of practice. Maybe it is but I can’t help but wonder what we might invent that would be even better than our current models if we let ourselves free of current assumptions and practices. What we have now is good but maybe there is something out there that would be even better?

There Is a Place for You with LISA4ALA!

Please let me know how you’d like to contribute if I’m elected ALA President. I know from being ACRL President that the work starts about 2 minutes after they say “congratulations!” – so one must be preparing even while voting is still underway!

(If you haven’t yet, please be certain to vote as well! Don’t know where to access the ballot? Go here:!)

If you are interested in contributing to my presidential initiatives, I’d love to hear from you. There are specific projects that I have promised but there will also be other projects that emerge. I haven’t promised any positions to anyone during the election so everything is open. Please let me know how you want to contribute and I will find a place for you!

Lisa at Computer
Preparing an ACRL Document at an IFLA Conference

The questions that you will see on the webform ( are also listed below if you want to consider before accessing the form.

Please indicate any/all interest you have and recommend others as well!


Interest in Contributing to LISA4ALA Initiatives?

Please provide your contact information.

1. Name?
2. Email Address?
3. Phone number? (Optional)
4. Address? (Optional)

The ALA President-Elect gets to work right after the election results are announced. If you are interested in contributing to my presidential initiatives, I’d love to hear from you. There are specific projects that I have promised but there will also be other projects that emerge. Please indicate any/all interest you have!

5. Would you like to be on a working group related to any of the action items promised in the LISA4ALA Candidate Statement?

  •   APPOINTMENTS – “I will charge my appointments committee to appoint at least one person who has not previously served on an ALA committee to each committee. I took this approach as ACRL President and welcomed many newer members of the profession into leadership positions and increased the diversity of committee membership.”
  • DIGITAL INCLUSION – “I commit to using ALA President funds to support promising examples of digital inclusion and to share those practices across the association. ALA policy allows us to conduct our work virtually; however, we often still rely on in-person meetings. This exclude members who are unable to travel for financial, health, work, etc. reasons. We can do better.”
  • ADVOCACY FOR LIBRARY WORKERS – “I will re-engage the vision for the ALA Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA). Library workers need a strong organization to advocate for wages, benefits, etc.”
  • CONFERENCE ECOSYSTEM AND VIABILITY – “I will lead ALA in systematically re-examining the viability of holding two conferences/year and the effect of doing so on member engagement and the ecosystem of division and state conferences.”

6. Would you be interested in serving on other working groups that may emerge over time?


7. Would you like to recommend someone else to serve on any of the above working groups or for others that may emerge? If so, who? (Please provide the name and contact information for the person you are nominating. If for a specific working group, please indicate that are well.)

8. Is there anything you would like at add?

9. Enter email address to receive a copy of this survey: