2017 International Meetings and Programs Schedule

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Thank you for joining us at the ALA 2017 Annual Conference!

The ALA Annual Conference offers you an unparalleled opportunity to enhance your knowledge, share your ideas, and network with experts from around the globe as you participate in one of the largest and most exciting library events in the world! Around 2,200 scheduled events of which more than 500 are programs, discussions, sessions, and in-depth facilitated and informal conversations, and 900+ exhibitors.

Below is a list of meetings and events for the International Relations Committee (IRC), the International Relations Round Table (IRRT), and other ALA Offices hosting programs with an international focus.


  • ALA SCHEDULER - Create your own conference schedule! View all sessions, events, and speakers by browsing or searching. Terms you can use to filter your search include subject, library type, meeting type, ALA unit, date, and time.

Please click on the title of each meeting/program to view the latest information and list of speakers.



Supporting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals with International Open Access Initiatives -- IRRT Preconference
8:00am - 1:00pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W184a
Description: Are you interested in supporting the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?  As librarians, we are already invested in education, social justice, and information access issues.  In this pre-conference we’ll be looking at the intersection between the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ways that Open Access (OA) efforts can be used to further those goals.  We’ll hear from experts in both fields about where the SDG and OA movements stand and engage with a panel who are already implementing OA plans in the name of greater accessibility for all.  There will also be time to exchange our own ideas and experiences related to OA and the SDGs.
Session attendees will leave with:
1.     A greater understanding of the SDGs and OA as they currently stand,
2.     Some examples of how OA is being implemented and leveraged around the globe,
3.     Hands-on experience designing or working on OA/SDG projects, and
4.     New resources, contacts, and possible collaborators for such a project in the future.
Cost: $90 USD
Registration includes: Materials, refreshments and lunch.
Event code: IRR1

International Relations Committee I (IRC)
2:00pm - 3:30pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W177


International Librarians Orientation
2:30pm - 4:00pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W470
Description: An introduction to the ALA Conference and the city of Chicago, for international and other attendees from abroad. ALA members will provide an overview of the conference, including recommended programs and social activities. Learn about conference transportation, how to navigate the exhibit hall and how to get involved. You will also meet and network with other colleagues from ALA’s many divisions and round table who will help you to get the most from your conference experience.


IRC*/IRRT+ All Subcommittee Meeting
8:30am - 11:00am
Location: McCormick Place West - W470
+8:30 - 9:00 am      IRRT Chairs Meeting
+9:00 - 10:00 am    IRRT Subcommittee Meetings
+10:00 - 10:30 am  IRRT Chairs report back to IRRT Executive Board

*8:30 – 11:00am    IRC Committee Meetings

Location: McCormick Place West - W470

Libraries Transform: Programs and Services for Sustainable Environments, Social Justice, and Quality Education for All - IRRT International Paper Session & Projects
1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W181a
Description: Because Libraries reach a large cross-section of the public, they are in a unique position to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the promotion of sustainable environments, social justice, and quality education. This program will feature presentations and projects by librarians or professionals working outside the USA or involved in projects outside of the USA whose research, libraries, or projects are working to promote lifelong learning, provide inclusive and quality education for all, reduce inequality, promote just and inclusive societies, contribute to environmental sustainability, and more!

Libraries in Germany
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W183b
Description: Libraries in Germany-- venerable book-museums or modern information facilities?  Silence in a large reading rooms or conversation and hustle-bustle? Gutenberg or ICT?  The library scene in Germany is as multifaceted and exciting as the country itself. We will present insights into trends, new developments, and new structures.  We promise that you will soon want to travel to Germany to experience these discoveries yourself.

Project Welcome: Libraries Serving Refugees and Asylum Seekers
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W181a
Description: “How can libraries better serve refugees and asylum seekers?” In the past year the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs in partnership with ALA has been working on the IMLS-funded “Project Welcome” planning grant. We have been learning how libraries are and can address the information needs of refugees and asylum seekers in order to support and empower them in their resettlement and integration process. This session will present the work of the project and engage audience feedback on the library services continuum that is in development.

Leaning International: Stories from the Field
4:30pm - 5:30pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W184d
Description: For MLS students through seasoned information professionals interested in working internationally, this annual program hosted by IRRT’s International Connections Committee features American librarians discussing their own unique international experiences.  Sessions are split between prepared topics and audience Q&A time.  These interactive events have included such diverse topics as leveraging networks to find work abroad, pre-departure language and etiquette training, adapting to regional librarianship as well as cultural standards, the practicalities of life overseas, and more!



IRRT Executive Committee Meeting
8:30am - 10:00am
Location: McCormick Place West - W186a

International Poster Session
10:30am - 12:00pm
Exhibit floor - View list of poster session (Scroll down to Sunday, June 25)
Description: Come to the Exhibit floor and find out about innovative programs and transformative ideas that are shaping libraries all over the world.
IFLA Global Vision Open Discussion Forum
10:30am – 11:30am
Location: McCormick Place West - W181b
Description: IFLA needs your expert input and participation in the Global Vision discussion so we can make the library field as ready as possible for what tomorrow might bring. Join this facilitated workshop to give your input on how a connected library field can meet the challenges of the future.   
China Libraries Transformed
10:30am – 11:30am
Location: McCormick Place West - W181a
Description: No country has undergone a more dramatic transformation of its library systems in the last fifteen years than China.   Come hear about their transformative efforts, what is going on now, and what is planned for the future in public, academic, school and other libraries.  This program is part of  an effort between ALA and the Library Society of China to foster knowledge sharing and collaboration between the library communities in each country.

Acting for Humanity: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Libraries - IRRT Chair’s Program
1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W181a
Description:  In 2015, 150 world leaders, with support from the United Nations Development Programme, adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to fight against injustice, poverty, inequality, and climate change. This program will address how we, as librarians and libraries, can take action to better the lives of all people and protect our planet. Presenters will be part of a panel that will describe and discuss topics such as 1.   How individuals, libraries, or library associations are providing programming and education to advance peace and justice, alleviate poverty and hunger, reduce inequality, increase women’s rights and political participation, or protect the environment, 2. How individuals, libraries, or library associations are working with their governments, communities, and/or partners to advance peace and justice, alleviate poverty and hunger, reduce inequality, increase women’s rights and political participation, or protect the environment.   

Serving Refugees: Experiences from German Libraries
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W181b
Description: In 2015 there were more than 1 million refugees and asylum-seekers in Germany.  The influx of refugees from various cultures, especially from Syria, Afghanistan, the Balkans, and various African countries, is abating. Yet families, young men, and unaccompanied minors are still seeking refuge in Germany.  Libraries in Germany have a long tradition of providing multicultural services and resources. Since 2006 an expert panel of the German Library Association has been addressing this topic. The lessons learned from the panel can be used to improve the resources for these user groups in public and academic libraries. There are many challenges, including overcoming language and cultural barriers, and integrating refugees into schools and colleges.  Another consideration is staff training and information exchange on the topic using webinars and other channels.  A variety of positive and hopeful responses to these challenges will be presented using real-world examples.  
International Relations Committee II (IRC)
3:00pm - 4:30pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W194a
Building Global Knowledge through Collaboration the Middle East and South Asia Digitization Projects
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
McCormick Place, W185a
Description: The Near East and South Asia Subcommittee of ALA's International Relation Committee (IRC) invites you to participate in our roundtable discussion about " Building Global Knowledge through Collaboration the Middle East and South Asia Digitization projects."  During the last few years, libraries in the United States of America established many digitization projects with libraries, government and non- government institutes to help preserve and share knowledge through the use of digitization. We would like to have your input  and participate in the discussion so you can  tell us about  your institute projects.
4:30pm - 5:30pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W181a
Description:  This program explores challenges and opportunities associated with building collections from and about Central Asia and library development in Central Asia.  Subject specialists for Eurasia and Central Asia, will describe strategies for acquiring materials from the region, including acquisition trips to Central Asia, exchange programs, and vendor supplied materials.  




Libraries for the Global Community:  Their Sustainability and Impact -  (ISLD program)
8:30am - 10:00am
Location: McCormick Place West - W178b
Description: Libraries and information access are more important than ever for the international community.  Recognizing their impact on global literacy and understanding, the International Sustainable Library Development Interest Group will address the sustainable nature of libraries and their services, particularly in developing nations, with recognition of differing library systems and user expectations.


10:30am - 11:30am
Location: McCormick Place West - W176a
Description: Thanks to the improvement in relations between the United States and Cuba opportunities are possible for a new era of connections between U.S. library community and Cuba library community. So what is the situation of Cuban libraries and librarians today? Come and find out.
German Academic Libraries - New Trends in Management
10:30am – 11:30 am
Location: McCormick Place West - W181a
Description: Academic libraries in Germany are constantly changing due to new developments in higher education influenced by digital transformations in research and instruction and study, as well as in reaction to scientific-political impulses.  The changes occur in multiple fields, at various speeds, and sometimes simultaneously or unexpectedly.  This results in continuous change management that encompasses various factors, such as organizational and personnel development, the library’s service offerings and cooperation with partners within and without the university. Using various examples, new trends in German academic libraries will be illustrated.
African Libraries Transforming Their Place in the Community
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W178b
Description: Libraries in Africa have long followed traditional models, but they are now transforming their role to be more active in the community through better engagement with their communities.  These presentations showcase efforts for libraries to become transformative partners in their communities.           
Libraries Support Research in Germany
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Location: McCormick Place West - W176a
Description: Academic libraries at German universities support researchers by providing scientific information resources, managing and linking research data, and assisting with open-access publication of research results. A system of specialist information services that puts the interests and needs of the researchers at the forefront has been developed with financial support by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the German Research Association.  The developments in Germany in these areas will be presented using various examples.


International Librarians Reception
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Chicago Public Library---WInter Garden
Description: Please join the ALA International Relations Round Table (IRRT) in welcoming and celebrating with librarians from more than 70 countries at the ALA Annual Conference. Open to all conference attendees, this reception offers a unique opportunity to network with hundreds of information professionals from around the world. Join us for a mixing of culture and ideas, regional cuisine, hors d’oeuvres and open bar. ALA President, Sari Feldman, will announce the recipients of the ALA Presidential Citation for Innovative International Projects. Winners of the Bogle Pratt Award and the Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award for International Librarianship will be announced. Advance registration is required. International librarians registered for the full conference will receive one complimentary ticket. A ticket must be purchased for additional guests. Tickets will be sold in the convention center. *No tickets will be sold at the reception site.*        REGISTER today!       



Listed below are programs, discussion groups, and events with an international focus. Some events require advance registration and payment. Please see conference site for more details.


SATURDAY, June 24, 2017

Readers' Advisory Research & Trends Forum: Adults Need Diverse Books Too
1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location: Hyatt Regency McCormick, Field/CC 20AB
Diversity in children's books has been a hot topic in libraries. This program, however, will address diversity in adult books and RA services. Expert panelists from various parts of the industry including publishing, libraries, authors, and reviewers, will discuss the issues related to serving diverse adult populations with diverse resources, and cover issues like best practices, best resources, and successful existing programs.


The American Dream Initiative: Serving English Language Learners
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: McCormick Place, W181b
With a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the American Library Association (ALA) and its Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) is launching the fifth round of American Dream grants to public libraries to expand services to adult English language learners.


The World at Your Fingertips: How to Use Global Literature in Translation in Library Programs
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: McCormick Place-W187b
Panel will equip librarians with the tools necessary for integrating global literature into their programs. Attendees will leave this session with concrete advice on how to intentionally connect contemporary books in translation with young children in storytime programs, elementary school students, and teens in classroom and after-school events, college students in displays and workshops, and adults in reading clubs and evening programs.


Bridging the Bilingual Divide: Best Practices for Bilingual and Multilingual Websites
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Location: McCormick Place, W179b
Many libraries know the value of developing print and personnel resources to engage diverse communities where English is one of many spoken languages, but too often, the library's digital presence lags behind. In Waukegan, we serve a community where over half of our residents speak a language other than English at home, so making our website and digital resources accessible to all of our community necessitated a major change: building a fully-functional bilingual website. In this session, you'll learn about our development process, including market research and analytics, the new website's structure, and best practices for broader bilingual branding.


The Other (Invisible) Refugees - Supporting Central American Children in Crisis
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: McCormick Place, W178a
Since 2014, over 100,000 unaccompanied minors have arrived as refugees from Central America. They are held in detention centers across the country while they await time in court to plead their case for being granted asylum. View a film from IBBY & REFORMA, and learn about their Children in Crisis Project, which seeks to raise awareness about these vulnerable youth and to provide resources to them. Donations accepted at the door.


SUNDAY, June 25, 2017

German-North American Resources Partnership (GNARP)
8:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Location: Palmer House, Salon 03
The German-North American Resources Partnership (GNARP) supports the acquisition, sharing, and use of German-language materials among North American libraries, and the fostering of closer collaboration with German research libraries. This session will include GNARP Steering Committee, GNARP Collection Development, and GNARP Librarian Exchange Working Group discussions.

Reading the World in Translation: Selecting and Presenting Global Literature for Teens
1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location: McCormick Place, W184a
Fiction in translation for adult readers has become increasingly popular, and translated picture books are once again crossing national borders successfully. But where are the books for teen readers, written by writers from other lands and translated into English? This panel will highlight recent and noteworthy books in translation, describe how to find and select these books, and discuss how we can build on the natural curiosity of teenagers to embrace international literature in translation.


Germanists and Romance Languages Discussion Groups (ACRL WESS)
1:00pm - 2:30pm
Hilton Chicago, Williford C

International Comics - Culture & Creation Beyond America
1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location: Hyatt Regency McCormick, Jackson Park/CC 10AB
Comics are hugely popular throughout the world and every country has it's own unique comics culture. Come hear how fandom and creator processes differ in other places, and how much common ground we really do share. More information to come.


Beyond Bilingual: Making Storytime Friendly to Families who are English Language Learners
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: McCormick Place, W175a
There are over 300 languages spoken in the United States and libraries are seeing a growing number of immigrant families at their programs. What do you do when storytime leaders and storytime families don't speak the same language? From creating visual schedules and other visual aids to to using Plain Language to translating storytime guides, discover simple techniques to make your storytime friendly to parents and children who are English Language Learners.


Giving Voice to Diverse Collections Through Digitization
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: McCormick Place, W187a
This program will focus in two areas: first, how to give voice and bear witness to the ghosts in the Anglo-centric archival and historical record, through digitization and digital humanities initiatives. Second, the program will discuss ways in which RBMS is working to become more inclusive and truly diverse, both in membership and collecting/descriptive practices.


MONDAY, June 26, 2017

Banned Abroad: Stories of International Censorship
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: McCormick Place, W178a
Not every country enjoys the First Amendment rights granted to Americans. International book banning and censorship restricts diverse narratives and ideas, but one avenue provides an entry to opportunities: U.S. publishing. In this panel discussion, attendees will hear from publishers and translators about how books that were banned in their country of origin found allies within U.S. publishing and translating — and how they can find homes on your library shelves. This program will encourage a broader understanding of international literature, as well as the risks and complications that come with the decision to translate and publish “controversial” works.





+++Exhibit Hours+++

Friday, June 23 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Saturday, June 24 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday, June 25 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Monday, June 26 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

(Note: All panels, programs, and events are conducted in English only.)


McCormick Place, Chicago
2301 South King Drive
Chicago, IL 60616




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