Preconference Sessions

LITA sponsors a number of preconference sessions before ALA Annual Conferences and Midwinter Meetings.

Upcoming Preconferences

Preconferences will be listed as they are planned.  See below to learn how to propose a preconference or suggest topics for a preconference.

LITA Midwinter 2015 Workshops: Friday, January 30, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

Creating Better Tutorials Through User-Centered Instructional Design

Presenters: Yvonne Mery, Instructional Design Librarian, University of Arizona; Leslie Sult, Associate Librarian, University of Arizona; and Rebecca Blakiston, User Experience Librarian, University of Arizona Libraries

Have you wanted to involve users as you design interactive e-learning, but aren’t sure where to start?  In this unique, hands-on workshop, you will learn the core and emerging principles of instructional and user experience design and apply what you have learned to design, develop, and test a tutorial you create. Workshop facilitators will cover topics including design thinking, user-centered pedagogy, user interface prototyping, and intercept usability testing while providing hands-on practice in each area. 

Learn to Teach Coding and Mentor Technology Newbies - in Your Library or Anywhere! 

Presenters: Kimberly Bryant, Founder and Executive Director Black Girls CODE; Reilly Ellis, Program Coordinator Black Girls CODE; Mikala Streeter, Curriculum Consultant Black Girls CODE

Black Girls CODE (BGC) is devoted to showing the world that black girls can code, and grow the number of women of color working in technology. LITA is devoted to putting on programs that promote, develop, and aid in the implementation of library and information technology. Together, BCG and LITA offer this full day pre-conference workshop, designed to turn reasonably tech savvy librarians into master technology teachers. The workshop will help attendees develop effective lesson plans and design projects their students can complete successfully in their own coding workshops. The schedule will feature presentations in the morning followed by afternoon breakout workgroups, in which attendees can experiment with programming languages such as Scratch, Ruby on Rails, and more.

Build a Circuit & Learn to Program an Arduino in a Silicon Valley Hackerspace: Panel of Inventors & Librarians Working Together for a More Creative Tomorrow

Presenters: Mitch Altman; Emily King, Librarian, College of Southern Nevada; Lara McLaughlin; Heather J Klish, Systems Librarian, Tufts University; Dana Miller, Head of Metadata & Cataloging, University of Nevada, Reno; Tod Colegrove, Head of DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library, University of Nevada - Reno; Daniel Verbit, Library Information Systems Specialist, York College of Pennsylvania

Computers have changed our lives, but what do we really know about them? Library/information centers can provide answers. Via this hackerspace hosted innovative and experiential session, attendees will learn practical skills such as soldering and learning the basics of Arduino programing and being able to create and adapt programs for their own needs. A panel of Silicon Valley insiders and librarians will share how their institutions programs on programming contribute to analytical thinking.
(An additional materials fee of $50, payable at the door, may apply for this session.)

Let's Hack a Collaborative Library Website!

Presenters: Dana Miller, Head of Metadata & Cataloging, University of Nevada, Reno; Emily King, Librarian, College of Southern Nevada; Heather J Klish, Systems Librarian, Tufts University; Junior Tidal, New York City College of Technology

In this hackathon attendees will learn to use the Bootstrap front-end framework and the Git version control system to create, modify and share code for a new library website. Expect a friendly atmosphere and a creative hands-on experience that will introduce you to web literacy for the 21st century librarian. Morning will consist of in-depth introductions to the tools, while afternoon will see participants split into working groups to build a single collaborative library website.


Previous Preconferences

From Lost to Found: How User Testing Can Improve the User Experience of Your Library Website

Speakers: Kate Lawrence, Deirdre Costello and Robert Newell

Please join two user researchers from EBSCO Information Services and the Web Services Coordinator at the University of Houston Libraries as they incorporate best practices from the legends of user research – Nielsen to Krug to Portigal – to teach attendees why they need to conduct user testing on their library site, and walk them through each step of the process. Attendees will leave the workshop informed about principles of usability and prepared to conduct their own testing to yield insights about their audience.

Introduction to practical programming

Speaker: Elizabeth Wickes

This workshop will introduce foundational programming skills using the Python programming language. There will be three sections to this workshop: a brief historical review of computing and programming languages, hands on practice with installation and coding, followed by a review of information resources essential for computing education and reference. This workshop will prepare participants to write their own programs and provide essential experience and background for the evaluation of computing reference materials and workshop development.

Linked Data for Libraries: How libraries can make use of Linked Open Data to share information about library resources and to improve discovery, access, and understanding for library users

Led by: Dean B. Krafft and Jon Corson-Rikert, Cornell University Library
Linked Open Data (LOD) provides an expressive and extensible mechanism for sharing information (metadata) about all the materials research libraries make available. In this workshop the presenters will introduce the principles and practices of creating and consuming Linked Open Data via a series of examples from sources relevant to libraries. They will provide an introduction to the technologies, tools, and types of data typically involved in creating and working with Linked Open Data and the semantic web. The preconference will also address the challenges of data quality, interoperability, authoritativeness, privacy, and other issues accompanying the adoption of new technologies as these apply to making use of Linked Open Data.

Learn Python by Playing with Library Data

Led by: Francis Kayiwa, Kayiwa Consulting
What can be more fun than learning Python? Learning Python by hacking on library data! In this workshop, you’ll learn Python basics by reading files, looking at MARC (yes MARC), building data structures, and analyzing library data (those logs aren’t going to appreciate themselves). By the end, you will have set up your Python environment, installed some useful packages, and learned how to write simple programs that you can use to impress your colleagues back at work.

Creating Library Web Services: Mashups and APIs

Speaker: Jason Clark, Montana State University subject guides, Flickr library displays, YouTube library orientation; with mashups and APIs, it's easier to bring pieces of the web together with library data. Learn what an API is and what it does, the components of web services, how to build a mashup, how to work with PHP, and how to create web services for your library. Participants should be comfortable with HTML markup and have an interest in learning about web scripting and programming and are encouraged to bring a laptop for hands-on participation.

Open Source CMS Playroom

Speaker: Amanda Hollister,

Open source content management systems present an opportunity for libraries to distribute content creation and maintenance and add Web 2.0 features to library websites. This workshop will provide an overview of several content management systems, compare and contrast system functionality and features, and demonstrate how open source CMSs can be used to enhance library websites. Bring your laptop to explore and compare basic installations of WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal CMSs.


The Education Committee identifies topics and presenters, reviews proposals, and recommends educational programs to the LITA Board. The Education Committee accepts proposals for programs, webinars, workshops, or regional institutes via the submit a proposal webform.


Send topic suggestions for courses, webinars, workshops, or regional institutes to the LITA Office.