ALA joins SXSW technology policy discussions

For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/04/2014


Tina Coleman

Marketing Specialist

Communications & Member Relations (CMR)


CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) will join the technology policy conversations in play at the South by Southwest EDU and Interactive conferences in Austin starting this week. Privacy and the “internet of things” will be among the topics on the agenda for the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). ALA also will join members and sister library organizations at the joint “Innovative Booth for Libraries” March 7-11, 2014.

SXSWi is a premier technology and policy conference featuring some of the world’s most forward-looking thinkers, emerging technologies, and inspiring digital creators. ALA and other library organizations will engage attendees, panelists, policy-makers, startups, and venture capitalists about the ongoing importance and relevance of libraries and librarians to the tech industry. The exhibit hall presence is made possible by library technology partner Innovative Interfaces.

OIF Director Barbara Jones will speak March 5 about “Don’t Track Me: Libraries Engage Youth and Privacy.” Open Society Foundations funded an ALA project for librarians to work with high school students on privacy issues. One project focused on problems faced by immigrants to the U.S. The panel includes Jones, Adriana McCleer, a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies and two Austin-area high school students.

OITP Program Director Larra Clark will join Innovation Policy Day March 11 for a panel on “Innovating Policy for the Internet of Things.” The “Internet of Things” operates over unlicensed spectrum such as Wi-Fi and there will undoubtedly be a torrent of new technologies across a host of industries. Policymakers in Washington – Congress, the Administration, and the FCC – have begun to recognize the critical importance of supporting the growth of Wi-Fi. This panel will explore the cutting edge policy debates that will undoubtedly impact the new technologies ahead.

“SXSW offers a great opportunity to extend the reach and visibility of the library profession, of ALA, and of our core values and best practices with technology influencers and innovators,” Jones added.

During the SXSW Interactive conference, dozens of librarians will be featured panelists, interactive session volunteers, and engaged attendees sharing information about modern libraries - and librarianship.

“Our goal is to help more entrepreneurs and policy leaders recognize how librarians help support next stage businesses,” says Joe Murphy, director, Library Futures at Innovative Interfaces. “When we talk about the library as a space for co-working, startup incubation, and creativity, we are talking about what we have always done as libraries – but in a new way.”

The “Innovative Booth for Libraries” is co-hosted by the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), the Digital Library Federation (DLF), the Electronic Resources & Libraries conference, EveryLibrary, the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), Urban Libraries Council (ULC), and Urban Librarians Unite (ULU). It is made possible through generous support from Innovative Interfaces ( For more information on the programs, panels, and outreach librarians, archivists, and museum professionals are doing at SXSWi, visit