2023 ALA Annual Conference - International Meetings and Programs Schedule

ALA Annual Conference logo

ALA 2023 Annual Conference!

As the world's largest library event, the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition brings together thousands of librarians and library staff, educators, authors, publishers, friends of libraries, trustees, special guests, and exhibitors. ALA Annual offers educational programming; important announcements and updates; relevant legislation and policies; and discussions that majorly impact libraries, their roles, and their ongoing transformation.

Registration is now open! Don't miss an opportunity to register at the early-bird registration rate, ending on March 31st! If you’d like to register a group, ALA is offering a Register 5 People and get 1 Free Registration option. To register your group, begin by signing in with the first person you’d like to register, then click the "Add Another" button on the Review Information page to add each subsequent registrant. 


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

  • ANNUAL PRELIMINARY PROGRAM - 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.


Global Libraries as Advocates for Information Policy Change - IRRT Preconference
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location: McCormick Place, W184bc

Description: The pandemic has raised our awareness and understanding of the need for information policies that support the ability of libraries to serve their communities. What are the persistent and new policy issues that libraries around the world must focus on? How can we strengthen our ability to influence legislative and legal change, and participate in the political process on the local, national, and global levels? The range of policy issues of relevance to libraries is extraordinary: intellectual freedom and the rising challenges to the books and other resources we make available in our collections; privacy and the threats that we and our users face on protecting their identities; civil liberties and the constraints on freedom of action and speech; open access to research and educational resources, funding for libraries, and for education and research programs; copyright and the importance of fair use and the exceptions that enable libraries to carry out their services; the expansion and quality of access to the internet and the challenges of the digital divides in our communities; telecommunications policy and the growth of social media monopolies and issues like net neutrality; government information and the importance of guaranteeing that records of the work of our governments are openly and readily accessible; the survival of school libraries which are so essential to our library ecosystem; along with many more specific to local, national and global contexts.

Welcome Remarks: Jim Neal, IRRT Past Chair, Columbia University

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom -- Privacy and Censorship
Larra Clark, ALA's Public Policy & Advocacy Office -- Equity of Internet Access
Alan S. Inouye, ALA's Public Policy & Advocacy Office -- Library Professionals as Effective Advocates
Joe Thompson, Carroll County Public Library -- Impact of Pandemic and Recent Elections on Information Policy
Timothy Vollmer, University of California-Berkeley -- Copyright and Licensing


Ticketed Event: $90 (IRRT1, fee includes registration, materials, refreshments, lunch)
To register for this preconference, you can include it with your initial registration, or add later using the unique link in your email confirmation. If you don't have your registration confirmation handy, you can request a copy by emailing  alaregistration@csreg.zohodesk.com or intl@ala.org 

International Librarians Orientation
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Location: McCormick Place, W192
Description: An introduction for attendees from abroad to the ALA Conference and the city of Chicago. 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.

International Relations Committee I
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Location: McCormick Place, W191


IRRT and IRC All Subcommittee Meeting
8:30am – 10:00am
Location: McCormick Place, W470

Finding a New Normal: Library Policies and Practices
11:00 am – 12:00 pm 
Location: McCormick Place, W179b
Description: The world continues to navigate the changing landscape shaped by three years of living with the pandemic, political upheaval, and environmental crisis. Organizations must find balance among traditional, pre-pandemic policies and practices, pandemic-related policies and practices that changed how and where libraries provide service, and the “new normal” of returning to more traditional policies and practices while the pandemic continues. At the same time, organizations must take special care in how they support and validate their employees as well as take strides in leading inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility efforts in their communities.

Making a Difference with School Libraries in Kenya- and Opportunities for You to Volunteer
11:00  am – 12:00 pm
Location: McCormick Place, W185d
Description: For more than 15 years, Knowledge Empowering Youth (KEY)—a Canadian-Kenyan registered NGO has created well-rounded education to underserved children, including refugees. Their award-winning network of primary and secondary school libraries are making a difference across twelve counties in Kenya in rural and urban environments. They have influenced Kenyan national policy on school libraries as anchors for learning and student achievement. Hear their inspiring story of achievement and opportunities for you to volunteer to help colleagues staffing these transformative school libraries.


Get To Know IFLA: Your Questions Answered
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Location: McCormick Place, W194a
Description: For some, the International Federation of Library Associations is a mystery, and for others it’s a fascinating way to engage with colleagues around the world. Join this panel for a brief overview of IFLA and Q&A to learn about the regional approach, library map of the world, advisory committees, and sections, and what it means to be involved in international library governance and policy. Panel participants have experience setting international library standards, writing policy, presenting at UN forums, and planning professional development for colleagues around the world, and will share their experiences and answer your questions.


Leaning International: Notes from the Field
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: McCormick Place, W187c
Description: Librarians around the globe are adjusting to the new normal of the endemic Covid world. How will these changes affect librarians who are interested in working internationally? This program is for information professionals in all stages of their career who are interested in working internationally. This popular annual program hosted by IRRT’s International Connections Committee features librarians discussing their own unique international experiences. Sessions are split between prepared topics and audience Q&A time. This program will feature topics such 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 any significant changes in our post pandemic world.


SUNDAY, June 25, 2023

Global Solutions Poster Session 
9:30 am – 11:00 am
Location:  McCormick Place, W190a

Description: Posters by international librarians and librarians working on international projects that highlight successful ideas, studies, a practical problem-solving effort, or an innovative library program

IRRT Executive Board Meeting
10:30 am – 11:30 am
Location: McCormick Place, W475b

Innovative Asian Public Libraries Transforming Services and Communities
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: McCormick Place, W178a
Description: From ‘Robots that Shelf-Read’ to ‘Cubicles of Happiness’ public libraries in Singapore and Malaysia continue to create and re-invent services for their multicultural populations to connect people of all ages to the library. Hear from colleagues at the Selangor Public Library in Malaysia and the public library side of the National Library Board of Singapore about new services and activities being provided for all ages. And how they work collaboratively with government agencies and corporate sponsors to develop informed citizens, create learning marketplaces, and more. You are sure to learn ideas to bring back to your library.

From Pandemic to Endemic: Global Experiences and Perspectives on the OCLC New Model Library-IRRT Chair’s Program
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Location: McCormick Place, W193
Description: IRRT Chair Safi Safiullah’s program theme "The New Normal for Local and International Libraries" is addressed in this program. The framework in the New Model Library: Pandemic Effects and Library Directions, published by OCLC sets the context for the program. The pandemic impacted libraries of all types globally, requiring libraries to respond to rapidly shifting community and institutional needs. The OCLC model provides a framework for these new directions. Lynn Connaway and Ixchel M. Daniel from OCLC will introduce the model, followed by a panel of three international library professionals who will speak to regional experiences based on the model. Finally, panelists and program participants will engage in Q&A and discussion.

International Relations Committee Meeting II
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Location: Hyatt Regency McCormick Hotel, Jackson Park D  

MONDAY, June 26, 2023

Books are A Refuge: Supporting Ukrainian Language Communities through Library Collections
9:00am - 10:00 am
Location: McCormick Place, W181c

Description: Ukrainian communities are passionate about working with their local libraries, including identifying new titles and vendors for library acquisitions. As Ukrainian communities seek to partner with libraries in the US, developing a pipeline for ordering Ukrainian materials represents new territory for many library systems. While US libraries seek to increase their holdings for Ukrainian materials, libraries in Ukraine are operating under great duress, as they resist the destruction of their literary and cultural resources. This session aims to address the needs of Ukrainian language communities in the US, while also raising awareness of the issues faced by libraries in Ukraine.


International Librarians Reception
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Chicago Public Library
Winter Garden, 9th Floor
400 S. State Street (main entrance on 401 S. Plymouth Street)

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, Lessa Pelayo-Lozada, 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.



#RealRep: The Power of Authentic Pacific Islander Representation    
Have you ever wondered about the PI in AAPI? Did you know that there are more Pacific Islanders on the continental US than live in the islands? Every state has a Pacific Islander population, and as teacher-librarians, knowing how to guide students to representative stories and information is critical to their academic and personal success. Join Native Hawaiian author Lehua Parker and librarian Gretchen Zaitzeff as they discuss how to find and curate authentic stories from the great Moana.  Learn how these Pan-Pasifika stories ignite reluctant readers and engage students of Pacific Islander heritage.


Achieving Equity through Literacy in an Increasingly Digital World    
Digital equity and its component parts are a social justice issue for all communities.  Libraries are at the center of many communities and play an important role in addressing basic digital literacy needs. Literacy, broadly defined, is often an overlooked element of successful digital skill acquisition. Many of those who lack these basic literacy and digital literacy skills are members of unserved or underserved groups. To achieve equity in the digital age, these  skills must be available to all people.  Join us to find out how your library can help close the digital equity gap in your community.

Bring the virtual Latinx Kidlit Book Festival to your community!    
The Latinx Kidlit Book Festival is a FREE two day virtual event in October - during Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month - that showcases Latinx authors, illustrators, and books, fostering a love of reading while amplifying the voices of Latinx creators. Everyone is welcome.

Cloud Watching for NASA!    
Libraries can join an international citizen science effort through The GLOBE Program and share photos and observations of the sky to help with NASA cloud and climate science. Learn why NASA is interested in clouds, how and why to observe clouds, do a hands-on activity, and discover resources that can support your programs (hands-on investigations, storybooks, circulating kits, games). Leave with practical ideas from libraries who are engaging their communities in neighborhood science through programs for school aged children, families, teens, and adults. Formal training in science is not required to participate, just a curiosity about our planet!


Connecting Library Experiences: Collaboration across library types to better support our patrons    
Most people interact with a variety of libraries throughout their lives. How can librarians make transitions between library types as painless as possible for our patrons when our work so often feels disconnected? This interactive presentation will share three academic library initiatives that build off impactful library work outside of the academic field. Librarians of all library types are invited to contribute to a discussion about the unique ways we interact with our communities. We will uncover connections to each other’s work and collaboration opportunities to build cohesion and familiarity for our patrons no matter the library setting.

Equity and Diversity in the Metaverse: Building a sustainable metaverse for libraries    
The Metaverse is a decentralized network of virtual spaces where users can socialize, learn, and play. The Metaverse will enable the creation of an interactive virtual equivalent of our physical world that we will be able to explore through extended reality (XR) platforms. The Metaverse can make a positive impact on the real world, especially in terms of accessibility, diversity, equality, and humanity. Working with students at the San Jose State University School of Information, and public library staff, and we developed a series of prototypes for use and discussion in creating a sustainable Metaverse for libraries.

Learners of 2030: Preparing for Literacies and Skills of the Future    
All types of libraries are shifting workflows and materials to teach patrons the expertise needed for job skill sets required to be successful in careers that do not yet exist. Join this panel session to hear from a diverse set of librarians on their perspectives, resources, and services related to needed skills, literacies, technologies, and the ways digital and online learning can be leveraged for the future. Engage with colleagues to begin to understand this new landscape and how we can prepare to better serve our patrons in academic, public, and school libraries.


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


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