Conference Workshops and Activities

ALA JobLIST Placement & Career Development Center 

ALA 2020 Annual Conference

Career Development Workshops and Other Activities

Chicago, IL

June 25 - 30, 2020

Upcoming Events

American Library Association cancels 2020 Annual Conference due to COVID-19 Press Release

All previously scheduled, in-person events for the ALA 2020 Annual Conference in Chicago have been canceled. However, the ALA JobLIST Placement & Career Development Center will be hosting several webinars during the month of July. Each one-hour session will be held on a Wednesday, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Central). You may register for any or all of them. Space is limited, so register early. These sessions are listed below.


July 8 – Wellness: Managing Stress and Taking Care of Yourself

Join us for this interactive session where we will discuss signs of stress and how it impacts you physically and mentally. You will walk away with stress reduction techniques that you can use immediately. Leave feeling refreshed and prepared to meet challenges in healthier, more productive ways.

July 15 – Action and Balance: Using Narrative and Self-Compassion on the Job Hunt

What’s the best way to convey to a potential employer the active approach you’ll take to your new tasks and responsibilities, if they’ll just give you the chance? What do you do when you’ve heard “no” one too many times? If you are currently job hunting, or you’re afraid you might lose the job you have, how will you contend with uncertainty in the job market? In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn how to use a specific approach to describing yourself in active terms for interview questions and cover letters, ways to actively support your job search (and your career) in times of uncertainty, and explore some techniques for staying positive and balanced by showing oneself the kindness and compassion that we often reserve for others. The presenters will provide exercises from their recent career development book, How to Thrive as a Library Professional (Libraries Unlimited, 2019).  

July 22 – How to Advance in Your Career in Times of Uncertainty

Are you interested in advancing your career and seeking a promotion to supervisor or manager? Are you curious about the ways in which the role of supervisor is different from your current technical and professional duties? Are you wondering if you are prepared to manage a team? How can you send the right message to prospective employers about your readiness to move up the chain of command? What do you have to do to move up? Is it even possible in this COVID-19 work environment? Join us to discuss these and other questions.  

July 29 – Creating a Culture of Wellness for Library Staff

It is now more important than ever to create a healthy environment for library workers. Fostering a culture of wellness can help lower stress, reduce burnout, improve recovery from compassion fatigue and more. This webinar will take a holistic approach as we discuss aspects of a healthy workplace including physical, mental, and emotional components. We will explore why, and how, libraries should focus on improving the health and wellness of library staff. 

Note: Conference registration is NOT required to go to the Placement Center, to use Placement services, or to attend any workshop that is held in the Placement Center. All services and sessions are free (unless otherwise noted).  All events and activities are held in the Placement Center (unless otherwise noted).


JobLIST Placement & Career Development Center Hours

Saturday & Sunday
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.



8:30 a.m.
 - 9:00 a.m.

This orientation is intended for people who are not familiar with the ALA JobLIST Placement & Career Development Center. We will walk around the Center and discuss the available services and activities. Both employers and job seekers are welcome to attend. Staff will be available to answer your questions.


Career Counseling

Saturday & Sunday,  9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Recharge your career by meeting with a professional career coach. She can guide you in strategizing for the next phase of your career, solving a problem in your current job situation, defining goals, and/or rejuvenating your career. Each one-on-one session is 20 minutes, and is completely confidential.

If you have never experienced career counseling, or just haven't used this type of service in a long time, this is the perfect opportunity to either introduce yourself to or reacquaint yourself with a service that can be useful throughout your career. Take advantage of the opportunity to talk with a knowledgeable professional about your career concerns. This service is free and available whenever the Placement Center is open.

Sign up now through Sign up Genius

Sign-up form will be available when we get closer to the conference.

You also have the option of going to the Placement Center on-site to sign-up for a time slot. However, appointments go quickly, so consider signing up in advance using the online sign-up form.


Mock Interviews

Saturday, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
and Sunday, 10:30am - 12:00pm

Will you be interviewing for a job soon? Haven’t interviewed in a while? Are you a bit anxious about interviewing and want to practice? Or, have you been granted interviews but no job offers, and wondering why? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may need help improving your interviewing skills. Stop by the ALA JobLIST Placement & Career Development Center. Human resource professionals and hiring managers will be available to conduct brief mock interviews and give constructive comments. Take advantage of this opportunity to get real feedback in a non-stressful situation from those who are knowledgeable about the hiring process. Advance sign-up will be available soon. We will also accept walk-ins if interviewers are available.

On-the-Fly Mentoring

Saturday, 9:00am - 12:00pm
and Sunday, 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Looking for some professional guidance and advice while at the ALA Midwinter Meeting? If so, you should stop by the Placement Center for the ACRL - University Libraries Section's "On-the-Fly" Mentoring to talk with an experienced librarian about any and all aspects of your career. Mentoring sessions are available by appointment and on a first-come, first-served drop-in basis.

Open House/Job Fair  small gold star with a smiling face in the middle

9:00am - 10:30am    

Employers will be available to talk to conference attendees about their institutions. You do not have to be an active job seeker to attend. Conference attendees can feel free to walk around and talk to employers. No appointment necessary. See the Recruiters at Conference page to see the participating employers. Employers who want to participate should send an email to: using the text 'Open House' as the subject line. There is no cost to participate.


Photography Service

Saturday & Sunday
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

An exciting service is now part of the Placement Center. The ALA JobLIST Placement & Career Development Center offers all attendees the opportunity to have a "headshot" photo package created. Any attendee can sign-up for an appointment with ALA's conference photography team to have a professional photo taken and set of digital images created for the attendees' use in job applications, social media and other networking opportunities. Sign-up when we get closer to conference.

Photos will be taken in the Center on Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Appointments can be made in advance and onsite. For advance appointments, use the online sign-up form.

There is a nominal fee of $20 which can be paid either in advance with a check or money order, or onsite with cash, money order or check only. All advance payments must be received two weeks prior to the start of conference.

To pay in advance, complete the registration form and mail it along with payment made payable to the American Library Association to the following address: ALA/HRDR, c/o  Placement Photo Service, 225 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60601.

Sign Up now through Sign up Genius

Resume Review Service

Saturday & Sunday
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

If you need help getting your resume polished, stop by the Center while you are at conference. Come and discover the best way to show your most recent accomplishments with an updated resume.

The NMRT Resume Review Service Committee offers free resume reviews in the Placement & Career Development Center. In order to best accommodate the demand, resume reviews are conducted by appointment. Appointments will be taken on-site, but we strongly encourage those interested to sign-up will be available soon for an appointment. Appointments tend to book up quickly.


Career Development Workshops (CDW)

Listed below are the sessions that will be held in the ALA JobLIST Placement & Career Development Center (unless otherwise noted). There is no cost to attend. Registration is not required. Please return to this page often, as more details will be added as we get closer to the conference.

The schedule of sessions will be updated for the ALA 2021 Midwinter Meeting later in the year.


9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Mid-Career Options: What's Next for You?

Congratulations! You’re now a professional at mid-career. Whether you’ve been in the field for quite a while or you’ve entered it after transitioning from another field, you have certainly gained many years of experience, savvy and knowledge. So, what’s next for you? Some people at mid-career are still full of passion for their work. Others may feel a bit burned out. Some are curious about options for using their experience beyond the role they hold now. Wherever you are in your hopes, concerns and aspirations for your career right now, this session is for you. Join us as we address the concerns that many have at mid-career and look at your possibilities for continuing to grow from this point forward. There are dozens of ways to renew your passion for the field and to truly make a difference in the work you do. Let’s explore the ways you can grow and flourish at mid-career!


About the Presenter: Dr. Caitlin Williams, Ph.D.


Caitlin Williams, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and professional development consultant. She has spent the last thirty years working in the field of career development through writing, speaking, coaching, and teaching. Caitlin has had the honor of conducting career coaching for ALA attendees at is twice-yearly conferences since 2000. She has also presented and contributed numerous articles and podcast to ALA. She has written two previous books on career and workplace topics (one title has been translated into Korean). Caitlin is retired from teaching at San Jose State University, and she is looking forward to new adventures and opportunities!


10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Real Stress Management

There’s no denying that working in a library today can be quite stressful. Join us for some stress management ideas for library staff that go beyond the typical advice of doing yoga and watching funny movies. Our presenter will share an effective stress management plan that includes four main strategies:

  • Preparing for a stressful event or day;
  • Finding respite to re-energize during the workday;
  • Repairing the physical and emotional damage during and after difficult times; and
  • Preventing unhealthy stress with better choices.

The presenter explains that the key to success is to customize strategies with techniques that fit your lifestyle and work culture. We’ll discuss concepts that can be applied at home and work. We’ll also address what leaders and managers can do to lower unhealthy stress levels in the workplace and identify mistakes even good supervisors make, such as letting people sit at their desks all day. You’ll discover what you can do for yourself and for those you manage.

About the Presenter: Pat Wagner, Pattern Research, Inc.

Pat Wagner, a management consultant and instructional producer has been a trainer, educator, and consultant for 40 years, having worked with clients in 49 states and Canada. Pat focuses on those skills that support productivity, workplace relationships, and career advancement, from personnel issues to strategic planning to professional development. She draws from a dozen academic disciplines and decades of hands-on experience. Clients like her practical and good-humored approach.


1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Insider Tips on Applying for Library Jobs

Gain an insider's perspective on the library recruitment process. Get tips on how to make your application stand out. Discover what impresses search committees. Find out how to be your own best advocate for professional development and career advancement. Explore negotiation strategies to ensure you get the most out of your offer package. All questions are welcome!

Presenter: Dan Hoppe, Associate Executive Director of Human Resources, American Library Association




3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Personal Branding for a Virtual World

Social media has gained notoriety over the years and can be an effective tool whether you are looking for a job, making a job change or find yourself unemployed. When used correctly, social media can help to increase the number of job opportunities you will have and allow you to network with individuals and perspective employers. However, personal branding is about more than social media access. When you understand the true value of personal branding, you can use it as a serious career development strategy. Attend this session to discover how to be clear about your digital brand and your unique value. Discover how to leverage this knowledge to propel your career forward while increasing your possibilities for success.

Presenter: Adriane Alicea



11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Job Search Strategies for Today's Market

The number one goal for many of us, whether we are fresh out of library school or not, is finding a job. Not just any job – we want a job that we like, that we can grow in and learn from and feel proud of, a job that will enhance our skill sets and propel our careers. But the process of finding a job can be a difficult one and, at times, a long and treacherous journey. What worked ten years ago, won’t work today. Join us for this hands-on workshop where we will give you the tools to help you organize an effective search. Walk away feeling confident and prepared to get noticed (in a good way) by recruiters.

About the Presenters: Susanne Markgren and Linda Miles

Photo of Susanne MarkgrenSusanne Markgren is the Assistant Director of the Library for Technical Services at Manhattan College, in Riverdale, NY. She has worked in libraries (academic, public, and special) for more than twenty years, and has written articles, book reviews, essays, and chapters for a variety of publications. Her co-authored book, Career Q&A: A Librarian’s Real-Life, Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career, came out in 2013. She received her MLIS from the University of Texas at Austin, and her MFA in creative writing from Manhattanville College.


Photo of Linda MilesLinda Miles is an Assistant Professor and Librarian at Hostos Community College – City University of New York. Recent publications include “Egalitarian Teams in Action: Organizing for Library Initiatives” (Urban Library Journal), and a contribution to Career Transitions for Librarians: Proven Strategies for Moving to Another Type of Library. Linda received her MLS from St. John’s University, and her PhD in theatre history and criticism from the University of Texas at Austin.



1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Professional Etiquette 101 [Advance registration required]

You’re a library worker. You already know how to help those in your community find health information. As a library worker, what are you doing to manage your own well-being? Individual and community well-being are inherently connected. Thus, it is critical that workplaces be areas of wellness for their employees. If you are a supervisor, how are you helping to ensure your staff stays healthy (physically, emotionally, etc.)? Join us to discover practical ways to improve your own personal well-being. We will also discuss ways to increase overall wellness for all staff in libraries so that we have happy, healthy and safe work environments.

About the Presenters: Beatrice Calvin and Kimberly Redd

Photo of Beatrice CalvinBeatrice Calvin is the manager for professional development in the ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR) and the ALA-Allied Professional Association. She holds an MA in Counseling and is a certified career development facilitator. She has managed the ALA Placement and Career Development Center for many years. She also serves as the editor of Library Worklife, the online newsletter for human resource professionals and others who work in libraries.


Photo of Kimberly L. Redd Kimberly L. Redd, Program Manager for Certification & Talent Development has worked for the American Library Association for over 30 years. She has a master's in Hospitality Management from Roosevelt University in Chicago. For the past 10 years, she has managed the ALA Scholarship program. She is also the program manager for the Library Support Staff and the Certified Public Library Administrator certification programs for the ALA-APA. Kimberly is the staff liaison for the ALA Scholarship & Study Grant committee, ALA Associates program, ALA Scholars Program, Lois Ann Gregory-Wood Fellows and the New Members Round Table.



3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Mindful Librarianship

Mindfulness in the workplace is more than a trend. It is a highly beneficial practice that can support positive productivity and improve emotional clarity. Join us for this interactive session where we will share the benefits of mindfulness and provide real strategies for how to use this practice in your daily life. You will learn simple ways to practice self-care, team up with colleagues, and discover techniques that can have a lasting impact on your mental health and general well-being. 

About the Presenter: Bobbi Newman

Photo of Bobbi NewmanBobbi Newman, MLIS, MA; Community Engagement and Outreach Specialist, National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), Greater Midwest Region (GMR), Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, University of Iowa





For more information on the ALA JobLIST Placement & Career Development Center activities, send an email to:

This page is maintained by the ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR).


Last revised June 25, 2020