ALA Connect Live Series

ALA Connect Live

In times of uncertainty, connection and conversation are more important than ever. This is what inspired the ALA Executive Board to launch a series of conversations with you, our membership community. Initially a focus of President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. to connect with members, ALA Connect Live is an opportunity to bring the ALA family and library community together to discuss our issues and challenges.

These town hall-inspired conversations allow for an open dialogue with the Executive Board and with your fellow library professionals.

Next ALA Connect Live: DEI Perspectives

November 18, 2021, 1:00pm CT / 11:00am PT


As the first ALA President of Chinese American heritage, Patty Wong chose the theme of Libraries Connect — across our diverse backgrounds, experiences, and futures  for — her presidential year. During this period of such rapid demographic changes on a national scale, it is imperative that library professionals connect to one another through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the ALA’s fundamental values. November's ALA Connect Live event will feature a conversation facilitated by Dr. Nicole Cooke about equity, diversity, and inclusion through the lens of programs, initiatives, and scholarships that are impactful, meaningful, and actionable. Dr. Cooke, the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair and an Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina, will be joined by Ray Pun, President of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), and Pambanisha Whaley, Head of User Services at Vassar College Libraries

Guest Speakers:

  • Dr. Nicole Cooke is the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair and as Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina.
  • Ray Pun (he/him) is the President of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), and currently on the ALA Committees on Library Advocacy and International Relations. He is the Education and Outreach Manager at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Stanford University.
  • Pambanisha Whaley is the Head of User Services at Vassar College Libraries. She has been an academic librarian for over 18 years and her research interests include: workplace incivility, library residency programs, and resource sharing.

ALA Key Resources:


Submit your questions in advance on any topic of interest to you.


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View video recordings of past events:

September 2021 - LIS Call to Action

Current and recent Spectrum Scholars Mimosa Shah and Randy Heath and LIS educator Dr. Maurice Wheeler  talked with ALA President Patty Wong about how they’ve jumped into the relevant conversations, gotten involved in the work of envisioning the future of the profession, and discussed what we can do to actively change the internal culture of the places where we work and how our work experience in libraries informs how we champion social justice and EDI issues in our communities.

Guest speakers:

  • Dr. Maurice Wheeler, Associate Professor, Department of Information Science, College of Information, University of North Texas.
  • Ms. Mimosa Shah, 2020-2021 Spectrum Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Chair of ALA's Public and Cultural Program Advisory Committee, and member of the Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Advisory Board for the Museum Computer Network.
  • Mr. Randy Heath, 2021-2022 Spectrum Scholar and University of South Carolina Augusta Baker Scholar, and Branch Manager, Edgewood Branch, Richland Library, Columbia, South Carolina.

Useful resources:

May 2021 - Passing the Gavel

President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. and President-Elect Patty Wong sat down for an engaging and thoughtful conversation about their presidential years. President Jefferson reflected on his unexpected year leading the association through the pandemic and President-Elect Wong gave attendees a glimpse into the priorities of the association for the upcoming year. This session celebrated past successes and challenges, and offered members the opportunity to be inspired by the road into the future. This was the final episode of President Jefferson’s ALA Connect Live program.

April 2021 - Library Marketing and Outreach

President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. leads this discussion about library marketing and outreach and we hear from innovators across the country who are using new tools to connect to their audiences. Joining the conversation are ALA Communications and Marketing Office Director Stephanie Hlywak, who will talk about ALA’s approach to public awareness, as well as John Schaffer – better known as the viral sensation Curbside Larry—library TikToker Sara Vickers, who chronicles days at the Woodland Public Library (and Henrietta, the library cat who lives there), Natalie Kiburg, Social Media Specialist at Gail Borden Public Library District (Elgin, IL), and Ashley Cooksey, from University of Central Arkansas (Conway, AK).

March 2021 - Leveraging Partnerships with Chapters

President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. and ALA Chapter leaders came together to discuss the positive impact that state and national partnerships have on libraries and library workers. This ALA Connect Live session features three success stories from the last year where we worked together to protect two fundamental rights of libraries – equity, diversity and inclusion and intellectual freedom – as well as to advocate for libraries during these challenging times.


February 2021 - Sustainable Development

Join President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. for the first ALA Connect Live program of 2021 taking place on February 25, 2021. ALA recognizes the important and unique role libraries play in wider community conversations about resiliency, climate change, a sustainable future, and what libraries themselves can do. This extends to being part of global initiatives to achieve sustainable development. Listen to learn about ALA efforts and new resources for you - and how you and your library can be change agents. This important ALA Connect Live included Loida Garcia-Febo, Chair of the ALA Task Force on UN Sustainable Development Goal and Casey Conlin, Coordinator, SustainRT.

February 2021 ALA Connect Live Slides

Recording Passcode: B%O!8L?.

November 2020 - LIS Student Segment

November's ALA Connect Live program was geared specifically towards ALA Student Members and LIS Students. ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. was joined by fellow leaders from the association who spoke to the employment outlook in various library settings and various library roles. Panelists included:

  • Ramiro Salazar, Past President, Public Library Association and Director of the San Antonio Public Library
  • Kathy Carroll, Lead Library Media Specialist at Westwood High School, South Carolina and President, American Association of School Librarians
  • Jon Cawthorne, Phd, Dean of Wayne State University Library System and School of Information Sciences in Detroit, MI, and President, Association of College and Research Librarians
  • Kirby McCurtis, a regional library director at Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon and President, Association for Library Service to Children.
  • Courtney McDonald, User Experience Librarian and Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Libraries, and President, Reference and User Services Association
  • Christopher Cronin, Associate University Librarian for Collections at Columbia University and President, Core
  • Amanda Barnhart, Branch Manager at the Kansas City Public Library - North-East Branch in Kansas City, MO, and President, Young Adult Library Services Association 
  • Carrie Banks is Supervising Librarian for Inclusive Services at Brooklyn Public Library in New York and President, Association of Specialized, Government, and Cooperative Library Agencies (dissolved as a division of ALA in September).
  • Jennifer Wilhelm, Business Librarian at Texas A&M University Libraries, and a representative from the New Member Round Table.

Here is a list of leadership recommendations for personal growth. This bibliography was selected by Dr. Jon Cawthorne, PhD, President of the Association of College & Research Librarians (ACRL) - Personal Growth/Leadership Bibliography

October 2020 - COVID-19 and REALM Project Update

President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. focused on the COVID-19 Research Project conducted by OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and Battelle. The REALM Project (REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums) is conducting research on how long the COVID-19 virus survives on materials that are prevalent in libraries, archives, and museums and is currently in phase 5 of their testing. The project will draw upon the research to produce authoritative, science-based information on how—or if— materials can be handled to mitigate exposure to staff and visitors. Joining the conversation - R. Crosby Kemper III, Director, IMLS and Sharon Streams Director, WebJunction from OCLC about this research.

Recording Passcode: aC+Xy7*e

September 2020 - Intellectual Freedom

President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr focused on intellectual freedom and celebrating the freedom to read for this session. President Jefferson was joined by Freedom to Read Foundation President, Barbara Stripling and ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee Chair, Martin L. Garnar for this program - scheduled the week prior to Banned Books Week. Click here for a preview of a complimentary resource for members, Banned Books: Defending Our Freedom to Read by Robert P. Doyle.

Recording Passcode: i3AZbS&p

August 2020 - Reopening

ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. lead the discussion on reopening and recovery initiatives within libraries. With the academic school year kicking off, you’re invited to gather with fellow members and ALA leadership to discuss how libraries are approaching reopening during the coronavirus. President Jefferson will be joined by American Association of School Librarians (AASL) President Kathy Carroll and Public Library Association (PLA) President Michelle Jeske to talk about reopening plans in their library sectors.

Recording Password: 8$fnr&Xr

August 2020 Transcript


July 2020 - Holding Space

President Jefferson will be joined by ALA’s Executive Director Tracie Hall and ACRL President Jon E. Cawthorne to review our recent actions on EDI. He will also share his vision for his upcoming Holding Space tour and the role that the tour plays in building relationships and embracing the diversity of the library community.

Recording Password: 2jdgKhA!

July 2020 Transcript

June 2020 - Virtual Inaugural Event for ALA Member Leaders

A special edition of ALA Connect Live honoring incoming ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., ALA President-elect, newly elected Executive Board Members, and incoming Division Presidents at this virtual inaugural event.

May 2020 - COVID-19 and the Well-being of Library Workers

Covering topics like the work of ALA and its sister organization ALA-APA in addressing library workers’ well-being during the pandemic, the projects of IMLS and other partners as libraries look toward reopening, and additional resources available for all members of the profession.

April 2020 - COVID-19 and the Library Community Response

2019-20 ALA President Wanda Brown joined by Tracie D. Hall, ALA Executive Director; Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., ALA President-Elect; Kathi Kromer, Associate Executive Director, Public Policy and Advocacy; and other ALA member and staff leaders who will provide updates on:

  • The ALA Executive Board’s actions in response to the pandemic
  • Advocacy on the Hill