ALA begins a new tradition with the first-ever LibLearnX
For Immediate Release
American Library Association
CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) hosted the first LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience (LLX) conference online, Jan. 21-24, 2022. LibLearnX is a completely new conference experience, built from the ground up based on years of research, exploration, and most importantly, input from library professionals. The 2022 conference was intentionally designed as a benefit for ALA Members, with an opportunity to learn, network, and celebrate. The event attracted 2,100+ participants and 66 exhibiting organizations. The conference, originally scheduled to take place in San Antonio, Texas, was redirected to a virtual offering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LibLearnX offered education for library professionals by library professionals with more than 110 live and on-demand education sessions in various learning engagement formats and topics. As a result, attendees were able to learn best practices and gather innovative ideas to promptly take back to their libraries for immediate implementation. A sample of highly attended education sessions included Trauma in the Library; Advancing Race and Social Equity in Library Communications; How to Think Like a Library Project Manager to Execute Your Ideas; Problematic Authors and Their Works — An Intellectual Freedom Q&A; Creating a Library Usability Service for Online Learning; Take this Job and Shove It: The Great Quit Movement; and 3 Reasons Your DEI Programs are not Working.
LibLearnX general sessions gave considerable focus to social justice, equality, and advocacy issues. In the Opening Session, ALA President Patricia “Patty” Wong was joined by U.S. Senator, Hawaii, Mazie K. Hirono, in conversation. The motivating session touched on themes of Asian American leadership, the immigrant experience, and women’s role in positions of power. Both women represent important firsts for the organizations they represent. Hirono is the first female senator to represent Hawaii and the only first-generation immigrant to serve in the Senate; she was born in Japan and came to the US with her mother when she was 8 years old. Wong is the first Asian American president of ALA. Senator Hirono discussed her memoir, “Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter’s Story,” and her unconventional, groundbreaking path that led her to hold one of the country’s highest offices.
ALA President Patricia “Patty” Wong and ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall hosted and moderated “Innovative Approaches to EDI in Texas Libraries,” a live panel session from San Antonio, Texas. The panel featured four library leaders from the lone star state of Texas, including Tamiko Brown, library coordinator, Fort Bend International District; Dean Hendrix, dean of libraries, University of Texas at San Antonio, Shirley Robinson, executive director, Texas Library Association; and Ramiro Salazar, director, San Antonio Public Library. An additional Texas highlight was the panel session, “Being a Queer Librarian in Texas: Expectation vs. Reality," presented by the ALA Rainbow RoundTable.” The session included LGBTQIA+ librarians, working in various types of libraries and communities across Texas. The panelists shared their experiences compared to the public assumption of being an out, queer professional in a southern, mostly conservative state.
Activist, athlete, and author of the picture book "I Color Myself Different," available April 2022, Colin Kaepernick closed LibLearnX with a heartfelt “thank you” message to librarians for being “community anchors” and unshakable stewards of knowledge. In the unforgettable and very well-received session, he challenged librarians to rethink some of the library systems and practices to ensure libraries are spaces where all Black and Brown people feel that they belong.
LibLearnX offered an exciting roster of inspiring speakers who discussed their new and upcoming books. They included young adult authors, Angeline Boulley, storyteller and author of “Firekeeper’s Daughter;” Cicely Lewis, co-founder of ReadWoke™ Books and author of “Mass Incarceration, Black Men, and the Fight for Justice” and “Resistance to Slavery: From Escape to Everyday Rebellion;” Mariko Tamaki, comic book writer and author of “Cold: A Novel;” Charly Palmer, fine artist, illustrator, and author of “The Legend of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale;” Jacqueline Woodson, four-time Newbery Honoree, three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner, and author of “The World Belonged to Us” and “The Year We Learned to Fly;” and Kelly Yang, bestselling author of “New From Here.” Actress, comedian, and author Molly Shannon talked about her book “Hello Molly: A Memoir,” as well as her new role as National Library Week honorary chair. Shannon shared the difficult process of writing her memoir, specifically the chapter detailing the tragic car accident that defined her childhood, a tragedy that claimed the lives of her mother, baby sister, and a cousin, and left her grieving father to raise her. She hopes that the book will be inspiring and offer a sense of resilience to readers.
In the Library Marketplace, LibLearnX attendees were able to visit with 66 participating exhibitors and attend exhibitor Spotlight sessions, featuring authors and presented by leading publishers.
For many members of the library community and beyond, the celebrations and awards that have become central to ALA January gatherings were the ALA Youth Media Awards, honoring the top books, digital media, video, and audiobooks for children and young adults—including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery, and Printz awards, and The I Love My Librarian Awards, celebrating 10 outstanding winners whose exemplary service positively impacted their communities. This year’s award recipients included three academic librarians, four public librarians, and three school librarians. Additional celebrations included the RUSA Book & Media Awards, featuring the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence, and the 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration.
All LibLearnX registrants will have access to conference content until Feb. 28, 2022.
Additional information can be found on the 2022 LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience website and social media: ALA Twitter, ALA Facebook, and Instagram.
Media with further inquiries may contact Macey Morales, deputy director, ALA Communications and Marketing Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.