United for Libraries programs and events at the ALA 2021 Annual Conference Virtual Event

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Author events
Live programs
On-demand/recorded programs

Author events

Note: These author events will be presented LIVE during the Conference.

Gala Author Tea sponsored by Data Axle Reference Solutions  
Thursday, June 24 at 12:15 p.m. Central 
Enjoy your beverage of choice while hearing from writers about their forthcoming titles! Lauren Groff (“Matrix”), Jeffrey Archer (“Over My Dead Body”), Josh Ritter (“The Great Glorious Goddamn of it All”), Courttia Newland (“A River Called Time”), and Ryka Aoki (“Light from Uncommon Stars”) will discuss their writing lives and forthcoming books. 2022-23 ALA President Lessa Pelayo-Lozada will moderate.

Reads Like Fiction: Nonfiction You Can’t Put Down 
Friday, June 25 at 1 p.m. Central
Preview the most compelling forthcoming nonfiction titles in this riveting panel. Featured authors will include Rafia Zakaria (“Against White Feminism”), Sarah Ruhl (“Smile: The Story of a Face”), Marlo Mack (“How To Be A Girl”), and Cheryl and Bobby Love (“The Redemption of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice”). Booklist Advisory Board Member James Tyner, adult programming librarian at Fresno County (CA) Public Library, will moderate.

It’s a Mystery to Me 
Saturday, June 26 at 10:30 a.m. Central
Check out the latest mysteries and thrillers by Wiley Cash (“When Ghosts Come Home”), Vera Kurian (“Never Saw Me Coming”), Bracken MacLeod (“Closing Costs”), and Hannah Morrissey (“Hello, Transcriber”). Booklist Advisory Board Member Brian Kenney, director of the White Plains (N.Y.) Public Library, will moderate.

Isn’t it Romantic 
Saturday, June 26 at 1 p.m. Centra
Bestselling romance authors Marcella Bell (“The Wildest Ride”), Abby Jimenez (“Life’s too Short”), Sonya Lalli (“A Holly Jolly Diwali”), and Xio Axelrod ("The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes") will discuss their books in United for Libraries’ Isn’t it Romantic? Susan Maguire, Booklist senior editor of Collection Development & Outreach, will moderate.

First Author, First Book 
Mon., June 28, 11:30 a.m. Central 
Preview the season's most anticipated debut novels. Natasha Brown (“Assembly”), Emily Itami (“Fault Lines”), Shruti Swamy (“The Archer”), and Nita Prose (“The Maid”) will discuss their forthcoming titles. Barbara Hoffert, editor of Library Journal’s Prepub Alert, will moderate.


Live programs for Trustees, Friends, and Foundations

Ask the Experts: Boards of Trustees 
Thursday, June 24 at 2:15 p.m. Central 
A panel of experts will address common issues that arise among library Boards and how to solve them. Panelists will present two in-depth scenarios, provide tips and best practices, and answer questions from attendees. During a "lightning round" session, speakers will field questions from registrants. Submit a question at www.ala.org/united/experts. Due to time limitations, not all questions will be answered live. Attendees will receive a list of suggested resources for the presented in-depth scenarios.

President's Program - Challenges & Crises: Preparing Your Board of Trustees
Friday, June 25, 2021 at 10 a.m. Central
What training and preparation does your Board of Trustees need to be prepared for a crisis? Do your policies properly address intellectual freedom issues? How do you handle it when a board member speaks against a board decision? What happens when a board member's values clash with a board decision? Learn how to be proactive in developing a well-prepared board, and what best practices, policies, and procedures need to be developed or revisited. A panel of experts will include a library director and a member of that library's Board of Trustees.

Gift Acceptance Policies Part 1: When "Free" Isn't Free (United for Libraries Learning Live)
Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at 11 a.m. Central
When it comes to donations to the library, "free" isn't free. Find out how to craft or revise your library or group's gift acceptance policy. Participants will learn how to ensure they are prepared for navigating how to handle proposed gifts and donations. The presenters will conduct a Q&A session, so bring your questions on this topic. This session of United for Libraries' monthly Learning Live series, usually for members only, will be free and open to all attendees of the ALA Annual Conference.


On-demand/recorded programs

Book Clubs Strengthen Community and Celebrate Diversity

Using book clubs to promote diversity and inclusion in your community through literature can enhance your library’s outreach. Join Penguin Random House Library Marketing and prominent librarians, Allison Escoto of The Center for Fiction and Sharon Fason of Chicago Public Library, for a discussion on diversity in programming. Then top off the session by hearing from an exciting panel of four authors, whose books are excellent examples of literature that will inspire dialogue and raise awareness.

Learning Objectives:

  • Upon completion, participants will have ideas to create book clubs which both entertain and inspire their communities to embrace diversity in their own communities.
  • Through this program, participants will have actionable ideas, suggestions and books to create engaging book club conversations which will bring broader understanding to honor diverse experiences.
  • Upon completion, the participants will have immediate applicable skills to organize, lead and affect change in their communities through introducing and honoring diverse voices and experiences.

Governing a Crisis: Tips for Boards during Emergencies and Disasters
A crisis for the library can take many forms: Pandemic, Natural Disaster, Crime, Civil Unrest, and even Personnel Problems and Community Disagreement. What are the policies that a board can put in place to prepare for the onset of a period when "Normal" is no longer available? How can a board and director communicate, manage staff, care for facilities, communicate with the community and even keep the checkbook available during a disaster? What are the legal obligations of the library during a crisis? What are the possible liabilities? As the governing bodies of public libraries, trustees have an obligation to make plans for handling the affairs of a library during a crisis, including ensuring that the director is informed and empowered. This session will provide a checklist of policies and preparations to assist boards in understanding and managing events that disrupt normal libray operations.

Learning Objectives:

  • Upon completion, participant will be able to revise their existing preparedness plans to be prepared to respond to a variety of emergencies.
  • Upon completion, participant will be able to identify their own role and responsibilities in an emergency and how their actions affect the ability of others to complete their own responsibilities.
  • Upon completion, participant will be able to develop institutional knowledge of emergency response that can survive trustee and director succession and turnover.

Library Budgeting: Working with What You Have and Advocating for What You Need
Libraries are struggling with reduced budgets, staff layoffs, furloughs, and increased expenses due to COVID-19. Library boards are faced with fighting off budget cuts and finding new, alternative funding. Advocacy is key, however, it has to occur in tandem with copying with the short-term needs and unpopular decisions. Hear from a panel of speakers about their experiences.

Learning Objectives:

  • Upon completion, participant will be able to identify opportunities in their community for networking to advocate for their library.
  • Upon completion, participant will be able to use the experience of other libraries to plan for the budget and advocacy needs in their own community.
  • Upon completion, participant will be able to define and state specific funding needs in a language that resonated with funders, decision makers, and community partners

Making the Case for Your Library: Creating Board and Community Champions

If your library board, Friends Group, and Foundation are advocating at the budget hearing, it's too late! The reality is that advocacy and public awareness are a year-round process. Struggling to get your boards to advocate? Learn about United for Libraries' new training program to help boards integrate a culture of advocacy into on-boarding, monthly meetings, and annual board self-evaluation. The program will incorporate best practices, activities and hands-on exercises, and strategic methods to get your boards to advocate year-round.

Learning Objectives:

  • Upon completion, participant will be able to articulate to library boards, Friends Groups, and Foundations the importance of year-round advocacy and public awareness.
  • Upon completion, participant will be able to plan a series of activities and exercises to integrate into board meetings for training in advocacy and public awareness.
  • Upon completion, participant will be able to identify best practices for integrating advocacy and public awareness into on-boarding and annual board self-evaluation.