News You Can Use

New You Can Use sessions offer the latest updates from experts on policy, research, statistics, technology, and more, based on new surveys, reports, legislation/regulation, and projects. 

Session titles are hyper-linked to the ALA Midwinter Meeting Scheduler and will open in a new tab/window. 

Saturday January 25th 

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Intellectual Freedom and the Law: Social Media, First Amendment Audits, and the Library as a Public Forum
Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom; Theresa Chmara, General Counsel, Freedom to Read Foundation
Do you know what the law says about the public library’s ability to regulate and moderate comments and posts on the library’s social media sites? Can “First Amendment Auditors” film library patrons with impunity? This program will explore the current case law addressing public libraries’ responsibilities with respect to moderating social media as well as the ability of libraries to manage and regulate photography and recording activities inside the library. Learn how to minimize your library’s exposure to litigation if your library has a social media site open to the public or if an individual claims a right to film inside the library. There will be time set aside for your questions about these topics and any other questions concerning intellectual freedom and the law.

Research Practitioner Partnerships (RPPs) in School Library Research: Report form the Third CLASS Forum
Marcia Mardis, Associate Professor, College of Communication & Information at Florida State University; Sue Kimmel, Professor, Old Dominion University; Dr. Barbara Schultz-Jones, Associate Professor, College of Information at the University of North Texas
The Third CLASS Research Forum on Thursday, January 23, 2020 in Philadelphia prior to the American Library Association Midwinter Conference focused on CLASS II, a recent effort to surface causal research findings from education research regarding positive learner outcomes that can be enacted by a school librarian. This research included an aggregation of findings from almost four decades of high quality published causal research; a distillation of effective practices potentially translatable to school librarianship; implementation of small scale field-based applications; and the building of testable conjectures that relate educational research to school library practice. A report of CLASS II findings regarding learners, school librarians, and school libraries was peer reviewed during the forum. This session will include Research Forum highlights, including excerpts from Dr. Annie Allen's (University of Colorado at Boulder) keynote address, and forthcoming research report features. CLASS II researchers will engage participants with ways to get involved with this important, ongoing work.

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

2020 Census: How Libraries Can Support a Complete Count (ALA Public Policy & Advocacy Office)
Larra Clark, Deputy Director, Public Library Association and ALA Public Policy & Advocacy Office (Moderator); Burton Reist, Assistant Director for Communications, U.S. Census Bureau; Ana Ndumu, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland College Park, College of Information Studies; Kelvin Watson, Director of Libraries, Broward County (FL) Libraries Division
The 2020 Census will begin in March and the results will shape economic and political opportunity for the next decade. More than $800 billion in federal funds will be allocated to states and communities based on the census results every year for the next decade – along with seats for every level of government, from Congress to local school boards. Learn what libraries are doing in communities around the country to help achieve an accurate and inclusive count in the 2020 Census, from providing accurate information about the Census to providing computers and internet for residents to respond online.

Introducing the ALA/AASL/CAEP School Librarian Preparation Standards
Elizabeth A. Burns, Assistant Professor, Old Dominion University (moderator); April Dawkins, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina- Greensboro; Gail Dickinson, Associate Dean, Old Dominion University; Audrey Church, Professor, Longwood University; Mona Kirby, Professor, McDaniel College; Sherry Crow, Professor, University of Nebraska
This session presents the revised ALA/AASL/CAEP School Librarian Preparation Standards which replace the previous 2010 Standards for the Initial Preparation of School Librarians. These updated standards will be used to guide programs that prepare future school librarians and as the standards by which school library preparation programs are reviewed for AASL National Recognition. Members of the AASL-CAEP Coordinating Committee who worked on this revision will discuss the process used to develop the new standards, highlight the changes, discuss implementation of the new standards, and field questions from the audience.

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Meeting Communities at Their Point of Need: Libraries as Trusted Partners (IMLS)
Teri DeVoe, Associate Deputy Director, Grants to States, Institute of Museum and Library Services; Leesa Aiken, Director, South Carolina State Library; Beverly Cain, State Librarian, State Library of Ohio; James Lonergan, Director, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
In its latest strategic plan, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) points to libraries as trusted spaces and sources of information, which enables them to meet community needs around learning, capacity building, and information access. This session will showcase examples in three states, where libraries are building on trusted relationships through IMLS grant-funded projects to meet users at their point of need. From community dialogs to programs focused on health epidemics and citizenship, participants will hear how libraries are tackling the hard issues. IMLS and State Library panelists will also share how these investments support their long-range planning.

Intercept: A New Opportunity for Library Event Management
Phillip Higgins, Director of Marketing & Digital Strategy, Richland Library; Diana Keane, Project Coordinator, Richland Library
Library programming is one of the most important – and cutting edge – services that libraries can offer. But how can libraries make data-driven decisions to improve programming for their community? Richland Library’s Intercept ( is an open source application to better plan for programs, capture attendance information, and get direct feedback from customers. Bonus, Intercept’s algorithm pushes event recommendations to customers based on activity. Intercept is made by a library for libraries. Learn more about this project and how your library can start to plan for Intercept.

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Diversity Research Update (ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services)
Join us for an update on projects recently funded through ALA's Diversity Research Grant program. This session will also offer tips and advice for undertaking research on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion within library and information science as well as resources for applying for funding.

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

ACRL/SPARC Scholarly Communication Forum
Through its standing Research and Scholarly Environment Committee, ACRL sponsors a regular forum at both the ALA Midwinter Meeting and ALA Annual Conference to broaden the base of librarians who are knowledgeable about and engaged in scholarly communication issues. The highly popular forum series is cosponsored by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). The topic and speakers are chosen 60 to 90 days before the conference, based on issues that are most relevant at that time.

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

From Non-Voters to New Voters: How Libraries Can Engage their Communities in the 2020 Elections and Beyond (ALA Public Policy & Advocacy Office and ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services)
Nancy Kranich, Lecturer and Special Projects Librarian, Rutgers University (Moderator); Kendra Cochran, Statewide Voter Engagement Coordinator, POWER: Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild; Maggie Bush, Programs and Outreach Director, League of Women Voters of the US; Abby Kiesa, Director of Impact, CIRCLE: the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement; Jean M. Canosa Albano, Assistant Director for Public Services, Springfield (MA) City Library; Michelle Francis, Executive Director, Ohio Library Council
Millions of Americans go unheard in our elections because they don’t vote. Young people, people of color, and people with lower incomes and education levels have particularly lower rates of voter participation. However, innovative programs have found successful ways to promote engagement among these potential voters. Hear from voting experts and libraries about how your library can deliver nonpartisan information and programs that advance equitable participation in the upcoming 2020 elections and beyond – and why now is a great time to start!

Sunday January 26th

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Introducing the Services for Refugees, Immigrants, and Displaced Persons Committee
Nicanor Diaz, Immigrant Services Manager, Denver Public Library; Anna Kozlowska, Assistant Professor and Liaison Librarian, University of Illinois at Chicago
The Services for Refugees, Immigrants, and Displaced Persons (SRIDP) Sub-Committee of the ODLOS Advisory Committee supports and promotes ALA, libraries, and communities to ensure that libraries provide the best possible services to support refugees, immigrants, and displaced persons. Join us as we introduce who we are and the work we are doing. Share ideas about how we can improve services for refugees, immigrants, and displaced persons. 

Co-Constructing Disaster Response: Researchers and Practitioners Collaborating for Resilience in Small and Rural Libraries
Marcia Mardis, Associate Professor, College of Communication & Information at Florida State University; Sharon Strover, Professor, University of Texas at Austin; Faye Jones, Professor, Florida State University
Researchers from Florida and Texas will report their experiences co-constructing narratives of disaster planning, response, and recovery in the wake of the last 5 years’ regional hurricanes. This session, rich in verbatim data, photos, and other documentation, will detail the process that researchers used to engage as partners in understanding disaster experiences and critically evaluating public librarians’ roles in community resiliency. The session will also include opportunities for audience members to share their own experiences through storytelling and discussion.

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

LITA Top Technology Trends
LITA's premier program on changes and advances in technology. Top Technology Trends features our ongoing roundtable discussion about trends and advances in library technology by a panel of LITA technology experts and thought leaders. The panelists will describe changes and advances in technology that they see having an impact on the library world, and suggest what libraries might do to take advantage of these trends. More information about past programs and the upcoming session is available at the Top Tech Trends site.

Federal Funding Snapshot: Early Literacy Projects (IMLS)
Matt Birnbaum, Supervising Social Scientist, Institute of Museum and Library Services; Jennifer Nelson, Director of State Library Services, Minnesota Department of Education; Timothy Owens, State Librarian, State Library of North Carolina; Robin Westphal, State Librarian, Missouri State Library
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funds over 1,000 projects annually through its Grants to States program, a significant slice of which advance early and family learning. Drawing from annual report data that helps identify patterns, IMLS will share national-level analysis that characterizes variations in early literacy projects, including their beneficiaries, partners, and results. A panel of state perspectives will offer more detailed examples of literacy projects deemed particularly innovative and adaptable. From prenatal storytime workshops to laundromat partners, this snapshot of early literacy projects may inspire your next program or offer insight on how to measure effectiveness.

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Supporting Librarians' Roles in Emergencies and Natural Disasters
Denise R. Lyons, Deputy Director, South Carolina State Library; Caroline Smith, Inclusive Services Consultant, South Carolina State Library; Feili Tu-Keefner, Associate Professor, University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science
Libraries' information and community services take on heightened importance during emergencies and natural disasters. Following devastating flooding and hurricanes in South Carolina and Texas, a team from University of South Carolina's School of Library and Information Science and the South Carolina State Library has taken a more concentrated interest to provide emergency preparedness, communication, and health resources to help libraries and partner agencies better plan for various disasters. How can LIS programs and cooperative organizations and agencies strengthen librarians' abilities to respond in times of crisis. This session will share the project team's findings and resources. 

Library Technology Jobs: Trends and Inclusivity in Hiring (LITA)
Laura Costello, Virtual Reference Librarian, Rutgers University
This joint presentation of LITA's Assessment & Research and Diversity & Inclusion committees focuses on trends in postings to the LITA Jobs Site. The session will focus on new and emerging trends in skills library technology employers are looking for and the types of positions that are currently in demand. It will also explore trends in diversity and inclusion in job postings and best practices for writing job ads that attract a diverse and talented candidate pool. This session is aimed at technology librarians in the job market and employers looking to post and hire new positions in library technology.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

#eBooksForAll Campaign Update
Larra Clark, Deputy Director, Public Library Association and ALA Public Policy & Advocacy Office; Ramiro S. Salazar, Director, San Antonio Public Library; Sari Feldman, Executive Director (retired), Cuyahoga County Public Library; Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries, Multnomah County Library; Alan Inouye, Sr. Dir., Public Policy & Government Relations, American Library Association
Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers restricted library buying to only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks. Join the ALA Public Policy and Advocacy team and member leaders pursuing equitable access to digital content for an update on the #eBooksForAll campaign and a discussion about the digital content landscape. Get the latest news and resources and join the next steps in this critical effort.

Monday January 27th 

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM 

How to Navigate a Divided Congress: Pros and Cons (ALA Public Policy & Advocacy Office)
Kevin Maher, Deputy Director, Government Relations, American Library Association; Alan Inouye, Sr. Dir., Public Policy & Government Relations, American Library Association
The 2018 elections produced a divided Congress which resulted in mixed results for library policy and funding. What can we expect in 2020? Hear about library appropriations, telecom policy, copyright, education and other important issues as the country heads to the polls for what will be a momentously important election.

Low-Cost Immersive Classrooms: Making Digital Inclusion Accessible to Smaller and Rural Institutions
Claire Nickerson, Learning Initiatives & OER Librarian, Fort Hays State University
Immersive classrooms allow students to become fully involved in an interactive, digital environment. With funding from an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant, the Fort Hays State University Forsyth Library and their Institute for New Media Studies have built a portable, modular, low-cost immersive classroom kit, providing a space for 3D exploration and collaboration, data visualization, and interactive exhibits. The kit makes it possible for smaller and rural institutions to provide smart classroom technology without a large investment of time, funding, or building renovation. This session will share lessons from the prototyping process and advice for organizations interested in building their own immersive classroom kit. 

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

OCLC Research Update
OCLC Research examines the challenges and issues currently facing libraries and explores new and emerging areas of librarianship. In this session, representatives from OCLC Research will share progress on current projects and future intiatives. Time for Q&A will follow the presentations.

10:30 AM - 12:00 NOON

Skills for Community-Centered Libraries: Developing a Curriculum for All Public Library Staff
Lynn Williamson, Chief of Neighborhood Library Services, Free Library of Philadelphia; Naquawna Letman, Library Assistant 1, Culinary Literacy Center, Free Library of Philadelphia; Storm Rhodes, Library Assistant 2, David Cohen Ogontz Library, Free Library of Philadelphia; Chera Kowalski, Assistant to the Chief of Staff, Free Library of Philadelphia; Shahada Abdul-Rashid, Community Initiatives Specialist, Free Library of Philadelphia; Teri DeVoe, Associate Deputy Director, Grants to States, Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Free Library of Philadelphia’s “Skills for Community-Centered Libraries” provides community engagement training for staff across the library, including clerks, library assistants, digital resource specialists, librarians, and administrators. Hear how this project, funded by IMLS, has helped staff develop new skills in researching neighborhood assets, facilitating community meetings, and contributing to the Free Library’s existing community engagement initiatives. Staff from across the library will share the most promising outcomes and strengths from the project and some of the most powerful exercises and techniques that attendees can put to use in their own libraries.