ally won? Well, it’s coming back in 2016, and we’ll all be able
to learn the criteria the Knight Foundation will use in distributing $3 million toward library innovation. Good luck this
How You Can Use WIOA (Saturday, Jan. 9, 8:30–10 a.m.). This
session promises to show how we can support workforce readiness in our communities, an issue all libraries struggle with.
With the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity
Act (WIOA), libraries now have the opportunity to partner
with adult education and Workforce Investment Boards to
enhance job preparedness and readiness services.
Data Visualization for the Rest of Us: A Beginner’s Guide
(Saturday, Jan. 9, 8:30–10 a.m.). At my library, I can’t afford a
graphic designer, so one of my goals in 2015 was to get better
at using data visualization—you know, creating those punchy,
quick-to-grasp infographics to help me tell my library’s story.
Here’s hoping that this session will finally get me started.
Top Technology Trends (Sunday, Jan. 10, 10:30–11:30 a.m.).
Check out this always-entertaining session and hear about the
changes and advances in technology that will have an impact
on the library world. You’ll leave smarter!
Mathical Books! For Librarians—and Tots to Teens (Monday, Jan.
11, 10:30–11:30 a.m.). Here’s a new portmanteau word for you:
mathical (math + magical), to describe books that inspire a love
of math—pattern, sequence, creative order—in everyday life.
It turns out there’s a new award for these books, from the
Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Children’s
Book Council, and the selections look really good, including
a mystery in which the heroine uses logic to solve puzzles, and
picture books on counting and sharing.
Check the Schedule
Many Midwinter sessions are closed, or focused on committee
work, but there are plenty of discussion forums and interest
groups to engage any librarian, in addition to providing great
opportunities for networking. At press time, final times were
not yet published for the session topics below, so check online
closer to the show dates (at alamidwinter.org).
Assisting Low-Skill Workers and Non-Internet Users with Job
Searches. One challenge that nearly every public library faces
is helping job seekers with little or no experience with
technology, especially when job seeking and the applications
process have moved almost entirely online. This session promises to offer ways to best help these patrons find the information
they need to find work.
Check Out a Librarian. Have you heard about libraries
“checking out” humans—yes, libraries loaning people with
particular stories to tell or expertise to share? For librarian job
seekers, those interested in refocusing their careers, or anyone
just hoping to move up the library ladder, this is a good
opportunity to get fresh insight from someone who isn’t a boss,
colleague, or friend. No appointment is necessary, and all
libraries will be represented. Does checking out a librarian seem
like too much of a commitment? Then try a Speed Mentoring
Session, where everyone from MLS students to mid-career
librarians can obtain advice from Reference and User Services
Association (RUSA) leaders.
The Information Commons Discussion Group. The hottest topic
having to do with public services, whether in academic, school,
or public libraries, is the viability of the information commons.
This session covers the planning, development, and management of information commons and is useful for those considering
implementing a commons, or for seasoned veterans looking for
Northeastern Universities Digital Media Commons. Midwinter
attendees will be able to take a tour of a dedicated media lab
and digital creativity center that offers work areas, professional-grade audio-visual technology, and high-power hardware. This
tour is sponsored by the Video Round Table; please email Debra
Mandel at firstname.lastname@example.org by January 5 to confirm a spot
and for further information.
The 3D Printing Interest Group. Interested in 3-D printing? At
this session you’ll get information on how to get started and
hear big ideas about the future of 3-D printing in libraries. Me?
I just want to know what brand doesn’t break every other day.
The Programming Library Interest Group. Though circulation
at many libraries may be flat, or even declining, participation
in programming continues to grow, with the public hungry for
opportunities to learn and connect. At this session, you can
learn how to advocate for programming in your institution,
discover what’s working at other libraries, share war stories, and
connect with ALA’s Public Programs Office.
AAP Author Breakfast.
In addition to the authors appearing on the main program, one
of the best parts of any ALA is meeting an author at a publisher’s
booth, or hearing an author read on one of the stages. On that
score, the Association of American Publishers/LibraryReads
Book Talk Breakfast (Monday, Jan. 11, 8:30–10 a.m. at the
Seaport Hotel Lighthouse) is a great way to start your day. Space
is limited, so look for the invitation, and make sure you RSVP.
This year’s breakfast features Adam Haslette (Imagine Me
Gone, Little, Brown & Co.), Ann Leary ( The Children, St. Martin’s
Press/Macmillan), Simon Van Booy (Father’s Day, HarperCollins),
Helen Simonson ( The Summer Before the War, Random House),
Lawrence Hill ( The Illegal: A Novel, W. W. Norton & Company),
and Chris Cleave (Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, Simon &
PW contributing editor Brian Kenney is director of the White Plains (N. Y.)
Public Library, and a former editorial director of Library Journal and
School Library Journal.