Attending ALA’s 2020 Midwinter Conference

This blog post was written by Graduate Research Center Operations Manager Jonathan Tomes.

Entrance to the Pennsylvania Convention Center

More than 20,000 attendees converged on the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2020 American Library Association Midwinter Conference on January 24-28. This was my first year to attend an ALA conference. The main exhibition hall was packed with booths from major publishers, research database providers, startup publishing houses, and even Half-Price Books. Lectures, sessions, committees, panels, and discussion groups were held over the course of several days.

Main Exhibit Hall

I was particularly encouraged by the Copyright Discussion group and the Collection Management Discussion group. The conversation was stimulating and drew my attention to many new resources to explore as I continue to work with the general collection at the Poage Legislative Library. On Saturday, January 25th, I attended the “From Non-Voters to New Voters: How Libraries Can Engage Their Communities in the 2020 Elections and Beyond” panel. Panelists discussed different public and school library projects and programs to involve local communities in the electoral process. Of particular note for our own context was the suggestion that libraries host absentee ballot days. Overall, the conference was a great opportunity to network, learn from the experiences and practices of others, and to become more aware of the resources available to libraries and librarians.

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