SDSL's Cornerstone Newsletter

South Dakota State Library's e-newsletter

June 16, 2022

Why Should I Attend Library Conferences?

Summer weather can signal many things: the start of camping season, the first grill-out of the year, the beginning of summer reading programs. It’s also a sign that the largest library events in the United States is fast approaching – the American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibition. Typically held in late June, the conference brings in approximately 25,000 people. The conference typically has speakers ranging from authors to TV and movie stars to library professionals.

The past two years have been held virtually due to COVID-19, but this year the conference will be held in a hybrid (both in-person and online) format. The in-person conference will be held in Washington, DC, and the conference will take place on June 23 – 28.

While ALA Annual is one of the biggest library conferences, there are also several other conference options of all sizes and types. The South Dakota Library Association’s (SDLA) 2022 Conference will be held in Brookings, SD on September 28 – 30. This year’s theme is “Resilience and Reinvention.” Mountain Plains Library Association (MPLA) is holding a tri-conference (“Building Bridges, Renewing Community”) with Montana Library Association (MLA) and Pacific Northwest Library Association (PNLA) in Missoula, MT on August 3 – 6. The Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) will hold their annual conference (“Connecting at the Crossroads: On Track to Real Change”) in Chattanooga, TN on September 14 – 17. These are just a few examples of upcoming library conferences, but there are many library and professional development conferences available both in-person and online.

But why should librarians and library staff attend library conferences in the first place? From networking to learning opportunities to remarkable speakers, there are countless benefits to attending conferences. The South Dakota State Library staff members highlight why they attend library and professional development conferences.

Learning and networking opportunities

“I find attending different library conferences is very impactful to my work and I can always find some tidbit to directly apply after leave. The networking opportunities are priceless and leave me with inspiration to continue my efforts to grow and try new things. My advice is to seize the day and go to every conference you can!” – Laura Kelly, Children and Youth Services Coordinator

New resources

“Attending professional development conferences allows me to stay on top of what’s happening in my line of work. Conferences provide reliable information I can share with my coworkers and those I serve.” – Kim Bonen, Digital Resources Coordinator

Virtual opportunities

“Virtual conferences give us the chance to attend conferences we may not have the time or travel funds to attend in person. Try one you have never attended! They usually have the option of access to recorded sessions which means you can attend all the sessions and replay the really useful ones.” – Shawn Behrends, State Data Coordinator

Renewed professional excitement

“I love the opportunities to network and to learn new things, but what I really take away from library conferences is a renewed excitement for our field. I always leave feeling more knowledgeable, more connected, and proud to be a librarian.” – Cheyenne Chontos, Library Technology Coordinator

2022 Library Tri-Conference

Participating Associations: Montana Library Association (MLA), Pacific Northwest Library Association (PNLA), Mountain Plains Library Association (MPLA)

About SDSL

The South Dakota State Library provides leadership for innovation and excellence in libraries and services to state government.

The SDSL does not endorse any service or product listed in this newsletter.