IACRL ILA Conference Highlights Article
At the Illinois Library Association’s 2018 Annual Conference, which took place from October 9 to 11, there were many highlights. Gene Luen Yang, an author and the 2016-2017 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, gave an engaging, light-hearted talk that spoke to his experience and evolution as a writer and artist, while bringing attention to the importance of inclusion and representation in literature. At the ILA Membership Meeting and President’s Program, Miguel Figueroa, Director of the Center for the Future of Libraries, spoke to the need of thinking progressively in an ever-changing environment, in order to meet effectively the individual needs of library users.
Conference events that IACRL (the Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries) sponsored included the Unconference and the IACRL Luncheon and Annual Meeting. If you have never attended an “unconference” before, you may not know what to expect. The format of an unconference relies on the content and input not of the facilitators, but of the attendees. Through roundtable conversations, participants were asked to discuss issues that they either have been working to address or are actively thinking about within their respective roles and institutions. During the 90-minute session, attendees moved to different tables while sharing various ideas. Conversations ranged from how to advocate and support the needs of students, to working with library staff to try new methods and techniques in an effort to increase campus engagement.
At the IACRL Luncheon and Annual Meeting, members of the academic librarian community heard from the Illinois Library Association’s Executive Director, Diane Foote. She spoke of work by the ILA staff and Executive Board to develop a strategic plan that encompasses the vision of the ILA membership. Focus groups will be held at locations across Illinois and remotely, to take note of the thoughts and ideas of ILA members and non-members. Other discussions focused on the future outlook for academic institutions and the importance of continued advocacy at the state level, as legislative decisions affect not only public libraries, but academic institutions, also.
By Jennifer Marini Jackson—Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Engagement Librarian at University of Illinois at Chicago’s Daley Library