We live in strange and uncertain times right now, as we sequester ourselves in our homes, try to do our jobs remotely, and care for loved ones and family members simultaneously. Yet the work of our associations carry forth, including the spring online conference, the Exchange: an ALCTS/LITA/LLAMA Collaboration. In 2017, ALCTS hosted the ALCTS Exchange, a completely virtual conference held over two weeks. The conference was successful and a format we wanted to return to after a break. In the intervening years, the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), the Library Information Technology Association (LITA), and the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) began conversations to create a new joint division, which occupied a lot of time and energy (including my own). But still the Exchange remained as a goal, so we started planning for this conference close to a year ago. Whether the three divisions successfully came together to form a new division or not, we wanted to start working together to create a joint online conference that would appeal to all of our members and that would expand the breadth and depth of knowledge of the participants. I’m especially pleased to say that this online conference will be the first of many educational and programmatic offerings that we will be doing together, because the membership of the three divisions voted overwhelmingly to form Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures.
The Exchange: an ALCTS/LITA/LLAMA Collaboration brings together experiences, ideas, expertise, and individuals from the three ALA divisions. Broadly organized around the theme of “Building the Future Together,” the Exchange will examine the topic in relation to collections, leadership, technology, innovation, sustainability, and collaborations. Participants from diverse areas of librarianship will find the three days of presentations, panels, posters, and lightning rounds both thought-provoking and highly relevant to their current and future career paths. The Exchange will engage a wide range of presenters and participants, facilitating enriching conversations and learning opportunities. Divisional members and non-members alike are encouraged to register and bring their questions, experiences, and perspectives to the events. The Exchange will contain live presentations on the afternoons of May, 4, 6, and 8, with opportunities for engagement through online discussion both before and after the presentation. Our gold-level sponsor, Emporia State University, and silver-level sponsor, Elsevier, have contributed to make it possible for us to host this event.
Each day will contain a variety of speakers organized around the broad themes of leadership and change management, continuity and sustainability, and collaborations and cooperative Endeavors. We are fortunate to have two keynote speakers joining us for the Exchange: Emily Drabinski, Critical Pedagogy Librarian at Mina Rees Library, Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY); and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, the executive director of the Mid-Hudson Library System (MHLS) in Hudson, New York. Emily’s address, Making Power, Making Change, presents ways that librarians can transform the future to make the world a better place, using tools and techniques already available in librarians’ repertoires. Rebekkah, in “Sustainable Thinking for the Future of Libraries,” will explore how libraries can infuse the core value of sustainability into their actions, and introduce the “Triple Bottom Line” definition of sustainability (the intersection of economic feasibility, environmental stewardship and social equity).
When we first started planning for this conference, we knew we wanted to do an online event that would be engaging, relevant, and able to reach a broad swath of participants, including those who usually don’t travel to in-person conferences. Little did we realize that we would be in the midst of a global pandemic, making the format all the more important. In light of the current situation, we’ve made some changes to registration. Early-bird registration for the Exchange 2020 has been extended through May 1, with registration rates at a discount of $199 for ALCTS, LITA, and LLAMA members; $255 for ALA individual members; $289 for non-members; $79 for student/retired members; $475 for groups. Group registration includes up to ten single-user to access the live stream over all three days and unlimited user account creation on the Exchange event site. Members of the group are encouraged to create their own user accounts and participate in the event’s discussions and non-streaming content. If you haven’t already registered, please go to the Exchange site for further information. Additionally, we encourage you to join one of our three divisions–ALCTS, LITA or LLAMA–and receive the member discount for the Exchange. Your membership will automatically be rolled over to CORE membership when the new division begins in September.
We know the Exchange will be taking place in a COVID-19 world, forever changed from the world as it stood when we first started planning this online conference. However, we feel that the conference themes continue to be timely and important, and the information shared will help propel libraries into the future, whatever it may bring. We hope to connect with you all at the event in a few weeks!
Kristin E. Martin
Exchange Working Group Chair and ALCTS Past President