The 2024 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition will bring together an impressive array of librarians and library leaders. The following is a day-by-day sampling of programs from the more than 175 sessions listed in the conference’s education program. Most programs listed will take place at the San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) with room numbers included, except where noted. As always, please check the program guide online for any last minute changes or additions.


The conference will commence with a slate of meetings, preconference programming, and special events, including the opening ceremony for the Spectrum Leadership Institute and a reception for the Texas Library Association.

Among the preconference events this year is Diamond Moments of International Librarianship and Its Impact, which celebrates the 75th anniversary of the International Relations Round Table and will feature programs including RDA Around the World; Beyond the Books: Decoding the Application and Interview Process for Public, Academic, and Special Libraries; and Bilingual Storytime Academy. Also on Friday will be the sixth annual E-book Friday meeting, at which library leaders will present projects, discuss trends, and consider possible advocacy in the digital ecosystem.


8:30–10 a.m.

S[ai]ge Advice: Claim the Center of the AI Conversation by Leveling Up AI Leaders

As artificial intelligence reshapes the way we work, this discussion will explore how librarians can ensure our AI future aligns with the core values and ethical standards of the library profession. (SDCC room 26 A–B).

9–10 a.m.

Breaking Boundaries: Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT to Transform Library Services

This panel will discuss and offer practical demonstrations on integrating AI into library services and overcoming the challenges of incorporating AI within institutions. (SDCC, room 30 A–E).

Fostering Conversation and Connection Among Community Members with Contrasting Political Views

Are differing political views sowing division, tension, silence, or worse in your community? This panel will explore how a localized version of the One Small Step program from StoryCorps can foster conversation and connection. (SDCC, room 28 A–C).

Library for All: Programming Ideas for Adults with Disabilities on a $0 Budget

Presenters from the Murrieta (Calif.) Public Library will share their ideas for providing programs and activities on a shoestring budget. (SDCC, room 32 A–B).

Yalla, Habibi: Where are the Arab American Voices in Children’s Literature?

Arab American authors from several countries will explore the importance of authentic Arab representation in kid lit, identify harmful tropes and negative stereotypes, and provide examples of positive representation. (SDCC, room 4).

11 a.m.–noon

Level Up Your Digital Equity Efforts with Federal Internet for All Funding

This year marks the beginning of a national grant program offering billions to support and expand the digital equity work libraries are already doing. A panel of experts will discuss how to seize this opportunity to create a digitally equitable future. (SDCC, room 9).

1–2 p.m.

Black Women in Leadership: Prevail or Perish

Nichelle M. Hayes, BCALA president, discusses the current challenging climate for Black women in library leadership roles in a program that will offer potential solutions, options, and resources. (Manchester Grand Hyatt, Mission Beach A–C).

Let’s Talk About Sex: Gender & Sexuality Education in Elementary School Using Age Congruent Literature

Talking about sex, sexuality, and gender with children can be a fraught topic these days as school boards and legislators seek to weigh in. This program is designed to help librarians thoughtfully choose titles as well as discuss their choices with administrators and community stakeholders. (SDCC, room 25 ABC).

Protecting the Right to Read in Challenging Times

This presentation and panel discussion will feature reps from the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom and the Intellectual Freedom Round Table, as well as Leila Green Little, a community member who fought against book bans with a lawsuit in Llano County, Tex. (SDCC, room 4).

Soft Censorship of LGBTQIA+ Content and Its Chilling Effect on the Children’s Book World

Book bans currently dominate the national literary narrative. Harder to track, though, is the soft censorship of LGBTQ children’s books and their creators. This program addresses the impact of such censorship on various aspects of the children’s book world, including school visits and sales. (SDCC, room 23 ABC).

Welcome Asylum Seekers, We Speak Your Language! QPL’s Response to the Unprecedented Humanitarian Crisis

Since spring 2022, thousands of asylum seekers have been bused to New York City from the southern border. In this session, librarians from the Queens Public Library will discuss how they are rising to the occasion and serving this influx of patrons. (SDCC, room 24 A–B).

2:30–3:30 p.m.

Books & Big Ideas: Sparking Equity Conversations from Kindergarten to Adulthood

This session will feature educators who are using picture books across age groups to teach language, support identity development, and develop relationships for students and their families in schools. (SDCC, room 8).

Combating Voter Suppression in Your Library

Members of the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table will discuss ways for librarians and libraries to combat voter suppression in an age of rampant misinformation and disinformation. Topics include voter suppression toolkits, helping patrons spot misinformation, and promoting civic literacy through forums. (SDCC, room 29 D).

4–5 p.m.

Organizing for Librarians: Skills for Successful Advocacy

In a shifting political climate, many librarians have found themselves calling on a new set of skills: advocating to justify their professional values and calling on their communities for support in the face of book banning. This panel will feature library organizers discussing and teaching the tactics they use to advocate effectively. (SDCC, room 30 A–E).

Reclaiming the Narrative: Policy Conversations That Center Community

Members of United for Libraries will explore how librarians can successfully engage with community members and decision-makers to build support for policies that uphold community aspirations and strengthen libraries. (SDCC, room 5A).


9–10 a.m.

iLead: Preparing Tomorrow’s Library Leaders with an EDI Lens

This program will highlight an IMLS-funded project’s goal of providing learning opportunities that prepare and empower library workers to serve their communities’ diverse cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. (SDCC, room 28 DE)

Not by the E-book: Increased Access and Alternative Licensing

The last decade has seen a significant increase in demand for e-book collections, but with costs to purchase and repurchase content rising, libraries are struggling to maintain existing collections and add new titles. This session will explore ways to advocate for a fairer library e-book market. (SDCC, room 11 B)

Supporting Libraries and Library Workers Through Employee Resource Groups

Amid intellectual freedom challenges, social justice initiatives, and an increase in racialized violence against library workers, this program extends the current national conversations about library advocacy and support by centering support of frontline workers. (SDCC, room 5B)

11 a.m.–noon

The Importance of Using Booktok and Bookstagram for Librarians, and How You Can Get Started!

In this session, librarians will learn the benefits of social media, including how books are promoted on these channels—including self-published books—and how they can use social media to promote diversity and inclusivity. (SDCC, room 30 A-E)

“Let Us Help Advance the Field”: Neurodivergent Librarian Voices Shaping Neuroinclusive Library Workplaces

Based on an IMLS-funded research project, Hala Annabi, an associate professor at the University of Washington Information School, and Christine M. Moeller, a PhD candidate at the school, will share their findings regarding the workplace experiences of neurodivergent librarians. (SDCC, room 28 A–C)

Not Just One Thing: Intellectual Freedom and Information Literacy Through a Social Justice Lens

Can librarians teach patrons how to think about information resources without teaching them what to think? This session will explore how librarians can balance intellectual freedom while helping patrons develop better information literacy skills. (SDCC, room 4)

1–2 p.m.

Sing, Talk, Read: Engaging the Brain, Body, and Senses Through Nonfiction Picture Books

Research has shown that reading aloud is an important part of early childhood brain development, and that our youngest readers need ways to be engaged and active to get the most out of storytime. This panel will share ideas on guiding the development of young readers. (SDCC, room 30 A–E)

Supporting Public Libraries in Ukraine: Challenges and Opportunities

The session will offer perspectives from librarians from the Cherkasy National University and the Kiev School of Information. (SDCC, room 3)

2:30–3:30 p.m.

The Battle for the First Amendment: Why You Can’t Afford to Remain Neutral

Skip Dye of Penguin Random House and library advocate Dorcas Hand of Students Need Libraries are among the panelists in this conversation about attacks on freedom of speech. (SDCC, room 3)

Books Unbound: Libraries in the Age of AI

This workshop will explore how AI can be used to enhance book selection and library management and tips on how librarians and educators can leverage AI innovations. (SDCC, room 30 A–E)

What’s Love Got to Do with It? Why Reading Romance Is Good for You!

This panel will survey the changing landscape of romance, including the rise of romancelandia, Booktok, and romantasy, and offer collection development tips for YA and adult romance and advice on how to run a successful romance book club. (SDCC, room 28 D–E)

When Copyright And Contracts Collide: Advocacy to Advance Library and User Rights

Former ALA president Jim Neal will examine copyright limitations and exceptions that affect libraries and the communities they serve. The session will also offer insights into upcoming challenges related to licensing and terms of service. (SDCC, room 5 A).


9–10 a.m.

“It’s Not Okay. It’s Not Normal”: Sexual Harassment of Librarians and Implications for the Field

This panel will examine the findings of surveys of librarians assessing the prevalence of sexual harassment in libraries. (SDCC, room 11 B).

Pondering Primary Sources: Authenticity, Bias, and Controversy in Historical Research

This program will explore how to critically evaluate primary sources in an age of ChatGPT and GPTGO. (SDCC, room 25 A–C).

Supercharge Your Fundraising with... Advocacy!

Experienced fundraisers and library advocates will discuss how to build a compelling funding campaign for everything from the creation of a speaker series to the construction of a state-of-the-art facility. (SDCC, room 11 A).

Top Tech Trends

A panel of experts will explore emerging technology trends and how they will impact libraries and library staff. (SDCC, room 28 A–C).

10:30–11:30 a.m.

Beyond the Audit: Embracing the Freedom to Read Through Curation and Promotion of Inclusive Collections

For this panel, the Oak Park (Ill.) Public Library will discuss how its philosophy of curation is tied to its library strategic plan and explore ways to promote library collections to the community. (SDCC, room 4).

Building Homeschooling Resources and Community Relationships at the Public Library

In a post-pandemic world, homeschooling is no longer a niche alternative. This presentation will showcase perspectives from three different libraries in California and New York currently offering homeschooling services. (SDCC, room 11 A).

Libraries Supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

This program will explore how libraries are contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including areas such as climate action, gender equality, planet preservation, health and well-being, zero hunger, no poverty, quality education, decent work and economic growth, and reduced inequalities. (SDCC, room 26 A–B).

Our Diverse Characters Book Club: Discussing Divisive Concepts in Red States

This panel will illuminate how a group of academic librarians in Tennessee created a Diverse Characters Book Club, sharing ideas on how libraries can create their own DEI book clubs, as well as how to navigate divisive concepts laws in their states and how to continue DEI efforts amid rising censorship. (SDCC, room 25 A–C).

1–2 p.m.

Empowering BIPOC Youth Through Library Services

This panel, supported by an IMLS research grant, will explore how libraries can foster empowerment, inclusivity, and positive identity development among BIPOC youth. (SDCC, room 23 A–C).

Generative Artificial Intelligence, Libraries, and the People They Serve: A Guided Discussion

This session will explore how staff at libraries and their associated institutions have approached generative AI, what has motivated their use or thinking around it, and how it has impacted the services their libraries provide. (SDCC, room 28 D–E).

Supporting Transgender Students: Practical Tips for Librarians, Educators and Allies

As public libraries and school libraries have become sites of protest but also centers of community around the topic of gender identity, this program will provide practical advice for building more inclusive spaces, policies, and curricula for transgender and nonbinary youth. (SDCC, room 32 A–B).

Wake Up! It’s 1984

This panel will explore the propagandistic practices and rhetorical traps utilized by extremist groups that have escalated domestic censorship attempts to previously undocumented levels. (SDCC, room 8).

1–2:30 p.m.

Illuminating the Legacy of Illustrious African American Librarians

This session will spotlight the distinctive role of African American librarians, including discussions about the work of librarians such as Charlemae Hill Rollins and Augusta Baker. (Marriott Marquis, Pacific Ballroom section 18).

2:30–3:30 p.m.

The Library Is Open to All: LGBTQIA+ Community Engagement at the San Diego Public Library!

In 2013, SDPL formed its LGBTQIA+ Library Services Committee to participate in the San Diego Pride festival. From there, SDPL has used its relationship with San Diego Pride to engage and serve San Diego’s LGBTQ community more effectively. At this panel, library staff will share advice on how to master the art of LGBTQ-affirming inclusivity in libraries. (SDCC, room 23 A–C).

4–5 p.m.

Collecting Chinese Jewish Stories for Your Library: A Panel of Voices from Two Cultures

This panel of authors and illustrators, moderated by ALA president-elect Ray Pun and Sally Stieglitz, communications and outreach coordinator with the Long Island Library Resources Council, will discuss Chinese and Jewish cultural interactions and intersecting cultures and identities through books. (SDCC, room 5 B.)

You Are Not Alone: Leveraging Community Advocates Against Book Bans

This panel will discuss how the ALA’s Policy Corp is advocating for the freedom to read amid a relentless wave of book-challenges. (SDCC, room 23 A–C).

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