On June 2-3, we attended the California Library Association’s (CLA) annual conference, to connect with library professionals and friends across the state and to participate in conversations about how the library world can build and is building resilient futures.
Taking place this year in our state capitol of Sacramento, the CLA’s annual conference brings together hundreds of librarians, library employees, library students, friends group members, trustees, retirees, as well as members of the general public who wish to support California libraries.
CLA welcome banner above the entrance to the conference exhibit hall. CLA is focused on “advancing the library field and helping library staff develop the knowledge and skills needed to work for 21st century libraries.”
Exterior of the SAFE Credit Union Conference Center
This year’s conference theme “Sustaining Our People, Planet, and Performance Into the Future” was reflected in the topics addressed in many presentations and panels, including one we organized. On Saturday, June 3, three Library Innovation Lab (LIL) program alumni – Sonia Bautista of Commerce Public Library (one of our current mentors), Yvonne Becerra of Ventura County Public Library, and Eric Cardoso of Long Beach Public Library – shared how they have been able to continue the work they initiated with their LIL projects at a session moderated by Felicia Kelley titled After the Money Runs Out: Sustaining Innovative Programs Past the Pilot Period. The session, attended by over 50 people, also provided an opportunity to raise awareness about the LIL program and invite participation in next year’s cohort. Other sessions featured additional LIL alumni, including Krystal Messer of Los Angeles Public Library, Charmaine Mendez now at Riverside Public Library, and Curita Tinker of Anaheim Public Library. It was wonderful to see so many program alumni recognized as leaders in the California library community.
The conference also provided an ideal opportunity to connect with alumni of our LIL program from across the state, many of whom were traveling into Sacramento for the conference. Now in its seventh year, LIL is a nationally recognized California Humanities program that supports public libraries and public library professionals as they provide welcoming experiences to newcomers and strive to build more inclusive communities. On Friday, June 2, we welcomed LIL participants and colleagues at a hosted gathering at the California Museum (1020 O Street), just steps away from the state capitol building.
LIL participants fulfill a range of roles at their libraries, ranging from teen, children’s and adult services librarians, to branch managers and directors, to bookmobile and literacy program coordinators, and this event was a fun opportunity for this diverse group of library professionals to share their LIL experiences and talk about life at their libraries while enjoying some snacks and beverages! It was very gratifying to connect with so many graduates of the program and to hear about their recent accomplishments, including several promotions, and how their experiences with LIL have enhanced their personal and professional growth.
Several alums brought other librarians who are interested in participating in next year’s cohort, and we were delighted that Veronda Pitchford, Associate Director of CALIFA, an enthusiastic supporter of the program, was able to join us.
Check out more photos below: