Past Collective Themes & Programs


2019 Theme: Stand & Deliver

You (probably) know the movie...and once you’ve seen it, you can’t forget that inspiring teacher, Jaime Escalante, oh, and the film’s awesome 80s hair. Like great teaching, great librarianship requires not just bodacious hair but often bold risk-taking, innovation, a crazy commitment to students/users, and perhaps even some pissing people off to prove those crusty-dusty critics and naysayers wrong. So, for 2019, inspired by this oldie-but-goodie film, we ask you to consider some of the many questions this theme inspires, including ways you’re “going off book” with your services, instruction, spaces, archives, research and how you have found new, engaging, and appealing ways of delivering on our timeless values to reluctant or cynical audiences.

2018 Theme: The Library As Test Kitchen

A few years back, Harvard University offered a design seminar called Library Test Kitchen and a multi-year innovation initiative called The Harvard Library Lab to " fashion the information society of the future."

In this same spirit, we ask you to propose sessions that push the edge of librarianship and to create a test kitchen environment within our gathering where we will try out “recipes” for next-generation librarianship. We invite proposals for hands-on experiments and workshops featuring, among other possibilities, idea generation, prototyping, and creation of new paradigms for the things we make and do as part of our everyday in/as/as part of libraries.


2017 Theme: Make It Beautiful, Make It Usable

With a nod to Tractinsky, Katz, & Ikar, in 2017, we ask you to consider how aesthetics and utility are at the core of the work we do in libraries and as librarians, archivists, and information specialists.

From designing library instruction to renovating spaces to creating elegant discovery platforms, how might we seek more beauty and usability in our exhibitions, projects, programming, services, collections, and instruction?

2016 Theme: Adopt, Adapt, Evolve: Reinvigorating & Rejuvenating Our Libraries

Increasingly libraries are hubs where new technologies and ideas are incubated and incorporated into common practice. We adopt new tech, adapt new tools for use by our organizations and our patrons, and are constantly evolving to better serve users and become more empowered keepers of our cultural records. From eBooks to social media, 3-D printing to big data, libraries evolve through adopting the new and adapting both new and old tools for innovative and creative uses.

2015 Theme: Libraries as Curators & Creators

The role of libraries, archives, and librarians is rapidly changing, especially as our spaces come to incorporate 3-D printers, in-house digital collections, and makerspaces. As we create and curate collections, experiences, and spaces for our users, what are some of the challenges and opportunities that we might encounter? What are the necessary skills for 21st century librarians who find themselves in the role of curator and/or creator? Join us as we explore this theme while learning, creating, and collaborating together!