Sessions Focused on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) - Pre-Conferences/Institutes

ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) curated this list for conference attendees who may be interested in sessions targeting equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). The sessions are grouped by session type with definitions to guide attendees through the selections. Please note that this information was curated by ODLOS specifically, there may be some flexibility in each session’s categorization and/or level of understanding. 

Preconferences/Institutes are educational sessions held prior to the start of the conference. These sessions usually have an additional fee.

Definitions of Levels of Understanding

Introductory Level - These sessions are geared toward attendees who have no prior or little experience with equity, diversity, or inclusion topics. Attendees who have limited knowledge of equity, diversity, and inclusion are encouraged to attend these sessions.  

Intermediate Level - These sessions are appropriate for attendees who have attended a few webinars or workshops surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion and would like to learn more. These sessions start analyzing how the library profession can decenter power. 

Advanced Level - These sessions are appropriate for those who are experienced with nuanced concepts of social justice, power and privilege, identity, equity, and inclusion. Attendees who are facilitators and leaders in areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion and those looking to deepen their knowledge are encouraged to attend. 


REFORMA Institute: The Power of Communication
Type: Institute
Level of Understanding: Intermediate
June 20, 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The REFORMA Institute will explore the many areas of communication that create and support leaders in the library profession.

Beyond the Racial Stalemate
Type: Pre-Conference/Workshop
Level of Understanding: Introductory
June 21, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. OR 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
In his 2008 speech on race, titled "A More Perfect Union," then-candidate Barack Obama described a "racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years." He suggested that, if we don't do something different, "nothing will change." A decade later, we're still stuck. How do we move forward? Using an approach known as "racial healing," facilitators will lead participants through a process that invites story-telling, vulnerability, and deep listening. The goal is to provide leaders with a tool currently used by hundreds of organizations to help uproot the flawed belief in a racial hierarchy. A publication from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation entitled "Restoring to Wholeness (hyperlink: " can help you understand more about what racial healing is and what racial healing circles can help you achieve. 

Librarians and Social Workers: Partnerships that Work for Connecting People in Need 
Type: Pre-Conference
Level of Understanding: Intermediate
June 21, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Libraries increasingly find themselves on the front lines of addressing growing needs around homelessness, immigration, incarceration, opioid use, aging, and more in our communities. Over the past 10 years, many public libraries have turned to social workers to help them respond to these and other life challenges our community members are facing. Libraries that cannot afford to hire a dedicated social worker can partner with community agencies to develop library social service programs. This session highlights best practices, particularly in the realm of community partnerships, and provides resources to better equip libraries to serve patrons experiencing life challenges.

Media Literacy at Your Library Training 
Type: Pre-Conference/Workshop
Level of Understanding: Intermediate
June 21, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Can your patrons spot fake news? Can you? Learn how your library can play a vital role helping adults in your community become eagle-eyed news consumers.

In this intensive one-day preconference, you will:
Be trained in the media literacy curriculum developed by Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy
Learn how you can empower patrons to recognize fake news
Work with other libraries to brainstorm and develop program ideas
Develop a media literacy program plan for your library using Human-Centered Design methods
Receive a certificate of completion

This preconference is suited for any library employee who with adult patrons.

Now more than ever: Why Leadership on Diversity & Inclusion Requires Emotional Intelligence
Type: Pre-Conference
Level of Understanding: Intermediate
June 21; 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
For many who care about advancing equity and social justice in all areas of their lives, this past year has brought tremendous challenges. While U.S. society grows increasingly diverse and complex, our social and political discourse grows more polarized, less nuanced, and frighteningly hostile. Whether it's another leader being accused of sexual harassment/assault, a new challenge to rights we thought secure, or the reemergence of organized white supremacy, we are living through a profound social and cultural moment. Continuing to build an inclusive and equitable society, in the face of so many challenges, will require not just allies and advocates, but leaders and risk-takers. And these leaders must come to the work prepared, not just intellectually but emotionally as well. In this practically-focused presentation, we will explore how the framework of "emotional intelligence" has much to offer those of us doing the work of diversity, inclusion, and social justice.