New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

A Look Back at NYLA 2014: Open Libraries Open Minds

Last month, over 1,000 attendees, presenters, and exhibitors gathered in Saratoga Springs, NY, for NYLA’s 61st Annual Conference & Trade Show.

The excitement and energy generated during the three and a half days of the conference didn’t die down at the close of the event. Weeks later, Twitter and Facebook are still abuzz with the #NYLA2014 hashtag.

With “Open Libraries, Open Minds” as his and the conference’s central theme, keynote speaker & community change expert, Rich Harwood urged listeners to “turn outward, not inward, when seeking to implement change.” Laughter and tears kept the standing-room-only audience listening attentively to what Rich had to share with us, including the work he did with the staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Harwood’s speech segued us into two and a half days comprised of more than 70 workshops, luncheons, and other special events designed to keep attendees at the cutting edge of their profession with topics ranging from MakerSpaces to serving diverse/unique populations to new and emerging technologies and so on.

Once again, we were fortunate to have events filled with award-winning authors. PLS Author! Author! featured New York Times bestselling author Gary Shteyngart, who spoke to a sold-out audience at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. The Empire State Center for the Book held its 3rd Annual Literary Luncheon with authors Kevin Fitzpatrick, Steven Kellogg, and Patricia MacLachlan. RASS hosted renowned author Julia Spencer Fleming at the Noted Author Luncheon, and YSS presented Jacqueline Woodson with its 2014 Empire State Award for Excellence and Literature for Young People. YSS also hosted award-winning author/poet/photographer Charles R. Smith, Jr. at its membership meeting, while SSL had award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier holding court at its booth as well as presenting at its membership meeting.

To add a new flavor to the 2014 Conference, Christian Zabriskie and Rebekkah Smith-Aldrich hosted our First Annual Battle Decks Competition.  Emily Clasper, Elly Dawson, Geoff Kirkpatrick, Richard Naylor, Mike Neppl, Angela Newman, and Meg VanPatten each took the stage for a 4-minute presentation, using slides they had never seen before. Kudos to Meg VanPatten for her win! If you want to see this event come back next year, be sure to contact NYLA President Geoff Kirkpatrick.

Urban Librarians Unite hosted the 4th Annual Disaster Relief Fundraiser at Harvey’s Restaurant. Over $1,100 was raised at the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory themed event.

Happening concurrently with programming was our Annual Trade Show. Over 100 vendors from all industries gathered for a day and a half and enjoyed talking to attendees as well as each other. We were also fortunate to have a Mobile Learning Lab on site, as well as a Library Makers Showcase with help from our participating New York libraries.

For a list of the 2014 awards and their recipients, please click here.

Of course none of this could have been done without our programmers, volunteers, and the attendees for gathering together to help us make this the “BEST CONFERENCE EVER!” We look forward to seeing you in Lake Placid, October 21-24, 2015, to celebrate NYLA’s 125th anniversary!! NYLA125: Explore. Learn. Grow.

For even more photos, courtesy of Sara Kelly Johns, please click here.