NYLA 2015: We Explored. We Learned. We Grew!
Submitted by Dana Willbanks, NYLA Communications and Marketing Manager
On October 21 – 24, hundreds of members of the library community descended upon Lake Placid, NY for the annual NYLA Conference and Trade Show. In addition to being the “Best Conference Ever!” this was an anniversary year for NYLA, 125 years young.
Keynote speaker David Lankes kicked things off with his address, “45,626 Days,” reminding listeners that, 45,626 days after the founding of NYLA, the continued prosperity of the Association and of libraries is intimately tied to the success of the counties, cities, towns, and villages of New York. The success of the next 125 years is in the dreams and aspirations of New York's citizens, students, and scholars, not just in the stacks.
Lanke’s inspirational message kicked off several days of informative workshops, luncheons and banquets, and special events intended to keep attendees up-to-date on current industry trends and best practices. Presentations on everything from serving special populations, how libraries can help communities in crisis, and how to get a library job were offered. A full day of pre-conference Continuing Education workshops was also offered to help attendees hone their professional skills.
Along with all the educational opportunities were plenty of chances to network with colleagues and with award-winning authors. PLS Author! Author! featured New York Times bestselling author Will Schwalbe, who spoke to a sold-out audience at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery. The RASS Noted Author Luncheon featured Mia Alvar, whose first book, In The Country, was published in June to much critical acclaim. Vivian Van Velde, winner of the 2015 Empire State Award for Excellence in Literature for Young People, was the featured guest at the YSS Empire State Award luncheon. YSS also hosted YSS Telling Tales with Peg Glisson and Sharon Salluzzo, members of the Genesee Storytellers professional storytelling troupe.
Thanks to its overwhelming inaugural success at the 2014 Conference, the Battle Decks! competition was once again hosted by Christian Zabriskie and Rebekah Smith Aldrich and presided over by a panel of august judges from the New York Library community. Casey Conlin, director of the Pawling Free Library, narrowly beat out his also hilarious and quick-witted opponents to win the coveted crown and all attendant rights and privileges (that is to say, nothing).
The hilarity of Battle Decks! was followed by a more formal event; at the annual Inaugural Banquet and Awards Ceremony, leaders and champions of the New York library community were recognized for their contributions. A complete list of the 2015 award recipients can be found here. The Presidential gavel was passed from Geoff Kirkpatrick, 2015 NYLA President, to Debby Emerson, newly elected President of the Association. In her inaugural address, Ms. Emerson unveiled the slogan for next year’s Conference: Strong, Strategic, and Sustainable.
Concurrent to the Conference was the annual Trade Show, at which about 100 vendors chatted with attendees about the goods and services their companies had to offer New York’s libraries. State agencies, electronics manufacturers, publishers, language learning services, and NYLA sections and roundtables filled booths in the site of the 1932 Winter Olympics.
NYLA 2015 was a huge success, and of course could not have happened without the hard work and dedication of the programmers, volunteers, exhibitors, and the attendees. It really was the “Best Conference Ever!”, and we can’t wait to do it again next year. We hope you will join us November 2 – 5, 2016 in Saratoga Springs as NYLA continues its mission of being Strong, Strategic, and Sustainable.