More than a Library Conference
By Denise Nelson, Interim Library Director, Point Loma Nazarene University
The annual conference of the Association of Christian Librarians (ACL) provides opportunity each year for attendees to grow in their practice of the discipline of librarianship, to connect with other librarians whose responsibilities or contexts are similar to their own, and to receive personal and spiritual encouragement from Christian colleagues. ACL is committed to making its annual conference one of the most reasonably priced professional development options available to librarians; registration packages run from single-day options to a package including the entirety of the conference—4 nights’ lodging and 10 meals in addition to all conference programming. Attendees who opt out of on-campus accommodations at the host institution may select an off-campus registration package that suits their needs.
Each year, ACL’s annual conference provides access to a wide variety of professionally enriching programming. The 2019 keynote speaker, Todd Ream, will explore what it means to maintain a compassionate perspective as librarians whose settings, resources, and professional frameworks undergo perpetual change. Throughout the conference, 36 concurrent presentation sessions will offer insight on a range of essential topics: information literacy, library administration, instruction and technology, outreach and scholarship, and other issues that arise in the practice of librarianship. Poster sessions offer a chance to learn from an even wider array of colleagues and to engage in more personal conversations about each topic. Optional pre-conference sessions allow participants to explore areas of interest, such as open educational resources or the process of creating a rich archival exhibit, in depth.
Personal and Spiritual Encouragement
The Association of Christian Librarians is committed to providing opportunities for conference attendees to connect with one another both formally, through efforts like the opening night reception or the first-time attendees’ gathering, and informally, though shared meals, optional outings, and a casual “game night” event. These gatherings allow conferees to build the friendships and professional connectionsthat continue to provide support long after the conference concludes.
Arguably, any conference in the discipline of librarianship could offer useful workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities. But this is more than just a library conference. In fact, spiritual encouragement may well be the most unique benefit of ACL conference attendance, enriching participants’ lives through supportive connections with library colleagues who are living a faithful life in Christ. In the busyness of a wonderfully robust professional conference, daily opportunities for prayer, devotional reflections, and worship draw us back to the certainty that our professional lives are truly vocational—an ongoing expression of faithfulness in response to the work God has called us to do.
Registration for the 2018 Annual Conference of the Association of Christian Librarians is open now. If you are not currently a member of ACL, take advantage of the $40 membership rate for new members. Conference registration rates for members are $75 lower than non-member rates, so that $40 investment is a wise one. We hope to see you this June in Indiana.