Forum Spotlight from the ILA AlertSeptember 26, 2019
The Reaching Forward Forum is working to plan and implement the Reaching Forward library staff development conference for May 2020 and has just begun meeting to consider the first batch of program submissions. Now going strong in its 31st year, the committee also seeks out programs and presenters based on trends in library services and needs, discusses the merit of the submissions and decides how best to fill the 44 program sessions we have every year in order to create the most well rounded and informative conference possible. While focusing on the particular needs of support staff, the conference successfully recruits programs that have been presented at state and national library conferences, as well as presenters that address general workplace wellbeing and communication.
Various subcommittees take on the work of recruiting and liaising with vendors, putting together a performers’ showcase with four sessions of library presenters, soliciting awards nominees and selecting winners, and managing social media as well as other functions necessary to run the conference.
Reaching Forward supports current and future library professionals by awarding the Oberman and Rich Reaching Forward Conference Grant, which provides free conference registration and a small stipend for expenses, and the Robert Doyle ILA Conference Grant for Support Staff, which grants a year of ILA membership and full conference registration and expenses for the ILA Annual Conference.
Despite the workload, forum members agree that it is one of the most fun ways to serve and a great introduction into how a conference operates—and we all have a good time working together!
This spotlight was written by the Reaching Forward Forum Manager Heidi Knuth. Heidi is a Youth Services Librarian/Preschool Outreach Coordinator at Bloomingdale Public Library.