ILA 2021 Conference and IACRL Unconference Preview

Illinois Association of College & Research Libraries Forum (IACRL)

September 23, 2021
by Christina Norton, Bradley University
ILA 2021 Annual Conference logo

ILA Conference Preview

The 2021 Illinois Library Association Conference is once again online this year, with keynotes, presentations, and meetings from 9 AM to 4 PM each day from October 12 to 14th. The theme of this year’s conference is “Breaking Down Barriers: Building Up Communities,” a reflection of the challenges and changes that librarians and our communities have experienced together over the past year and a half.

This year’s conference presentations, as well as the exhibits, will be delivered using the Pheedloop platform. There is an introductory video available for attendees who may be new to using this tool for conferences.

For the opening keynote, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from Clint Smith, staff writer for The Atlantic and author of the recently published How the Word is Passed, about historical sites and the legacies of slavery. Also of interest to IACRL members (current or potential) is the IACRL Annual Meeting, slated for 1:30 PM on Tuesday, October 12th. The IACRL Unconference makes its triumphant return this year, in a virtual format for the first time, from 9 AM to 11 AM on Wednesday, October 13th. Be sure to see the section on Unconference below for more details.

Presentations with academic library content are labeled with an IACRL @ ILA tag within the program schedule. When perusing the conference program, be sure to make note of the following offerings presented by IACRL members.



Session Title

Presented by


12 - 1 PM

Incorporating Student Voices: Decision-Making and the COVID-19 Student Library Experience

Elena Carillo

Jung Mi Scoulas

Linda Naru


University of Illinois Chicago


1:30 - 2:30 PM

Meeting Stakeholders Where They Are: Crafting a Library Message to Build Buy-In


University Laboratory High School


Megan Szwarek

Schaumburg Township Public Library


Qiana Johnson

Northwestern University


Steven Adams

Northwestern University


1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Silver Linings: Innovations from the Pandemic

Jeanne Holba-Puacz

University of Illinois - School of Information Science


3 - 4 PM

Shelter in the COVID Storm: Building Relationships through Mentoring

Angela Yon

Grace Allbaugh

Sharon Van Der Laan

Sue Franzen


Illinois State University

 A listing of all IACRL @ ILA programs with their descriptions is also available on the IACRL @ ILA Programming page. Complete information about all conference sessions can be found on the conference website. See you there!

IACRL Unconference Preview

The IACRL Unconference at ILA is back for 2021! Last year, restrictions on Zoom usage precluded a successful unconference experience, and so it was canceled for the 2020 conference. This year’s discussion-based event will be presented in a virtual format for the first time on October 13, 2021, from 9 AM to 11 AM. All academic library workers are encouraged to attend, from all departments and job classifications, to share successes, ideas, and concerns about your work. The facilitators of this event - IACRL President Emily Gilbert and Past President Sue Franzen - will prompt and guide discussion as necessary, but attendees should also submit their own topics for discussion. During the Unconference, ideas will be shared via Jamboard. There are Jamboard tutorials available if you’re unfamiliar with this collaboration format. Let’s put all our minds together and see what we can come up with!

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