The world’s largest library association’s annual conference this year featured more than 100 workshops with an “equity, diversity, and inclusion” theme, according to the American Library Association’s conference catalog. That included workshops with these titles (some shortened): “Creating Queer-Inclusive Elementary School Library Programming,” “Developing an Online Face for a Lesbian Pulp Fiction Collection,” and “Telling Stories, Expanding Boundaries: Drag Queen Storytimes in Libraries.”
The ALA annual conference’s workshop selections also included “A Child’s Room to Choose: Encouraging Gender Identity and Expression in School and Public Libraries,” and “Are You Going to Tell My Parents?: The Minor’s Right to Privacy in the Library.” Politically charged talks and workshops like these formed at least one-third of the conference offerings, according to the ALA’s own description and a review of the conference catalog.
The titles and descriptions of the conference’s approximately 300 workshops and talks are not available online. They were only published in a conference app and paper catalog reserved to in-person attendees, many of whose attendance was underwritten by taxpayers through local library budgets. According to the ALA, 21,460 people attended 2019’s annual conference this June, approximately 4,000 more than last year.