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Ways to Engage During ALA Midwinter 2021

ALA Midwinter Virtual 2021 is just around the corner (January 22-26, 2021)! We hope you’ve already registered or are thinking about it, as it’s a great way to support the conference work of ALA and ALSC.  Whether you’re registered or not there are lots of opportunities to engage with ALSC during Midwinter. Please note that this year registration is free to ALA student members and members who have been furloughed, laid off, or are experiencing a reduction in work hours. 

Excited about connecting with other library professionals around services to children, but not sure where to plug in? Try one or more of these opportunities, some require Midwinter registration, others do not. 

  1. Attend an ALSC process committee meeting. Most process committee meetings are open for any ALSC member to attend (year round, not just during Midwinter!). Check the ALSC Community Space on ALA Connect for agendas and meeting links. Registration not required, but encouraged to support the work of ALA and ALSC. 
  2. Watch the Youth Media Awards (YMAs). Livestream the 2021 Youth Media Awards announcements Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, at 6 am PST, 7am MT, 8 am CT, 9am ET. Cozy up with a warm beverage or welcome others to enjoy along with you via a Zoom watch party or a group text message thread. I like having my library’s catalog open in another window so I can place holds on the titles I haven’t read yet. Registration not required, but encouraged to support the work of ALA and ALSC. 
  3. Make New Connections at the ALSC 2021 Midwinter Mixer. Open to anyone interested in library services to children, this virtual mixer will include a panel featuring past ALSC Award Committee chairs, as well as ample time for chatting in small breakout groups. Registration for this event – known in previous years as the ALSC Midwinter Membership Social – is now open.  Space is limited, registration is free, but required. Conference registration not required, but encouraged to support the work of ALA and ALSC. 
  4. Attend a Discussion Group. Looking to connect with other library professionals around shared interests? A discussion group might be just the ticket! Centered on creating a space for sharing ideas and asking questions, discussion groups are open to anyone interested in the topic. ALSC has several discussion groups (skim the page for Discussion Groups), and there are dozens more hosted by other ALA divisions and round tables. Here’s a list of discussion groups meeting during Midwinter, with more sessions being added as they are scheduled. Midwinter registration required. 
  5. Get a Sneak Peek. Excited to learn about soon to be published titles or watch a panel featuring amazing authors and illustrators? Dip into one or more on demand Presentation Stages offerings, such as “A Seat At The Table: The Power of BIPOC Women Illustrators” and “Look Behind the Curtain with New Stars of Middle Grade.” More publisher previews and vendor sessions are listed here. Some are on demand, others take place at a specific time. Registration not required, but encouraged to support the work of ALA and ALSC. 
  6. Watch a Session Now or Later. Speaking of on demand content, many sessions will be pre-recorded allowing Midwinter registrants to view them anytime, and all registered attendees will have access to Midwinter content for one full year. A few on demand sessions I’m interested in exploring are: “Anti-racism Work and Women in Librarianship”, “USBBY 2021 Outstanding International Books”, and “Resilience: How libraries Can Partner to Reshape the Future.” Midwinter registration required. 

Clearly, there are compelling reasons to register for ALA Midwinter Virtual 2021. However, even if you aren’t able to register this year, we hope you’ll try one or more of the above opportunities to connect with others passionate about library service to children. 

Are there other great Midwinter opportunities not listed here? We’d love it if you could share in the comments!

(Post updated 12/20/20 to include registration info about
the ALSC Midwinter Membership Social.)

Currently a co-chair for the ALSC Membership Committee, Amy Seto Forrester is a children’s librarian at the Denver Public Library (Denver, CO). She’s especially dedicated to services and collections for developing readers. Questions about these opportunities or other ways to get involved with ALSC? Email Amy:

This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: VII. Professionalism and Professional Development


  1. Danielle Jones

    Thanks for a great post and list of ideas! Has the ALSC Midwinter Membership Social been scheduled? I am having a hard time finding more about when it is, and how to register.

    1. Amy Seto Forrester

      Good questions, Danielle! The name got slightly changed to the ALSC 2021 Midwinter Mixer. You can register here:

      Hope to see you there! 🙂

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