Research and Markets' Guide to the SLA Conference 2016

Research and Markets' Guide to the SLA Conference 2016

The Special Libraries Association’s (SLA) annual conference takes place this weekend at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. It usually attracts between 2,000 and 4,000 attendees, chiefly comprised of special librarians and information professionals.

There will be over 200 events, including educational programs, networking events, receptions and tours. The conference will run from the 12 - 14 June, with the opening session scheduled for 9.00 am on Sunday morning.

With so many events to choose from and so little time, we’ve put together a brief overview to help you make the most of your conference experience.


For those of you that don’t know, the SLA is a global nonprofit organization for information professionals. This essentially means anybody that manages information or knowledge resources for an organization and its stakeholders. The SLA website provides a platform for members to network and learn, but once a year they host an event for members and the general public.

The main attraction is the INFO-EXPO hall - a showcase of the latest industry products and services, and a place to network with your peers. Our tip to get the most out of the INFO-EXPO is to access the Virtual Center before you arrive at the conference.

And it’s not too late to exhibit! You can view the floor plan for SLA 2016 and see which locations are available here. There is also an option to reserve a room in the convention center or exhibit hall for a meeting, program or demonstration. You can find more info on room size and availability here.


Opening Keynote - Erika Andersen

Erika Andersen is the founding partner of Proteus, a training firm that focuses on leader readiness. Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are tailored to her clients’ challenges, goals, and culture.

Andersen has served as consultant and advisor to a number of corporations, including NBCUniversal, Facebook, GE and Madison Square Garden. She is also the author of numerous books and learning guides, and has contributed to a variety of national publications.

If you would like to meet with Erika, the SLA will be holding a book signing with Erika right after her presentation on Sunday. The meet and greet takes place between 11.30 - 12.15 in the INFO-EXPO, Booth 134.

Closing Keynote - Marilyn Johnson

Marilyn Johnson is an American author and founding member of Authors for Libraries, which is affiliated with the American Library Association.

She wrote The Book is Overdue!, which looks at the field of librarianship as it responds and adapts to the digital age. The book was praised by librarians and information professionals, and Johnson subsequently spoke about the importance of librarians at conferences around the United States.

Her book received the Washington Irving Book Award, with the Library Journal describing it as a “kaleidoscopic” book “by a non-librarian [that] captures the breathtaking transformations in the field in recent years.”


The SLA’s website allows you to research the events you’d like to attend, create an agenda and export it to your calendar. Scanning through what’s on, we’ve picked out three programs, one for each day, that caught our eye.

MASTER CLASS: Best Practices in Data Management and User Engagement

Sun. June 12| 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM | Convention Center, Room 114

“Researchers on our campuses and organizations have a diverse set of data-intensive research obligations – from data management plans to data discovery platforms and services. Librarians are uniquely qualified to assist by providing services including data curation, visualization, interpretation, discovery, storage and analysis. Helping out with these responsibilities has enabled libraries to move beyond their traditional roles to add value in the services they provide to their users and to take on a more active role in user engagement.”


Scott Brown

Rita Vine - Head, Faculty and Student Engagement, University of Toronto Libraries

Jan Johansson - Information Manager, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System


The Role of Information Privacy and Ethics in Good Business Practice

Mon. June 13| 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM | Convention Center, Room 201-A

“Why is consumer privacy of fundamental importance? What are the benefits of maintaining privacy and the dire consequences of consumer privacy invasion? How do you protect or maintain sensitive consumer data? This session will focus not on the collection of consumer data by retailers and service providers, but rather the appropriate use of data by such entities once it has been collected, reviewed, and purposed, with a focus on the consumer's perspective. Learn how sensitivities to privacy will contribute to consumer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as be a hallmark of good business practice.”


Phil Britton - ULTA Beauty

Lynn Strand - Outside Knowledge LLC

Norm Wilhelm - Associate, Toddington International, Inc.

Emerging Trends in Libraries for 2016

Tue. June 14| 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM | Convention Center, Room 201-B

“Technology has changed the face of libraries, and is continuing to change how we work and how we deliver services to customers. The presentation introduces emerging technology trends, and how those trends are re-shaping library services. Examples of how to incorporate these emerging trends into libraries are provided. Attendees will leave knowing what trends to look for, the difference between a technology trend and a fad, and will have ideas on how their library can respond to emerging technology.”


Stephen Abram - CEO, Lighthouse Consulting Inc.


SLA 2016 is open to everyone from student to research director. The conference prides itself on being open to anyone who wishes to learn about the world of information management. Before you go, the SLA encourages you to check out Lonely Planet’s travel guide to Philadelphia and listen to the pre-conference Webinar hosted by the SLA Philadelphia Chapter.

You can follow @SLAconf on Twitter for real-time conference updates, and use #SLA2016 to join the conversation.

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Published by Research and Markets