By Larra Clark
The marathon South by Southwest (SXSW) conference—nearly two weeks of education, technology, film, and music—starts this week in Austin, Texas, and the American Library Association (ALA) and librarians will be on hand. SXSW provides a vibrant space to look outside libraries at many of the emerging technology trends and innovations likely coming to our campuses and communities, as well as raise the visibility of how libraries and librarians are transforming to create opportunity and meet new demands. It also is a great place to connect and consider new collaborations.
The Center for the Future of Libraries takes the stage March 8 at SXSWedu with “Hacking Education through Libraries,” and Director Miguel Figueroa will be joined by school library leaders to explore ways that librarians can be change agents and address such issues as equity, access, social justice, free-ranging learning, and development of new literacies.
ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) will be represented on “No More Yoda Heads: 3D Printing 4 Diverse Learners.” OITP Senior Policy Analyst Charlie Wapner will present this session with nonprofit tech company Benetech to discuss ways in which the education community—including libraries, museums, and schools—can leverage 3D printing to create learning opportunities for students with print and other disabilities.
The end of the week begins the transition to SXSW Interactive and a focus on technology and technology policy. The Re:Create Coalition (of which ALA is a founding member) will take a look at “Copyright and Creators: 2026” on March 11. America’s Libraries in the 21st Century (AL21C) subcommittee member Laura Damon-Moore will bring the Library as Incubator Project to SXSW with “Get Messy in the Library: Art, Making, and Tinkering” on March 13. Another ALA coalition, WiFiForward, will discuss “Wi-Fi in Jeopardy” with two members of the Federal Communications Commission on March 14.
The official Librarian Meetup is back on for the morning of March 14, with the unofficial Mugshots Librarian After-hours later that night. Throughout SXSW Interactive, ALA and its lib*interactive partners will engage conference goers on the exhibit floor at Booth 438, including a shout-out from the Pitch Stage.
Also back this year is the Library #IdeaDrop house, both onsite and online via its free webstream. In addition to all of the great discussions and talks that happens at the house, this year the Knight Foundation will be holding “office hours” there to get feedback on ideas for its 2016 library challenge.
Those in Austin are encouraged to attend one or more of these events and share news with #liblove. Others can follow along at American Libraries (with upcoming posts from Jason Griffey at SXSW Interactive), @lib_interactive, or via the Library #IdeaDrop house webstream.