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Last Modified: April 22, 2022
2022 Alberta Library Conference Round-up

By Jessie Bach

It’s springtime in Alberta, and we all know what that means—library conference season! Conferences are important professional development opportunities for librarians and library staff, library board trustees, and others in the library industry. Learning about new initiatives, ideas and technology, sharing knowledge and experience with others, meeting with vendors and services providers, and networking with colleagues are just a few of the many reasons for attending. Library conferences, like those in other sectors, typically consist of keynote addresses, a variety of informative sessions, poster presentations, committee and workgroup meetings, author talks and readings, and the chance to spend time collaborating and socializing with colleagues.

There have been some big changes to the traditional Alberta library conference line-up in the past few years, driven mainly by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alberta Library Conference (ALC), which for decades was held every April at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and was considered the must-attend event for public, academic, school, and special libraries alike, was cancelled in 2020 and has not been held since. Some regular annual conferences, like the Marigold Library System Conference, will be held in-person this year for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. At the same time, new events have emerged—like the Stronger Together Virtual Conference, now in it’s third year—that make use of the opportunities presented by meeting online to welcome attendees from all over Alberta and even around the world.

Below is a list of public library conferences taking place in Alberta this year:

SALC 2022 Logo
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Southern Alberta Library Conference (SALC)

When: April 29, 2022

Where: Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge, Lethbridge AB

SALC is right around the corner! With the theme Fill Your Cup, this conference aims to “rejuvenate and replenish” with a great line-up of speakers including author Gillian Goerz, life coach (and more) Karen Larkin, and comedian Faris Hytiaa. This conference is hosted by the Chinook Arch Regional Library System and Lethbridge Public Library; sadly for most of us, registration for this year’s conference is limited to Chinook Arch member library staff and board members.

For those readers lucky enough to qualify for attendance, the full conference program and details are available here.

Marigold Library System Conference Logo 2022
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Marigold Library System Conference

When: May 11, 2022

Where: Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre in Calgary, AB

The Marigold Library System Conference is an annual, one-day event held every May. This year’s theme is From Disruption to Direction and session presenters will try to answer the question, “How can you forge forward with certainty, new connections, and a focused direction for your library?” If you grew up in the eighties and nineties like I did, you may just fangirl a bit over this year’s keynote speakers, Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod of BodyBreak! The pair filmed a short YouTube video this winter to announce their appearance at the conference. There’s a great variety of sessions on offer at this conference: staff recognition and team building, patron engagement online, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, book bikes, adult story times, the Enneagram, and more.

Registration for this conference will only cost you $150 (with discounts for Marigold member library board members and staff, or students) and is open until April 29.

Click here for full conference details, including registration, session blurbs and vendor information.

Northern Lights Library System Conference

Northern Lights Library System Conference 2022 Logo
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When: May 27, 2022

Where: Allied Arts and Leisure Centre in Elk Point, AB

This year, Northern Lights’ annual conference has been dubbed Spark and Ignite: Celebrate New Hope and New Horizons. The program is jam-packed, featuring six sessions on topics ranging from non-traditional library collections and the Summer Reading Program to accessibility, emotional labour in public libraries, and Indigenous topics. Hoop dance artist James Jones (currently on tour with A Tribe Called Red!) will be the keynote speaker.

You can check out the conference website for all the details. Registration closes on May 17, and it costs $85 to attend.

Stronger Together Virtual Conference

2022 Stronger Together Virtual Conference Logo
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When: October 6–7, 2022

Where: The World Wide Web

The first Stronger Together virtual conference was held in 2020 in response to the global pandemic and has since been attended by thousands of people from Alberta and all around the world. The aim of Stronger Together is to “demonstrate how libraries leverage collaboration, teamwork and technology to thrive amid adversity.” This conference is a collaborative endeavour by The Alberta Library (TAL), Peace Library System, Parkland Regional Library System, and Yellowhead Regional Library. Stronger Together is currently in the planning stages and they are accepting submissions for forty-five minutes sessions and poster presentations on the themes of advocacy, leadership, freedom of information, access and diversity, core competencies, and technology. The deadline for submissions is May 10, 2022.

The Stronger Together Virtual Conference is free to attend! Registration doesn’t open until August, but you can visit the conference website to check out videos from previous conferences and sign up to receive e-mail updates.

This year’s Alberta public library conference line-up offers a wide variety of themes, settings, and keynote and session presentations. With the exception of SALC, attendance is not limited to just those who work and volunteer with Alberta’s libraries—anyone who’s interested is welcome! I hope to see you there.


Beyond the Stacks is a column about libraries in Alberta and the useful and necessary services they provide.

Photo of Jessie Bach, author of this articleJessie Bach grew up on a family farm in Southern Alberta, and is a life-long library user and book lover. She has a degree in history from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Master of Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University. Jessie has worked in archives, academic libraries, corporate records management, and now public libraries. Her current role is Bibliographic Services Manager at Marigold Library System where she manages the team that does acquisitions, cataloguing and processing of library material for Marigold’s thirty-six member libraries. She currently lives in Calgary with her partner and, in true librarian fashion, four cats. Jessie likes to read (of course), knit, consume way too many true crime podcasts, and lift weights in the gym.