2017 WLA Conference

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Kalahari Resort & Convention Center
1305 Kalahari Drive
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965 


Know Before You Go
WLA 2017 Conference



  • Swimsuit - there is a waterpark at the resort!
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Conference standard attire is business casual. Dress in layers: room temperatures vary.
  • Bring your preferred method of note-taking, whether it’s a notepad, tablet or laptop
  • Power/charging cords for all your devices
  • Portable snacks such as granola bars, nuts and fruit for quick lunches or evening break
  • Business cards (or make some in the Exhibit Hall)--take plenty and exchange them with everyone you meet. After the person has left your sight, write a note on the back of their business card so you’ll remember who they are
  • Photo ID, credit card and debit card (There is an ATM on site.)


  • The registration desk is located in the Kalahari Convention Center - North Atrium
    Tuesday, 3:00-7:00 p.m.; Wednesday, 7:00-7:00 p.m.; Thursday, 7:00 - 5:00 p.m.
  • If you have any questions, please ask one of the conference committee members wearing an ASK ME button. 


The WLA Conference benefits greatly from the commitment and enthusiasm of our vendors so be sure to visit the Exhibit Hall throughout the two days, particularly during the no-conflict times: Wednesday and Thursday, 10:00-10:45 a.m. and 3:00-3:45 p.m.

Tips to work the Exhibit Hall like a pro:

  • You don’t need to visit the exhibit hall at one fell swoop
  • Bring a copy of your resume to get reviewed by peer professionals in the Exhibit Hall
  • Get a professional headshot taken for FREE on Wednesday, 1-3 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall Sign up early! Be sure to dress nicely from the shoulders up.
  • Check-in with regular vendors and meet new ones. When you talk to vendors, ask who your specific sales representative is and be clear with them if you do not have purchasing authorization at your library.
  • Visit the Indie Author and Program Garden. Do you have a passive program that works well at your library? Bring lots of copies and/or a display of your fave passive program(s) to the WLA Exhibit Hall Wednesday and Thursday of the conference.  We can trade ideas. Stealing from each other is what it’s all about!


The WLA Conference Twitter and Facebook pages are great resources for important conference activities and fun. Catch up on the Twitter conversation using #wla17—hear from other attendees and learn more about conference activities.

Events that don’t require pre-registration:

Wednesday, Oct. 18     

  • WLA/WLA Foundation Membership Meeting, Banyan, 5:35-6:35 p.m.
  • Baraboo Public Library Tour and Open House, 5:45-8:15 p.m. Transportation provided via Dells Roo Trolley or provide your own.
  • UW-Milwaukee SOIS Reunion, Suite D, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • UW-Madison SLIS Reunion, Suite C, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Wisconsin Small Libraries Section (WISL) Business Meeting/Meet and Greet, Cypress, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • WLA Foundation Fundraiser, Return of Team Trivia - Join a team or cheer people on! ($30 at the door), Suite A, 8:00-11:00 p.m. 

Thursday, Oct. 19

  • Kilbourn Public Library Open House, 6:00-8:00 p.m. Transportation on your own
  • Youth Services Section (YSS) Booktalk & Social, Wisteria, 7:15-8:30 p.m. 

Friday, Oct. 20

  • 5K Fun Run/Walk - meet at the WLA Registration area - North Atrium, 7:00 a.m.

NEW FOR 2017


The WLA Conference Committee has put together a phenomenal slate of programs and events for the 2017 WLA Conference held at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells.

The Conference kicks off on Tuesday, October 17, with two pre-conferences: (1) Deliberate Creativity Workshop: How to Innovate on Demand, presented by Amy Climer, Climer Consulting, Ashville, North Carolina, and (2) Representation, Authenticity and Being Real: Diversity in Youth Services with Anna Haase Kruger and Tami Lee, both youth services librarians at the Ramsey County Public Libraries in St. Paul, Minnesota. Also, don't forget those all-important meetings, including the System and Resource Library Administrators' Association (SRLAAW), Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC) and the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA). To cap off the evening, join WiLS for their annual fall classic at the Kalahari Upper Deck Lounge & Lanes.

On Wednesday, October 18, Grace Lim is the opening keynote speaker. Ms. Lim has more than 20 years of journalism experience and has covered stories ranging from hard-news crime to celebrity profiles. She currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where her students produce the Humans of Oshkosh Storytelling Project. Lim firmly believes in the power of storytelling and how we all can work toward the proverbial common good through our stories, and how librarians must continue to take a lead role in the telling, the protecting, and the sharing of these stories.

The keynote address will be followed by the grand opening of the exhibit hall—welcome the vendors and bid on items in the WLA Foundation Silent Auction.

Other Wednesday highlights include the YSS Luncheon with author Andrea Davis Pinkney, who will discuss the role libraries can and do play in creating welcoming and inclusive communities, and how her work as a book creator supports these efforts; UW-Madison SLIS and UW-Milwaukee SOIS reunions; and the WLA Foundation Fundraiser, Return of Team Trivia.

Get up early Thursday morning to attend a WLA unit business meeting and get involved in WLA! These meetings will be followed by the Thursday keynote speaker, Linda Liukas. Ms. Liukas is a programmer, storyteller and illustrator from Helsinki, Finland. Her book series Hello Ruby introduces the whimsical world of technology for kids and has been translated to over 20 languages.

Other Thursday highlights include a special library tour of the Crane Foundation Library in Baraboo (registration required); WLTF luncheon with Jessamyn West, a librarian and technologist living in rural Vermont who has been speaking on the intersection of libraries, technology and politics since 2003; the annual Awards & Honors Reception; and a YSS Booktalk and Social.

Start your Friday with a 5K walk/run and conclude it with the President’s Luncheon featuring Michelle Wildgen. Ms. Wildgen is a writer, editor and teacher in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as the executive editor at the literary journal Tin House.

We hope you can join us for this fabulous conference! Registration is open and rooms may already be reserved at the Kalahari. For more details see the conference website, http://wla.wisconsinlibraries.org/events-conferences/annual-conference/registration-hotel