On May 19-20, 2021 we hosted our first ever hybrid conference at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort. Over 60 attendees joined us in person and more than 300 logged in to partake in the festivities. 2020-2021 President, Laura Spears, welcomed us all and set the tone for a productive conference. Her theme, Lead Inclusively, was featured as the main topic throughout the event.

Through the use of innovative technology, sessions were live-streamed from the hotel to our online conference hub, allowing all attendees to simultaneously participate in featured sessions during the 2-day conference. Keynote speakers Ryan Dowd and ALA President Julius Jefferson Jr., provided thought-provoking and informative content on inclusion and diversity. Dowd specifically focused on libraries and the homeless population and how to better serve them while Jefferson Jr. presented on advocacy for libraries at the state and local levels and the importance of telling your library stories. He also acted as moderator for an important and in-depth panel discussion on race and diversity in the workplace.

A big draw for many of our conferences is the exhibit hall and this year was no different. We had over 30 vendors participate, both in-person and online, which provided an inviting and intimate atmosphere to create meaningful connections. Exhibitor Lightning Rounds was a new event created for our virtual vendors in which each online exhibitor was featured and had the opportunity to tell their stories. We also included our popular attendee Lightning Round sessions, which took place in the exhibit hall.

Our President’s Reception had a twist this year, featuring one session for our virtual attendees and one session for the in-person folks. Comedian/magician Harrison Greenbaum performed during our online happy hour; he impressed many with his magic skills and had us laughing throughout. Our attendees in Daytona enjoyed a fabulous dinner and a show featuring Deep Forest Native American Performance that included native dancing and spoken word. Joining them was a Polynesian group who also displayed innate dancing and fire-throwing show.

At our annual conference, we like to take the time to recognize some of the wonderful work being done in the library community and present our FLA Awards. This year had a special twist with one of our award presenters and several of our award winners joining us virtually for the ceremony. It was such a pleasure to see everyone and include those who could not be there in-person. You can now visit our website and read all about the winners and their projects: 2021 FLA Award Winners.

We featured three educational sessions that were live-streamed so all attendees could participate. During each session, virtual and in-person attendees had the opportunities to watch and ask questions! We also had, once again, amazing breakout and lightning round speakers who recorded their content and is available for all registered attendees to watch through July 31st! Click here to watch: Breakout Sessions.

Our first ever hybrid conference was a huge success thanks to the guidance of past president Laura Spears and the hard work of the conference planning committee. It was and event we are certainly proud! Take a moment and check out the pictures here and don't forget the search for #flacon2021 for all the online activity! Thank you to all who participated and made the 2021 FLA Hybrid Annual Conference a huge success!