The Future of Libraries at SXSW EDU

The SXSW EDU community is optimistic, forward-thinking, and purpose-driven with a shared goal of impacting the future of teaching and learning.


Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

By Jessica Crabbe


The SXSW EDU Conference & Festival is an annual event that fosters innovations in learning, convening education stakeholders from across the globe in Austin, Texas. This year, SXSW EDU celebrates 10 years, March 9-12, 2020.


The SXSW EDU community is optimistic, forward-thinking, and purpose-driven with a shared goal of impacting the future of teaching and learning. The four-day event offers compelling sessions, in-depth workshops, engaging learning experiences, mentorship, film screenings, future-focused competitions, an expo, networking opportunities, and so much more.


SXSW EDU is unique in featuring conference and festival programming—with dialog around the entire learning lifecycle—from early education to higher ed and beyond. This year’s programming tracks are Accessibility & Inclusion, Adult Learning, Arts, Business & Investment, Early Learning, Emerging Tech & Development, Equity, Global Education, Higher Education, Informal Learning, K-12 Education, LeadershipPolicy & Civic Engagement, Science of Learning, SEL & Wellness, and Student Agency.


Within the programming tracks, a key focus is on libraries. Libraries play a critical role in education. As a community space, the library creates a safe environment for learners and champions equitable learning. Over the last decade, libraries have undergone substantive change. As information delivery continues to evolve and new technologies come into play, the future of libraries is timely.


SXSW EDU will feature a great number of sessions and events this March exploring librarianship. Here are a few highlights:

Designing Information Delivery of the Future – Head of Art & Architecture Library at Virginia Tech, Cathryn Copper, is exploring how the academic library can transform into a hybrid space.

Designing a City of Lifelong Learning – This Future20 shares the story of what happened when a design firm teamed up with the Drucker Institute, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and the library system of South Bend.

Drag Queen Story Hour: The Power of Storytelling – In this workshop, Drag Queen Story Hour storytellers will explore the belief that people of all ages should be free to express themselves.

Easy Is Boring; Design for New Knowledge – This hands-on session explores how play, trust, and open-ended materials invite conditions for curiosity and learning uninhibited by teacher assumptions.

Elevate Literacy and Empower Readers & Leaders – Campus and District Administrators who have firsthand experience with dynamic literacy initiatives in schools across the country will discuss ways to elevate literacy, make connections, and create experiences that are diverse and inclusive.

Evaluating Impact: A Case for Esports in Schools – This workshop, led by industry experts and educators, will provide a deep dive into adding an esports program at your school or library.

Museum, Informal, & Out-of-School Time Meet Up – Network with educators and professionals from museums, libraries, out-of-school time programs, and folks interested in the informal education space.

Project LIT Community: Just Read It – Project LIT Community was founded with the goal of eliminating book deserts and promoting a love of reading in Nashville.

StoryMakers and Shakers: Storytelling Off the Page – In a workshop with The New York Public Library’s Jessica Espejel and performance and consulting artist Tommaso Lana, attendees will learn to adapt well-known books into interactive, visual stories using whole body techniques for an inclusive and multi-sensory learning experience.

Stamping Out Racism – Bestselling author Jason Reynolds will talk about his new book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning.


Sign in to the SXSW EDU schedule to browse the complete listing of sessions and events taking place March 9-12, 2020.


Register to attend SXSW EDU before the upcoming discount deadline, Friday, February 14, to save $55. Group registration rates are also available to teams of 6 or more.



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