by Natalia Tabisaura

You’re sold on the idea of going to the next ALA Conference, but where oh where will the funds come from?’  It’s easy to say you want to go, but with a place to stay, food, and transportation to consider the price tag becomes daunting and the question arises: Should I go?

Heck yes, you should! The education you get at a conference trumps any webinar or experience in class. Don’t give up hope!’  You can find conference funding in a myriad of unexpected (and expected) places. Here are a few strategies for getting the financial support to get that well-educated tush of yours to the next annual conference.

1. Student discounts! If you are a current student, ALA offers a $100 off registration to encourage library school students to attend.

2. Research grants and scholarships can make a dent in the conference costs. Be sure to pay attention to the deadlines. Also, check the web pages of the associations and subgroups you are a member of for additional opportunities. Here is a list of grants and awards (source:

  • 3M/NMRT Professional Development Grant – Helps finance attendance at ALA Annual. It covers round trip airfare, lodging, conference registration fees and some incidental expenses. Must be a personal ALA/NMRT member working within the territorial U.S.
  • AASL Frances Henne Award – This $1,250 award recognizes a school library media specialist with five years or less experience who demonstrates leadership qualities with students, teachers and administrators, to attend an AASL conference or ALA Annual Conference for the first time. Applicants must be AASL personal members.
  • ACRL/DLS Haworth Press Distance Learning Librarian Conference Sponsorship Award provides $1200 to help defray the costs of travel to and participation in the ALA Annual Meeting and a plaque sponsored by Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Baker & Taylor/YALSA Conference Grants – $1,000 grants to public and school librarians to attend their first ALA conference.
  • The Diana V. Braddom FRFDS Scholarship offers $1,000 stipend towards attending the Fundraising and Financial Development programs at the annual ALA conference.
  • EBSCO Conference Sponsorship – This annual award consisting of $1,000 for actual reimbursed expenses is designed to allow librarians to attend the ALA’s Annual Conference.
  • The Federal Librarians Adelaide Del Frate Conference Sponsorship Award of $1,000 is given to a library school student who has an interest in working in a Federal Library for ALA Annual conference attendance.
  • First Step Award/Wiley Professional Development Grant is intended to provide librarians new to the serials field with the opportunity to broaden their perspective and to encourage professional development in ALA Conference and participation in Serials Section activities. The $1,500, donated by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., cash award is applicable toward round trip transportation, lodging, registration fees, etc.
  • The Gordon M. Conable conference scholarship provides for ALA Annual conference registration, transportation, housing for six nights, and per diem expenses. In return, the recipient will be expected to attend various FTRF and other intellectual freedom meetings and programs at conference, consult with a mentor/board member, and present a report about their experiences and thoughts.
  • Penguin Young Readers Group Award gives $600 toward attendance at a first ALA conference.
  • The Shirley Olofson Memorial Award gives $1,000 to an ALA/NMRT member for ALA Annual conference attendance.
  • YALSA Supporting Diversity Conference Stipend offers two YALSA members with a diverse background up to $1,000 for ALA Annual conference expenses.
  • YALSA’s Leadership Endowment‘ ‘  : Dorothy Broderick Student Conference Scholarship: It funds travel to the conference for one graduate student for up to $1,000. Applications must be received in the YALSA office by December 1 each year. (source:

3. Check at work! Even with talk about budgets, libraries want their staff to be current. Sometimes funding is available for professional development through your library system. Every penny counts!

Although these ideas may seem obvious, think about trying out these other money-saving techniques to make your conference trip more affordable:

  • Look for cheap flights in airfare sales or use frequent flier miles. If driving is an option, try carpooling! Las Vegas is a mere 4 hours away from Los Angeles.
  • Stay off the Strip: Try a hotel or restaurant off of Las Vegas Blvd to save some hard-earned cash!
  • Buy groceries: A loaf of bread and a jar of goober can save some dough.
  • Get a player’s card: Many of the major resorts have “club” cards for their guests.’  These cards can be used for discounts in restaurants and on future room reservations.
  • Share space: Finding a roomie (or several) can be the biggest trip saver.

Lastly, leave the pocket lint at home. The post title implies a little magic to get you to ALA 2014, but all you really need is a little elbow grease. You can do it, you savvy librarian you. I believe in you. Good luck and see you at the conference!

Useful Links:


3 Thoughts on “How to Fund a Conference Trip on Pocket Lint and Dreams

  1. Hi Natalia,
    Thank you for the great info! I am always looking for ways to finance conference attendance. It looks like the 3M/NMRT Professional Development Grant link, YALSA Supporting Diversity Conference Stipend link, ACRL/DLS Haworth Press Distance Learning Librarian Conference Sponsorship Award aren’t working. Thanks again for the post. 🙂

  2. Natalia Tabisaura on December 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm said:

    Hi Paige!

    The original links were provided from: I apologize for any inconvenience. 🙂 All three are linked to, whose site is currently under maintenance. Please refer back to at a later date for the current information. Best wishes and good luck! I hope this information helps.

  3. It does thank you!

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