A Brief History of Reaching Forward
In 1988 the concept for developing a conference for library support staff in Illinois was born. The committee was comprised of a group of support staff and advisory personnel from library systems.
The first conference was held in 1990 at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, for 250 attendees, and a long waiting list. The conference was very successful and the planning for year two began. Each year brought more popularity and waiting lists. This prompted a search for a location where waiting lists and registration deadlines would not be a problem. In 1996 a new home was found at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. Reaching Forward is held in late spring. Each year approximately 1,000 people attend, with a usual offering of 30 concurrent programs throughout the day.
Through the years, a format that works was developed. It includes breakfast, a keynote address, three sessions of at least ten programs each, lunch, lunch entertainment, and exhibitors; all making for a day full of learning, networking, food and fun.
In 2010 the conference celebrates its 20th anniversary.