Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy is committed to training and staff development.  During our annual conference we provide workshops, keynote speakers and networking to anyone who is involved or wants to be involved with early literacy.  What began in 2008 as a small annual meeting has turned into a full day conference that attracts hundreds attendees, including some from out of state, and is recognized nationwide as a premier early literacy professional development opportunity.

From the beginning, CLEL has been committed to accessibility. Membership is free and conference costs are kept to a minimum to encourage and allow broad participation for library staff, students, volunteers, and trustees in libraries in Colorado and beyond.

In 2020 the Conference Committee continued to provide low-cost, high quality professional development in while pivoting to a virtual environment. The first virtual CLELCON drew speakers and participants from across the country. CLEL also introduced the Leadership Institute to the conference in 2020. In 2022, the leadership Institute will be reimagined as a learning track, with pertinent sessions available on both days of the conference.

CLELCON22: Bridging the Gap

CLEL Virtual Conference

October 6 & 7, 2022 / 11- 4:30pm (times are tentative)

CLEL is proud to once again offer our annual conference sessions virtually! Our virtual conference is able to reach members from across the continent and provide learning opportunities in a safe environment. We are excited to offer several tracks at the 2022 conference — Early Literacy Foundations (for those new to the field or wanting a refresher over core EL knowledge), Early Literacy Leadership (for those that are leading change — with or without the title), and Early Literacy News (trends & developments in the field). The 2022 conference will be delivered live via Hopin and all Keynotes and breakout sessions will have live captioning and be recorded.

Growing Readers Together Summit

October 14, 2022

This year CLEL will also offer an in-person opportunity, in partnership with the Colorado State Library, at the Douglas County Library in Parker, CO. The in-person summit celebrates the Growing Readers Together (GRT) grant project and the lesson learned from libraries across Colorado serving Family, Friend and Neighbor caregivers through exceptional early literacy service and outreach. The summit will offer professional development and networking opportunities for all early literacy professionals.

Call For Presenters: April 18 – June 17

CLEL is accepting proposal submissions for the 2022 Virtual Conference. This year’s conference offers two different opportunities to share your knowledge and  experience: Break Out Session Presenters and Discussion Facilitators.

Breakout Session Presentations: Breakout room presenters will lead a 50-minute information session on early literacy and library topics. This year CLEL will offer sessions on three different tracks: Early Literacy Foundations, Early Literacy Leadership, and Early Literacy News. Example topics can be found on the proposal form.

Discussion Facilitators: Discussion sessions at CLELCON are meant to be a low pressure, casual way for members to share knowledge, resources, and most importantly, connect & have fun. Those interested in facilitating a discussion can submit their topic idea using this  interest form.


Congratulations to our 2021 Award Winners!


The CLEL Rising Star Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional work in early literacy. This person may be newer to the field and a rising star who inspires others to do outstanding early literacy work.

Julia Makowski, Buena Vista Public Library

CLEL HERO AWARD (Individual)

The CLEL Hero award is a career achievement award for outstanding generosity to Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy and/or the support of early literacy in the state.

Betsy Brainard, Arapahoe Libraries


For outstanding commitment to the promotion of early literacy throughout the state of Colorado and consistent support of Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy. 

LENA Start

Previous Conference Information

Thank you to our sponsors!

Colorado State Library
The friends of Araphoe Libraries

Links to presenter content from this year and previous years can be found at the links below.​

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