Featured Speakers

Opening General Session

Friday, June 23, 2017 -
4:00pm to 5:15pm
Reshma Saujani

Reshma Saujani 

Since 2012, Girls Who Code has taught computing skills to and inspired more than10,000 girls across America--and they're just at the beginning of their mission to close the gender gap in tech. Reshma Saujani, the Founder and CEO of the national non-profit organization, is also the author of the groundbreaking book Women Who Don't Wait In Line, in which she advocates for a new model of female leadership focused on embracing risk and failure, promoting mentorship and sponsorship, and boldly charting your own course.

Girls Who Code is growing fast, with a goal of reaching one million young women by 2020 (by when 1.4 million jobs will be open in computing related fields in the US, but we are only on pace to fill 29% of them with computing graduates, and a mere 3% of those will be women). The organization has been featured in more than 100 publications and media outlets, from The New York Times to The Today Show, and has more than 105,000 Twitter followers—likely including some of your patrons and students. The forthcoming book Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World (August 2017, ages 10 and up), will show girls how coding skills are relevant to their lives and will get them excited about creating their own apps, games, and robots. With dynamic artwork, down-to-earth explanations of coding principles, and real-life stories of girls and women working at places like Pixar and NASA, it sets out to prove that coding is truly for everyone, no matter their interests. “The world is advancing in technology and women and girls need to educate ourselves on computer science to catch up. I don't know how to code but this book has inspired me to learn,” says Malala Yousafzai, Student, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Co-Founder of the Malala Fund. The Friendship Code, a fictional title, will be published at the same time as Girls Who Code.

Saujani has been named one of Fortune's 40 under 40, a WSJ Magazine Innovator of the Year, one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by the New York Daily News, Forbes's Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Business Insider's 50 Women Who Are Changing the World, and an AOL/PBS Next MAKER. Listen to her TED Talk “Teach girls bravery, not perfection” to learn more about her passions and philosophy. 

Auditorium Speaker Series

Saturday, June 24, 2017 -
8:30am to 9:30am
Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang

More details to come.

Auditorium Speaker Series

Saturday, June 24, 2017 -
10:30am to 11:30am
Sandra Uwiringiyimana

Sandra Uwiringiyimana

Sandra Uwiringiyimana, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was just ten years old when she found herself with a gun pointed at her head. She had watched as rebels gunned down her mother and six-year-old sister in a refugee camp. Remarkably, the rebel didn’t pull the trigger, and she escaped. Uwiringiyimana tells her remarkable story in the memoir How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child. She joins us to share the story of her survival, of finding her place in a new country, of her hope for the future, and how she found a way to give voice to her people.

Since her family’s resettlement to the United States in 2007 through a United Nations refugee program, Uwiringiyimana has fought hard to raise awareness and calls for justice for the Gatumba massacre and other human rights abuses in the region. She is passionate about girls’ education and ending child marriage, and has become a voice for women and girls, refugees and immigrants, and forgotten people like the Banyamulenge Tribe. Now a student at Mercy College in New York City, she is the co-founder and Director of Partnerships & Communications at Jimbere Fund (jimberefund.org). In telling her story, she has shared the world stage with Charlie Rose, Angelina Jolie, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Tina Brown at the Women in the World Summit. She addressed the United Nations Security Council to plead with world leaders to act on the pressing issue of children in armed conflict.

ALA President's Program

Saturday, June 24, 2017 -
3:30pm to 4:30pm
Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker

“From an early age, books were my constant companions and my local library a place I could find a new friend on every shelf,” says award-winning television and film actor, producer, designer, library supporter and avid reader Sarah Jessica Parker. During this 2017 President’s Program, she will unveil her first title selection as part of the official launch of ALA Book Club Central, for which she will serve as Honorary Chair. Book Club Central—created in partnership with Booklist and United for Libraries—is an online platform of reading resources, including recommendations, expert book lists and other content for book clubs and their readers. Parker’s role will include providing a selection of recommended titles throughout the year, and she says she is “thrilled to help champion original voices for dedicated readers as well as for a new generation, supporting libraries in what they do best.” As host of the President’s Program and initiator of Book Club Central, ALA President Julie Todaro says, “The ALA is lucky to be able to share Ms. Parker’s passion and expertise with book clubs and readers everywhere.”

In another literary venture, Parker recently launched SJP for Hogarth with Molly Stern, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Crown, Hogarth, Broadway, Crown Archetype, and Three Rivers Press. SJP for Hogarth will selectively publish high-quality works of fiction by both established writers and distinctive emerging voices with critical and commercial promise.

Parker, an Emmy-, Golden Globe-, and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actor, is the star and executive producer of the HBO series “Divorce,” and is well known for her leading role as Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City.” She currently serves as the Vice-Chairman of the board of directors for the New York City ballet, and was elected in 2009 by the Obama administration to be a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Note: This President’s Program will take place on Saturday rather than Sunday at the 2017 Annual Conference.

Auditorium Speaker Series

Sunday, June 25, 2017 -
8:30am to 9:30am
Brené Brown

Brené Brown

Dr. Brené Brown has spent the past 15 years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers – The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong. With over 25 million views, her TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world. She has also appeared on Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday,” “Super Soul Sessions,” and in Oprah magazine. The session will take place on Sunday, June 25, 8:30-9:30am, at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago

Brown’s reputation as a speaker is built on her ability to explore difficult topics with tremendous honesty, warmth, and humor. She is a thought-leader, researcher, and storyteller with the rare ability to both inspire audiences and leave them with actionable change strategies. As she says, “you either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”

Brown is the Founder and CEO of both COURAGEworks–an online learning platform that offers classes for individuals and families on braver living and loving, and BRAVE LEADERS INC–an organization dedicated to providing courage-building programs for leaders at every level of an organization. In 2016, the Huffington Foundation endowed a new chair at The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work to honor the research professor.  The Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair provides annual resources for Brown’s research to attract world-class students pursuing training in Grounded Theory methodology and increase the impact of her work as more students are trained in her research on vulnerability, shame, courage and empathy.

Auditorium Speaker Series

Monday, June 26, 2017 -
2:00pm to 3:00pm
Bill NyeGregory Mone

Bill Nye and Gregory Mone

Science educator, television presenter, media personality, mechanical engineer, and New York Times bestselling author William Sanford "Bill" Nye, popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is joined in this session by co-author Gregory Mone, a novelist, science journalist, speaker, and children’s book author. The first book in their new middle-grade series from Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, “Jack and the Geniuses,” is publishing this spring and the second will be out in fall 2017.

As creator of the Emmy award-winning syndicated television show Bill Nye the Science Guy, Nye first became a household name while introducing the millennial generation to science and engineering.

Now he is best known as a champion of scientific literacy, and has challenged climate deniers, creationists, and other opponents of evidence-based education and policy. Since 2010, he has served as CEO of The Planetary Society. Co-founded by Carl Sagan, The Planetary Society sponsors projects that seed innovative space technologies, nurture creative young minds, and advocate for our future in space. Nye makes his much-anticipated return to the screen on April 21, 2017, in the new Netflix series “Bill Nye Saves the World.”

Mone has covered artificial intelligence, robots, physics, and biology as a magazine writer. “I’m always busy writing about strange people building strange contraptions,” he says. His award-winning children’s books include Fish, Dangerous Waters, and The Truth About Santa: Wormholes, Robots, and What Really Happens on Christmas Eve, which at its heart is about the power of science and technology and which was picked by USA Today as one of its “top five holiday books for geeks.”

In “Jack and the Geniuses,” Nye and Mone take middle-grade readers on a scientific adventure that features real-world science and scientific facts along with action and a mystery that will leave kids guessing until the end, making the books ideal for STEM education.