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. Get details and add to your schedule.

Auditorium Speaker Series

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

Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang, teacher, cartoonist and author, began drawing comic books in the fifth grade and in 1997 received a Xeric Grant for his first comic, Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks.  A MacArthur Fellow, Yang has produced full-length graphic novels, short stories, and serial comics, many of which explore present-day and historical events through a contemporary Chinese American lens. American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. He currently writes Dark Horse Comic's Avatar: The Last Airbender series and DC Comic's Superman. Secret Coders, his middle-grade graphic novel series with cartoonist Mike Holmes, teaches kids the basics of computer programming. Yang is a long-time educator who champions comics and graphic novels as educational tools in the classroom and has delivered a TEDx Talk on the subject.

As National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Yang is focusing on his program “Reading Without Walls,” showing kids and teens—and adults invested in young people’s literacy—that reading is a vital part of their lives, and the importance of “reading without walls.” This might mean reading a book about a character who doesn’t look like them or live like them, reading a book about a topic they don’t know much about, or reading a book in a format they don’t usually choose.

Yang said he was thrilled to serve as Honorary Chair of the 2016 National Library Week. “Libraries were such an important part of my childhood, and they're an important part of my life today.  I visit my local library to research, to read, to write, and to be inspired. I'm deeply grateful for our nation’s libraries and librarians.” Get details and add to your schedule.

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. Get details and add to your schedule.

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, as part of the official launch of ALA Book Club Central, for which she will serve as Honorary Chair, Parker will unveil her first title selection and introduce the guest author who will join her on stage. 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.

A book signing by the Book Club Central selected author will immediately follow the program.  Get details and add to your schedule.

~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. Get details and add to your schedule.

ALA Awards & Keynote Address Hosted by ALA President Julie Todaro

Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Ron Chernow

Ron Chernow

Join ALA President Julie Todaro for the ALA Awards followed by her selected guest speaker, Ron Chernow ̶ always a highlight of the conference. One of the most distinguished commentators on politics, business, and finance in the U.S. today, 2015 National Humanities Medal recipient and bestselling author, Chernow has been praised by the National Endowment for the Humanities for “…bringing our Nation’s story to life. Through his examination of America’s successful giants and titans, Chernow invites his readers to discover their failures and foibles, uncovering enduring lessons that inform our modern era.”

His books have won many awards, including the 1990 best nonfiction National Book Award for his first book, The House of Morgan, now considered a modern classic, and the Pulitzer Prize for his 2010 biography of George Washington. His second book, The Warburgs, won the prestigious George S. Eccles Prize for best business book and was cited by the ALA as one of the year’s ten best works. In reviewing his collection of essays, The Death of the Banker, The New York Times called Chernow “as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we’ve seen in decades.”

Chernow’s much anticipated biography of Alexander Hamilton was described by The New York Times as “moving and masterly…by far the best biography ever written about the man”. The book inspired the Broadway musical “Hamilton” on which Chernow worked with the show’s creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda as historical consultant. As a member of the show’s creative team, Chernow was a recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical ̶ his first theater award.

A frequent contributor to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Chernow is a familiar figure on national radio and television shows and has appeared in numerous documentaries. He has received six honorary doctorates, and recently joined the board of trustees of Humanity in Action, a global human rights organization.

His newest biography, Grant, will be published in Fall 2017. Get details and add to your schedule.

Auditorium Speaker Series

Monday, June 26, 2017 - 8:30am to 9:30am
Andy Weir

United For Libraries President’s Program

Andy Weir

Bestselling author, Andy Weir built a career as a software engineer until the runaway success of his debut novel, The Martian, which has sold over 3 million copies, allowed him to write fulltime. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects such as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight.

United for Libraries President Susan Schmidt will host the President’s Program featuring Weir, as part of the Auditorium Speaker Series.

Weir will introduce his new book, Artemis, an adrenaline-charged crime caper that features smart, detailed world-building based on real science and the charm that makes Weir’s writing so irresistible. The book has already garnered feature film adaptation in Hollywood. This, coupled with his new CBS TV show, Mission Control, a drama about flight controllers at NASA, Weir seems to be living his dreams, as he grew up not wanting to be an astronaut, but a flight controller. “I grew up when it sucked to be a nerd. When you’d be intensely unpopular. The only people who liked you were other hard-core nerds. Now, it’s all, You’re a nerd, you’re probably going to be successful in life!”

Artemis will be available in Fall 2017. A book signing will follow the program.

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. Get details and add to your schedule.

Closing General Session

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 10:00am to 11:30am
Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton

In 2016 Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first woman in U.S. history to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. She served as the 67th Secretary of State—from January 21, 2009, until February 1, 2013—after nearly four decades in public service advocating on behalf of children and families as an attorney, First Lady, and U.S. Senator from New York. She and her husband, President Bill Clinton, are the proud parents of Chelsea and grandparents of Charlotte and Aidan. 

She is the author of several bestselling books, including the memoirs Hard Choices and Living History, and her groundbreaking work on children, It Takes a Village. This September, Simon & Schuster will publish a new book by Secretary Clinton. Additionally, in September, It Takes a Village will be published for the first time by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers as an all-new, full-color picture book illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee.

Get details and add to your schedule.