A high-profile thought leader opens the conference on a high note every year as part of the conference's Opening General Session, where the ALA President and others welcome you to ALA Annual Conference and set the stage for the coming days.
A rare opportunity to hear leading authors, thought-leaders, and experts from adult and youth fiction, technology, popular culture, and other areas in these stimulating general sessions on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Remarkable teen entrepreneur and activist Maya Penn’s TEDWomen Talk has been viewed more than 1,200,000 million times (and is one of the top 15 TEDWomen Talks of all time). She has already given three TED Talks, created her own eco-friendly fashion line, developed animated films, is an award-winning philanthropist, a girls’ rights and environmental activist, and an artist, coder, illustrator, and writer.
She is the CEO of Maya’s Ideas, a company she started in 2008 when she was just eight years old; 10-20% of the profits go to local and global charities and environmental organizations. Her nonprofit, Maya’s Ideas 4 The Planet, contributes to girls in developing countries. She also helps girls pursue their passions in technology and STEM fields.
Penn has been featured in Forbes, Time, NPR, CNN, O Magazine, Essence, The View, The Steve Harvey Show, Huffington Post, The NRDC, Entrepreneur Magazine, Wired, Black Enterprise, Cosmopolitan, Ebony, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and many other publications. In her forthcoming inspirational handbook, You Got This! Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change Your World (April 2016, North Star Way), Penn shares her journey and provides a creative blueprint for teens and young adults, along with the tools she has used to build an authentic, exciting, successful, and connected life.
Simon & Schuster
Join ALA President Sari Feldman for the ALA Awards followed by the president's selected guest speaker, Diane Guerrero, always a highlight of the conference.
“America's libraries have advanced the American Dream by providing services and resources that welcome and support all immigrants,” says ALA President Sari Feldman, who looks forward to welcoming Guerrero to her program. “Diane Guerrero's personal story is a powerful reminder of the library's essential role in creating individual opportunity and community progress.”
Well known as an actress on the hit shows Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, Guerrero also volunteers with the nonprofit Immigrant Legal Resource Center and in 2015 was named a White House Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization. An outspoken advocate for commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform, Guerrero was taken in by other Colombian families in Boston after the rest of her family was deported without warning to Colombia when she was 14. She has worked with Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Mi Familia Vota, a nonpartisan Latino civic engagement organization, to promote citizenship and voter registration.
Guerrero, who has a degree in political science and communication as well as studying vocal music, has appeared on numerous TV series and in feature films. In 2015, Variety named her one of the top 10 Latina actresses to watch, and she received a Screen Actors Guild award for her role as Maritza Ramos on the award-winning Netflix series, Orange is the New Black. Her forthcoming memoir, In the Country We Love: My Family Divided, will be published in May 2016 by Henry Holt & Co.
Henry Holt & Co. / Macmillan
The Closing General Session is a not-to-miss event, where current ALA President Sari Feldman will pass the gavel to the 2016-17 ALA President Julie Todaro and introduce new Division Presidents, and an exciting, high-profile speaker will close out the conference. The Closing General Session will be immediately followed by the elegant Inaugural Brunch, 11:30am - 1:30pm.