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2021 Keynotes & Events

Save the date for the 2021 ARSL Conference!

When: October 20-23, 2021
Where: Reno/Sparks, NV

The 2021 ARSL Conference will have four days packed full of engaging keynotes and events. All of this year's keynotes will be simultaneously presented live to in-person attendees and livestreamed to virtual attendees.

In-person keynote events will include a plated meal (breakfast, lunch, or brunch) which is included in the cost of registration.

More keynote speakers will be added once their times are confirmed!

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Session will be livestreamed      On-demand virtual session also available 

Wednesday, October 20

Welcome Reception | 6:00 PM  

The conference train has rolled in to town! Join us for a welcome reception at the Sparks Museum & Cultural Center, just across the street from the Nugget Resort. You can explore the history of our host city, including their collection of restored antique train cars, while you reconnect with friends and gear up for the conference ahead.

Drinks and light refreshments will be served.


Thursday, October 21

Welcome Breakfast & Opening Keynote | 9:00 AM  
In Conversation: Tracie D. Hall, Sandy Littletree & Kathy Zappitello

We welcome everyone to this powerful conversation among three library leaders: Tracie Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association; Sandy Littletree, Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of Washington iSchool; and Kathy Zappitello, 2021 ARSL President and Executive Director of the Conneaut Public Library in Conneaut, OH.

Tracie D. Hall is the American Library Association’s 10th executive director, and first female African American executive director, in its 143-year history. No stranger to libraries, over the years she has worked at the Seattle Public Library, the New Haven Free Public Library, Hartford Public Library, and Queens Library. Most recently, Hall directed the culture portfolio at the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, developing new grant programs designed to foster greater equity and diversity in arts administration, and catalyze and scale neighborhood-based arts venues, cultural programming, and creative entrepreneurship. In addition to her MLIS from the iSchool at the University of Washington, Hall holds an MA in International and Area studies from Yale University and dual bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Sandy Littletree, Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of Washington’s Information School, is an Indigenous scholar, forever librarian, educator, daughter, and auntie. She is Eastern Shoshone from her mother’s side and is a citizen of the Navajo Nation (Diné) from her father’s side. She completed her PhD at the University of Washington Information School where she explored the history of tribal library development in the United States. A member of the research group known as iNative, her research interests lie at the intersections of Indigenous systems of knowledge and librarianship. Littletree was recently elected to the IFLA Indigenous Matters Standing Committee. She is a past president of the American Indian Library Association (AILA), and she was program manager of the Knowledge River Program at the University of Arizona where she focused on recruiting and retaining Native American and Latino MLIS students. She currently lives in Olympia, WA, and is originally from the Four Corners region of New Mexico, USA.

Kathy Zappitello has worked for over 17 years in Ohio libraries and is currently the Executive Director of the Conneaut Public Library, serves on the Board of Trustees of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries, and is also a board member for Ohio Library Council’s Small Library Division.   Kathy contributes as a producer, writer, actor, and director for one of Ohio’s cable access channels that provides programming to households in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.  Currently Kathy is involved with several boards and organizations dedicated to community growth, entrepreneurial support, and economic development.  Intertwined in this effort is an overall strengthening of a robust quality of life for those living and working in Northeast Ohio.  That idea has also informed Kathy's participation as a Core Team member of the ARSL Leadership Institute, Outstanding in Their Field.  By creating leaders at every level of a library organization and meeting those new leaders where they are, we will build a strong framework for the rural and small library community and by doing so, raise the overall quality of services, information, partnership for societal leadership that is vital for the overall health of a small community.

Exhibit Hall Grand Opening! | 10:30 AM

Lunch Keynote | 12:15 PM 
Jarrett Adams, Author of Redeeming Justice

Jarrett Adams was convicted at age seventeen of a crime he did not commit and sentenced to twenty-eight years in a maximum-security prison. After serving nearly ten years and filing multiple appeals, he was exonerated with the assistance of the Wisconsin Innocence Project. Adams used the injustice he endured as inspiration to become an advocate for the underserved. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in May 2015 and started a public-interest law fellowship with Ann Claire Williams, judge for the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the same court that reversed his conviction. Jarrett also clerked in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with the late Honorable Deborah Batts. After working for the Innocence Project in New York, he launched the Law Office of Jarrett Adams, PLLC, in 2017, and now practices in both federal and state courts throughout the country.

Snacks with Exhibitors | 3:30 PM

Enjoy your break in our Exhibit Hall, where our vendors will be hosting live demos, raffles, Q&As, giveaways, and more!


 Friday, October 22

Breakfast Keynote | 9:00 AM 
Michael Branch, Author & Humorist

What does home mean to us, both individually and collectively? In what ways are we shaped by our home landscape, and how do our values and choices in turn reshape that landscape? How can writing about the local environment help us to think more deeply about place and its impact on who we are? In his books and essays, Michael P. Branch uses natural history, storytelling, and humor to help readers discover and cultivate connections to nature, both nearby and wild. In his presentation, which will include short readings from his recent books, Mike explores the Great Basin Desert, a beautiful and biodiverse environment that is too often dismissed as barren wasteland.

Michael P. Branch is University Foundation Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. His nine books include three works of humorous creative nonfiction inspired by the Great Basin Desert: Raising Wild (2016), Rants from the Hill (2017), and How to Cuss in Western (2018). His new book, On the Trail of the Jackalope, is forthcoming from Pegasus Books in spring, 2022. Mike has published more than 300 essays and reviews, which have appeared in venues including Orion, CNN, Slate, Outside, Pacific Standard, Utne Reader, National Parks, Ecotone, High Country News, Terrain.org, Places Journal, Bustle, Whole Terrain, and About Place. His nonfiction includes pieces that have been recognized as Notable Essays in The Best American Essays, The Best Creative Nonfiction, The Best American Science and Nature Writing, and The Best American Non-required Reading. He is the recipient of Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award, the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame Silver Pen Award, the Western Literature Association Frederick Manfred Award for Creative Writing, and the Montana Prize for Humor. Mike lives with his wife, Eryn, and daughters, Hannah and Caroline, in the ecotone where the western Great Basin Desert and the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains meet.

Lunch Keynote | 12:15 PM 
Qian Julie Wang, Author of Beautiful Country  

Qian Julie Wang was born in Shijiazhuang, China. At age 7, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, with her parents. For five years thereafter, the three lived in the shadows of undocumented life in New York City. Qian Julie's first book is a poignant literary memoir that follows the family through those years, as they grappled with poverty, manual labor in sweatshops, lack of access to medical care, and the perpetual threat of deportation. A graduate of Yale Law School and Swarthmore College—where she juggled classes and extracurriculars with four part-time jobs—Qian Julie is now a litigator. She wrote Beautiful Country on her iPhone, during her subway commute to and from work at a national law firm, where she was elected to partnership within two years of joining the firm. She is now managing partner of Gottlieb & Wang LLP, a firm dedicated to advocating for education and civil rights. Qian Julie believes that the first step to eradicating systemic barriers is affording underprivileged communities the type of legal representation typically reserved for wealthy corporate interests. Learn more about Qian and her work here.

Break with Exhibitors | 10:30 AM

Enjoy your break in our Exhibit Hall, where our vendors will be hosting live demos, raffles, Q&As, giveaways, and more!

Snacks with Exhibitors | 3:30 pm

Enjoy your break in our Exhibit Hall, where our vendors will be hosting live demos, raffles, Q&As, giveaways, and more!

Exhibit Hall Grand Finale & Reception | 4:30 PM

ARSL Trivia Night | 7:00 PM


 Saturday, October 23

State of ARSL Brunch |  11:30 AM