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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!

Icon Legend
Session will be livestreamed      On-demand virtual session also available 

Wednesday, October 20

Welcome Reception | 7:00 PM  
Sponsored by Advantage Archives

Join us for the Opening Reception at the Sparks Heritage Museum, located in the heart of historic downtown Sparks, Nevada at 814 Victorian Avenue! The museum features a permanent gallery highlighting the history and heritage of the city of Sparks, and changing galleries that feature a wide variety of historic, artistic, and cultural themes. Additionally - the Museum is proud to highlight the new installation in progress of their library - the newest library in the State of Nevada!  Discussion on the vision and goals of the library will be provided by the Executive Director, Christine Johnson, throughout the evening. 

Across the street, and an outdoor train exhibit consisting of a steam locomotive, a caboose and a pullman business car stands next to the historic Glendale Schoolhouse, and both are available for tours by Museum representatives this evening, between 6:30-8:30pm (weather permitting).  Both the train and school are a very short walk and across the street from the Museum. The entry to the Museum, train, and schoolhouse is free for conference attendees this evening, but donations are gratefully accepted. 


Food trivia:  Catering provided by Cantina Los Tres Hombres just down the street on Victorian Avenue - a locally owned and operated business since 1987. 

Thursday, October 21

Welcome Breakfast & Opening Keynote | 9:00 AM  
In Conversation: Tracie D. Hall, Sandy Littletree & Kathy Zappitello
Sponsored by Emporia State University SLIM

Discover your power and potential as a leader of change within your library and community. How can small, rural, and tribal libraries fight for social justice? From generational poverty and mass incarceration to the effects of colonization, how do you identify and disrupt the systems that affect your most vulnerable patrons? We welcome everyone to this powerful conversation among three library change agents: Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association; Sandy Littletree, Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of Washington iSchool and Past President of the American Indian Library Association; 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
Sponsored by Feeding Minds Press & LibraryReads

Lunch Keynote | 12:15 PM 

World Premiere: The Latinx Photography Project, a Documentary Film Directed & Produced by Alejandro Palacios
Sponsored by Califa

Join us for the World Premiere of The Latinx Photography Project followed by a Q&A moderated by Todd Deck.

In this conversation you will learn about this program centered at a rural library in California from former Library Director, Sara Jones and Producer, Alejandro Palacios. The Latinx Photography Project is a bilingual documentary film that explores how a creative practice like photography can succeed at cultivating leaders who are grounded in community cohesion. With photography as their medium and their local public library as their partner, the participants in this project carve a path in a community that years ago was foreign to most immigrant farmworkers.

This film encourages the viewer to think about questions like:

  • How can libraries use art to challenge equalities?
  • How are public spaces and projects accessed by immigrants or other underrepresented groups?

Alejandro Palacios, producer and director of the film, lived in West Marin for nearly ten years. Shortly after moving to the area, he learned of a group of farmworkers that were studying photography and exhibiting their work in the local gallery. The project was unique and provided a space to people that would not normally have an outlet to learn and exhibit their work in a gallery space. As a fellow immigrant and artist in this community, the stories of the photographers resonated with his own. For the last few years, Palacios has participated in their classes, exhibits, travels and field trips and has connected with many of the students on a personal level. In doing so, he has gained the trust and support of the photographers as well as the community.

Sara Jones, who currently serves as the State Librarian of Washington, was named the Nevada Library Association’s Librarian of the Year in 2012; served as Nevada’s American Library Association (ALA) Council Delegate for four years; coordinated ALA National Library Legislative Day for Nevada for 12 years; served as the Nevada Library Association president; was an active member of the Western Council of State Libraries serving as both vice president and president; and served on the University of North Texas Department of Library and Information Sciences Board of Advisors for over 10 years. She was awarded the ALA Sullivan award for services to children in 2018. She is currently a member of CALIFA, a nonprofit library membership consortium. 

Snacks with Exhibitors | 3:30 PM

Sponsored by EBSCO & Innovative Document Imaging

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
Sponsored by LibraryAware

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,, 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.

Break with Exhibitors | 10:30 AM
Sponsored by Headed2 & University of Nebraska

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

Lunch Keynote | 12:15 PM 
Qian Julie Wang, Author of Beautiful Country
Sponsored by Penguin Random House

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.

Snacks with Exhibitors | 3:30 pm
Sponsored by Ingram Content Group

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
Sponsored by Candid

 Saturday, October 23

State of ARSL Brunch |  11:30 AM
Sponsored by Public Library Association (PLA)

What’s new with ARSL? Hear from leadership about how our association is doing, what we’ve accomplished over the past year, and what exciting things we have on the horizon—including the official announcement of our 2022 conference location! Help us celebrate our Conference Committee, incoming and outgoing leaders, and ARSL Leadership Institute "Outfielders." ARSL members are especially encouraged to attend but all conference registrants are welcome!

Featured Virtual Speaker

Jarrett Adams, author of Redeeming Justice
Sponsored by Penguin Random House

Seventeen years old and facing nearly thirty years behind bars, Jarrett Adams sought to figure out the why behind his fate. Sustained by his mother and aunts who brought him back from the edge of despair through letters of prayer and encouragement, Adams became obsessed with our legal system in all its damaged glory. After studying how his constitutional rights to effective counsel had been violated, he solicited the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, an organization that exonerates the wrongfully convicted, and won his release after nearly ten years in prison.

Adams 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.