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2024 Keynotes & Events

The 2024 ARSL Conference will have four days packed full of engaging keynotes and events. Keynote events will include a plated meal (breakfast, lunch, or brunch) which is included in the cost of registration.

Wednesday, September 11

Meet & Greet Reception | 7:00-9:00 PM | Location TBA

Catch up with your ARSL community, make new connections, and enjoy catered snacks and a no-host bar at our kickoff celebration!

Thursday, September 12

Welcome Breakfast & Keynote with Celeste Ng | 8:30-9:30 AM

Celeste Ng is the author of three novels, Everything I Never Told You, Little Fires Everywhere, and Our Missing Hearts. 

Her first novel, Everything I Never Told You (2014), was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. Everything I Never Told You was also the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the ALA’s Alex Award. It has been translated into over thirty languages and is being adapted for the screen.

Her second novel, Little Fires Everywhere (2017) was a #1 New York Times bestseller, a #1 Indie Next bestseller, and Amazon's Best Fiction Book of 2017. It was named a best book of the year by over 25 publications, the winner of the Ohioana Award and the Goodreads Readers Choice Award 2017 in Fiction, and has spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. Little Fires Everywhere has been published abroad in more than 30 languages and has been adapted as a limited series on Hulu, starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

Her third novel, Our Missing Hearts, was published in October 2022 in the US, Canada, and the UK, and was an instant New York Times bestseller.

Celeste grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She graduated from Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan). Her fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, and many other publications, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other honors.

New Connections Lunch | 1:00–2:15 PM

Don’t miss this opportunity to share (r)Evolutionary ideas within your ARSL community. At this lunch you’ll be encouraged to branch out from your usual circles to sit with strangers who have shared job roles, interests, or challenges—but they won't be strangers for long! Pick a table and refer to the guiding questions to get the conversation flowing. The Conference Committee brought this lunch back in response to requests more events to facilitate building networks and making deeper, more meaningful connections. Whether you come to Springfield with colleagues or solo, you’ll leave with new ideas to bring back to your library and lasting connections.

Dine-Arounds | 5:30-7:00 PM | Offsite

Explore Springfield's restaurant scene and grow your ARSL community with with Dine-Arounds, one of our most popular conference traditions! Sign up for a Dine-Around at the Registration Desk or plan your own.

ARSL Trivia Night Fundraiser | 7:00–9:00 pm

What’s the collective noun for a group of librarians having a great time? Join as at Trivia Night to flex your knowledge of all things trivial, win the admiration of your colleagues, and support the ARSL Scholarship Fund! Teams will be limited to 8 people. If you arrive in a small group or solo, we’ll join you up with a larger team. We'll play two games of three rounds each. Admittance is by donation, with a suggested minimum of $10.

Friday, September 13

Breakfast & Keynote | 8:00–9:30 am

Stay tuned for our Friday breakfast keynote announcement!

ARSL Awards Lunch | 1:00–2:30 pm

Help us celebrate the people who make the small and rural library community so special! All attendees are invited to celebrate the innovations and accomplishments of our 2024 ARSL Award winners, including the Solo Librarian of the Year, Equity Champion Award, Innovative Service Award, and Distinguished Service Award. We'll also recognize Library Journal's Best Small Library in America.

Author Fest | 7:00–9:00 pm

Celebrate the vibrant talent of authors from Springfield and beyond at Author Fest! Meet your next favorite authors, hear readings, and purchase copies of books to get signed. Stay tuned for our full author lineup and reading schedule.

Saturday, September 14

Brunch & KidLit Panel: Fostering Empathy & Empowering Young Minds

Tracey Baptiste is the New York Times-bestselling author of Minecraft: The Crash and the acclaimed middle grade fantasy trilogy: The Jumbies. She has also written the middle grade nonfiction African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History, as well as the popular picture books: Because Claudette and Mermaid and Pirate. Growing up in Trinidad, Tracey loved books. When she was three, her mother bought her an oversized, illustrated copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and from that moment on, she knew she wanted to be a writer. Tracey once started her very own library in her house… and secretly hoped everyone would bring their books back late so she could collect fines and become rich. As an eleven-year-old, she was inspired by V. S. Naipaul’s Miguel Street, and read the book so many times, her brother’s hand-me-down copy disintegrated. After moving to the United States when she was fifteen, she read Rosa Guy’s The Friends, and that’s when she knew she wanted to write for kids.

Hannah Moushabeck is a second-generation Palestinian American author, editor, and book marketer who was raised in a family of publishers and booksellers in Western Massachusetts and England. Born in Brooklyn into Interlink Publishing, a family-run independent publishing house, she learned the power of literature at a young age. She is the author of Homeland: My Father Dreams of Palestine (Chronicle Books, March 2023). She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts on the homelands of the Pocumtuc and Nipmuc Nations.

Megan Dowd Lambert (moderator) grew up in Vermont and earned her BA at Smith College, where she majored in African American Studies and Government. She earned her MA in Children’s Literature at Simmons University (formerly, Simmons College), where she taught in some capacity for more than a decade. Her experiences as a white mother of seven children in a blended, multiracial, queer, adoptive family inform her work as a children’s book author, reviewer, and educator. Megan reviews and writes for Kirkus and The Horn Book, is a consultant with EmbraceRace: A Community about Race and Kids, and served as an inaugural member of the Curation Team of OurShelves. Megan’s books include, Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See (Charlesbridge 2015), which introduces the Whole Book Approach to storytime that she developed in association with the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. In 2009 she was named a Literacy Champion by Mass Literacy, and she has served on the 2009 Geisel, 2011 Caldecott, and the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Committees.