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2023 WLA Events

Stay tuned for announcements on special events and conference keynotes for #WLA2023.


" "Thursday, March 30

Meet & Greet Reception
7:00–9:00 pm | Wenatchee Public Library

Join us for our conference kick-off celebration! While enjoying light snacks and a no-host bar, you'll have the opportunity to explore the Wenatchee Public Library and grow your WLA community. Make some friends, learn how to make the most out of your conference attendance, and discover opportunities to get involved within WLA.

Friday, March 31

Welcome Breakfast and Keynote  
8:30–9:45 am | Banquet Hall

Washington is home to twenty-nine federally recognized tribal nations, twenty-four of which have a library or library services. Well before formal library programs, Indigenous people have been collecting stories and knowledge for generations. Join us for an organic, kitchen-table conversation between panelists doing incredible work in and with Indigenous communities across the state and country.

You’ll hear about the University of Washington iSchool’s “Centering Washington Tribal Libraries” project, sponsored by a Mellon Foundation Public Knowledge grant, which will bring together our state’s tribal libraries to Wenatchee during the conference—the first convening of its kind in our state! Before the conversation, you’ll be treated to a poetry reading from Rena Priest in one of her last official appearances as Washington State Poet Laureate.

Jennifer Himmelreich (Diné), Senior Program Officer, Institute of Museum & Library Services
Mandi Harris (Cherokee Nation), ALA Spectrum Doctoral Fellow, Doctoral Student and Children’s Librarian, UW iSchool
Patricia Cutright (Lakota), Dean of Libraries Emeritus, Central Washington University
Rena Priest (Lummi Nation), Washington State Poet Laureate

Exhibit Hall Grand Opening
9:45–10:30 am | Exhibit Hall

Join us for the opening celebration of the 2023 WLA Exhibit Hall! Grab your morning coffee or tea in our Exhibit Hall, where vendors will be hosting live demos, raffles, Q&As, giveaways, and more. New this year, exciting Pop-Up programs will be scheduled in the exhibit hall; check back soon for details.

" "

All-In Lunch: Connections & Conversations
12:15–1:30 pm | Banquet Hall

Our Table Topics Lunch is designed to facilitate deeper conversations and allow you to forge more meaningful, lasting connections. You’ll be encouraged to branch out from your circles to sit with strangers who have shared interests, job roles, or challenges—but they won’t be strangers for long! You'll pick a table topic and refer to the guiding questions to get the conversation flowing. Whether you came to conference with colleagues or solo, you’ll leave this lunch with stronger ties to your WLA community.

WLA After Dark
7:30–9:15 pm
 | Breakout Rooms & Offsite

WLA After Dark is back again this year with evening sessions that are more irreverent, fun, or provocative than our standard conference fare.

Saturday, April 1

Author Breakfast  
8:00–9:45 am | Banquet Hall

Join WLA’s School Library Division and Children and Young Adult Services (CAYAS) Section for our annual Author Breakfast with special guest Aiden Thomas!

Aiden Thomas (he/they) is a trans, Latinx, New York Times bestselling author of young adult novels. They received an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, OR. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.

Aiden's Cemetery Boys is a nominee for the 2022-3 Evergreen Teen Book Award. You'll hear about the other nominees of the WLA Book Awards, which are all voted on by the students of Washington State! Hear from the William C. Towner Award (informational texts for grades 2–6), Sasquatch Award (novels for grades 4–6), the Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award (picture books for grades K–3), the OTTER Award (for transitional readers in grades K–5), and the Evergreen Teen Book Award (grades 6–12).

Awards Lunch  
1:00–2:15 pm | Banquet Hall

Help us celebrate the people who make the Washington library community so special! All attendees are invited to celebrate the innovations and accomplishments of our 2023 WLA Merit Award winners.

Exhibits Grand Finale
3:15–4:00 pm | Exhibit Hall

Join us for the concluding celebration of this year's Exhibit Hall! Enjoy afternoon snacks and refreshments during the festive finale. Finish collecting stamps in your exhibitor passport, make final bids on silent auction items, and buy your last raffle tickets before the big winners are announced!

Graphic for WLA2023 Conference Closing Session The Right to Read: Conversations on Censorship, featuring headshots of all guest speakersClosing Session:
The Right to Read Conversations on Censorship 
4:15–5:30 pm | Banquet Hall

As libraries across the state and country continue to face book banning efforts, especially those targeting materials and programming with LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC representation, we all need to ask ourselves whether we're prepared for challenges within our own libraries. Hear conversations between panelists who have faced these challenges directly: an author who writes books about and for queer youth, a retired librarian and professor with a long career of intellectual freedom advocacy, a teacher librarian who recently made headlines by fighting censorship attempts at his middle school, and high school students who started a Banned Books Club.

Shaun David Hutchinson, Author of We Are the Ants, Brave Face, and other banned books about and for queer youth
Barbara Stripling, Past President, Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF)
Gavin Downing, Teacher Librarian, Cedar Heights Middle School, Kent School District
Arin Iverson, Student, Walla Walla High School
Ava Kirtley, Student, Walla Walla High School
Kim Cassetto, Teacher Librarian, Walla Walla High School