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2016 Keynotes & Events

First-Timers / New Member Reception

This event allows new members and first-time attendees to meet the WLA leadership on a more personal level. Come learn how to make the most out of your conference attendance, and how you can get involved as a volunteer within WLA. All new members and first-time attendees are welcome!

Sponsor: WALE

Meet & Greet Reception

As we become Stronger Together, what’s a better or more fun way to connect than through games?! Join your WA library colleagues for an evening of low-pressure, easy-to-learn board games. You’ll have the chance to visit with old friends and make some new ones… and maybe even win a game or two! Delicious appetizers will be served and there will be an optional cash bar. 


Welcome Breakfast Keynote Speaker - Sari Feldman, ALA President

Sari Feldman is our current American Library Association President, as well as the Executive Director of Ohio's Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL), a position she has held since 2003. Under her leadership, CCPL has become one of the nation’s best and busiest public library systems, earning the Library Journal 5-Star recognition for six consecutive years (2009-2014).Sari previously served as an adjunct faculty member at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, teaching graduate courses in library management, reference services, policy, and grant writing for more than 20 years. She was honored in 1995 with the Vice President’s Award for Teacher of the Year. In her role as ALA President, Sari has initiated a national public awareness campaign called Libraries Transform that is designed to increase awareness of and support for libraries of all types. She is a past president of the Public Library Association and in 2013, Sari was honored with PLA’s Charlie Robinson Award for innovation in library service. She was named a Woman of Note by Crain’s Cleveland Business in 2011 and received the 2008 Jane Donelson Player of the Year Award from the USA Toy Library Association, the 2005 YWCA Woman of Achievement award, the David C. Sweet Leadership Academy Alumni Community Leadership Award, and the Leadership Academy’s 2002 Community Impact Award. She regularly presents on libraries both nationally and internationally and has written widely for professional publications.

Lunch & Learn: Nimble and Fresh -- Self Directed Learning (Lunch is provided when you register for this workshop)

In this climate of change, libraries must be at the ready to pursue new models of service, yet they are only as nimble as their staff. Formal training is becoming a luxury and individuals are increasingly accountable for their own rapid, self-directed learning. As strong connectors to lifelong learning in their communities, library staff need to model their own pursuit of fresh skills and knowledge. Join this interactive workshop to discover online resources, collaboration strategies and flexible, cost-effective models to meet accelerated, evolving learning needs. Take a proactive part in self-directed learning for you or your library.


Betha Gutsche, Program Manager, OCLC/WebJunction 
Darlene Pearsall, Computer Education Developer/Trainer, King County Library System 
Jeanne Fondrie, Learning Coordinator, Whatcom County Library System

Sponsor: WALT

2nd Annual 2016 WLA Reads - We Live in Water by Jess Walter

We spend a lot of time matching readers to books, sometimes even bringing our library communities together to read the same book. In this same spirit, we invite you to join the Washington Library Association community in reading our 2016 WLA Reads selection, We Live in Water by Jess Walter. Many of the short stories in this diverse collection have a distinctly Northwest flair. We are so pleased that Jess Walter will be joining us for the 2016 WLA Conference, being held April 27-29 in Spokane.

There will be opportunities for WLA Reads book discussion and activities at the WLA Conference, but you don’t have to wait or even attend to get involved! Once you’ve read the book, gather some library friends or co-workers and have your own discussion group. It can be as formal or informal as you’d like! Whether it takes place online, in a pub or in the staff room, we’d like to hear about it! Email comments or thoughtful questions from your group or photos from your gatherings to WLA Reads committee member  [email protected].


Banquet Dinner Keynote Speakers - Jess Walter

Jess Walter is the author of eight books, most recently the #1 New York Times bestselling novel Beautiful Ruins and the story collection We Live in Water, which was selected as the 2016 WLA Reads title. Jess has been called "a ridiculously-talented writer.”by the New York Times and "as talented a natural storyteller as is working in America.” by the Washington Post. He won the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe award for Citizen Vince and has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the LA Times Book Prize and the PEN/USA Literary Prize in both fiction and nonfiction. Jess has twice won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and has been long-listed for the Story Prize and the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize. His books have been published in 32 languages and his short fiction has appeared twice in Best American Short Stories, as well as Harpers, McSweeney's, Esquire, Tin House and others. Jess lives in Spokane with his family.

Jess will be joining us as the WLA Conference Banquet Keynote, will make an appearance at the WLA Reads book discussion, and will attend various WLA Conference receptions.

WLA CAYAS Breakfast Keynote Speaker - Kelly Milner Halls

As a freelance writer in her early career, Kelly Milner Halls specialized in all things strange or odd. Magazines and newspapers welcomed her quirky point of view and she sold roughly 12 articles a month. When she made the transition to writing books for young readers, she worried. Would weird be welcome now? After a few rough starts, she discovered the secret to success was not following the leader; it was blazing a trail all her own. You may know Kelly by her many nonfiction titles, or by her recent "To the Rescue" middle-grades fictional series. By embracing her differences, Kelly not only found her true writer's voice, she found a way to help kids love their inner weirdos, too. She'll share that journey with us today. For more about Kelly, visit her website.