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Portland to host largest national library conference since the pandemic

(CHICAGO) In the wake of the pandemic and calls for social justice, the Public Library Association (PLA) will host its national conference in Portland, Oregon, from March 23 to 25, 2022. More than 4,000 attendees will attend the in-person event at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., which will offer more than 100 programs focused on inspiring and developing the future of U.S. public library services.

“The roles of our nation’s public libraries and library workers are ever-changing, and PLA 2022 recognizes and celebrates all the ways we advance opportunity for all,” said PLA President Melanie Huggins. “I am excited to reconnect and revitalize our work together as we step up to challenges from the pandemic, would-be censors, and persistent disparities.”

The conference will highlight and share innovative and responsive best practices for public library programs, services and facilities that address evolving community needs. Ranging from managing censorship attempts to enabling access to telehealth, entrepreneurship, creative learning spaces, and other vital resources for diverse communities.

New York Times best-selling author, podcast host, and professional troublemaker, Luvvie Ajayi Jones will kick off the conference by challenging attendees to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Ajayi Jones thrives at the intersection of comedy, media, and justice. Her debut book, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual hit the New York Times best-sellers list at #5 in its first week. Her latest book Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual, was released March 2, 2021, and was an instant hit.

From White Castle to the White House, closing speaker Kal Penn will leave conference attendees charmed with candid stories of Hollywood, politics, and redefining the American Dream. Penn is an actor, writer, producer, and former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. He is known for his starring roles in Designated Survivor, House, Mira Nair’s The Namesake, and the Harold & Kumar franchise. Penn’s first book, You Can’t Be Serious, was released November 2, 2021, from Simon and Schuster/Gallery Books.

In addition to Jones and Penn, the conference will host Big Idea sessions led by author and lawyer Brittany K. Barnett and Jeopardy! Champion Amy Schneider. Additional authors and audiobook narrators include Clothilde Ewing, Linda Holmes, Brian Selznick, Jordan Ifueko, Sonia Manzano, and Alex Gino. 

Other PLA 2022 conference highlights include:

•    In-depth conversations on the recent uptick in book challenges from groups demanding the removal of books by or about people of color and GLBTQAI+ persons.

•    Public service best practices like hiring social workers to help those searching for health care, legal assistance, and housing. At a full-day preconference, a library social worker panel will provide an overview of a trauma-informed approach to library services.

•    A focus will be placed on the role libraries play in supporting entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on equity, diversity, and inclusion in small business development. Thirteen Libraries Build Business libraries reached and impacted 14,000+ people with business development resources and programming over the past 18 months. 

•    E-books have changed the publishing and information accessibility landscape, and library staff continues their work to advocate for legislation and policies that improve access to digital content through libraries.  

•    PLA affirms its commitment to take action against oppression and offers a wide range of programs that support equity, diversity, and inclusion for all. 

Offered biennially, the PLA Conference is the premier event for public libraries, drawing thousands of librarians, library support staff, trustees, friends, and library vendors from across the country and around the world. For more information on PLA 2022, please visit

About the PLA
The Public Library Association ( is the largest association dedicated to supporting public library professionals’ unique and evolving needs. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence worldwide. PLA offers professional development opportunities, unique public library initiatives, and a conference that welcomes public library staff into meaningful partnerships. In collaboration with its parent organization, the American Library Association, PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders.

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