Iro organization

Portland to host largest national library conference since pandemic

(CHICAGO) In the wake of the pandemic and calls for social justice, the Public Library Association (PLA) will hold its national conference in Portland, Oregon, March 23-25, 2022. More than 4,000 participants will attend the conference 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 public library service in the United States.

“The roles of public libraries and library workers in our country are constantly changing, and PLA 2022 recognizes and celebrates all the ways we advance opportunity for all,” said PLA President Melanie Huggins. “I’m thrilled to reconnect and revitalize our work together as we navigate the challenges of the pandemic, potential censors and lingering disparities.”

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

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

From White Castle to the White House, closing keynote speaker Kal Penn will leave conference attendees spellbound with candid stories about Hollywood, politics and the redefinition of 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 by Simon and Schuster/Gallery Books.

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

Other highlights from the PLA 2022 conference include:

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

• Public service best practices such as hiring social workers to assist those seeking health care, legal assistance and housing. In a one-day pre-conference, a panel of library social workers will present an overview of a trauma-informed approach to library services.

• Emphasis 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 has reached and impacted over 14,000 people with business development resources and programs in the past 18 months.

• E-books have changed the landscape of publishing and information accessibility, and library staff continue to advocate for legislation and policies that improve access to digital content in 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 every two years, the PLA conference is the premier event for public libraries, attracting thousands of librarians, library support staff, administrators, friends and library vendors from across the country and around the world. For more information on PLA 2022, please visit

About the PLA
The Association of Public Libraries ( is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. 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 around the world. PLA offers professional development opportunities, unique public library initiatives, and a conference that welcomes public library staff into meaningful partnerships. Together 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.