Academic librarians gathering in Cleveland, April 10-13, to discuss their role in rapidly changing higher education landscape

For Immediate Release
Mon, 04/08/2019


Steve Zalusky

Communications Specialist

Communications and Marketing Office

American Library Association

(847) 962-3730

CHICAGO — Academic and research librarians and libraries are essential to a thriving global community of learners and scholars. As students, faculty, and staff change the way they consume information, academic libraries are also transforming to ensure success across the higher education community.

More than 3,000 academic and research librarians and library workers will gather April 10-13 in Cleveland to discuss the many ways that library professionals are re-inventing themselves to stay on the cutting edge.

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) will hold its 2019 conference at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland with the theme “Recasting the Narrative,” examining what it means to be a library professional in the 21st century, adapting, and leading the transition to new roles in higher education.

ACRL 2019 features more than 500 programs carefully selected and presented by leaders in the profession, offering attendees valuable insights and inspiration on such topics as cross-campus conversations, research data management, critical information literacy, transcending the traditional rhetoric around libraries and librarians, the relationship between digital technologies and social justice, and how efforts to increase diversity can result in sustaining racial hierarchies. In addition, the conference will offer exhibits from more than 200 companies.

ACRL 2019 invited presentations feature thought-provoking leaders who speak to the latest issues in the profession.

Fobazi M. Ettarh, an undergraduate success librarian at Rutgers University Newark and a 2017 ALA Emerging Leader, will discuss dismantling vocational awe about the library profession and recasting the narrative of what it means to be a librarian.

Rajiv Jhangiani, a psychology professor and a special advisor on open education at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, BC, will outline a social justice vision for open education, which envisions widening access to educational resources and marginalized students.

Salvador Vidal-Ortiz, associate professor in the sociology department at American University in Washington, DC, will address how efforts to increase “diversity” can inadvertently serve as tools to impose uniformity in a way that flattens social interaction while sustaining racial hierarchies.

Keynote speakers will include Peabody Award-winning journalist Michele Norris, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, and internationally beloved cartoonist Alison Bechdel.

Michele Norris is a Peabody Award-winning journalist, founder of The Race Card Project and Executive Director of The Bridge, The Aspen Institute’s new program on race, identity, connectivity and inclusion. For more than a decade Norris served as a host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” where she interviewed world leaders, American presidents, Nobel laureates, leading thinkers and groundbreaking artists.

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s remarkable debut novel, “The Sympathizer,” won the Pulitzer Prize, was a Dayton Literary Peace Prize winner, and made the finalist list for the PEN/Faulkner award.

Nguyen and his family came to the United States as refugees during the Vietnam War in 1975. As he grew up in America, he began to notice that most movies and books about the war focused on Americans while the Vietnamese were silenced and erased. He was the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. The foundation noted that Viet’s work “not only offers insight into the experiences of refugees past and present, but also poses profound questions about how we might more accurately and conscientiously portray victims and adversaries of other wars.”

Alison Bechdel is an internationally beloved cartoonist whose darkly humorous graphic memoirs, astute writing and evocative drawing have forged an unlikely intimacy with a wide and disparate range of readers. For twenty-five years Bechdel self-syndicated Dykes to Watch Out For. The award-winning generational chronicle has been called “one of the pre-eminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period” by Ms. Magazine. From the strip was born the now famous “Bechdel test,” which measures gender bias in film.

To arrange interviews with library leaders on issues affecting academic libraries in Cleveland and nationally, please contact Steve Zalusky, ALA communications specialist, at (847) 962-3730 or


About ACRL
The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for academic libraries and library workers. Representing nearly 10,500 individuals and libraries, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products, and services to help those working in academic and research libraries learn, innovate, and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. Find ACRL on the webFacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.