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Special Events

The Daily Schedule, and a list of all discussion groups, is now available.

All of the following events are included with a full Meeting registration.

ALA President's Program
Sunday, January 13, 2008, 3:30 - 5:30 pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center Ballroom A

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and a prolific author, will be the keynote speaker for the President’s Program at Midwinter Meeting.

Abdul-Jabbar was chosen by American Library Association (ALA) President Loriene Roy to deliver the address on Sunday, Jan. 13. He is expected to talk about the Harlem Renaissance’s impact on his life. Abdul-Jabbar, who was born in Harlem in 1947, wrote the book, On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance.

During the meeting, he will sign copies of the new audio version of the book, which profiles the achievements of the Harlem Renaissance. Harlem during the 1920s and 1930s was an incubator for a number of great artists, musicians, authors and thinkers, including James Weldon Johnson, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson and Duke Ellington. Their influence on Abdul-Jabbar’s life is shown in such chapters as How Harlem Writers Influenced My Life.

The master of the sky hook, the 7-foot-2-inch Abdul-Jabbar led UCLA to three consecutive NCAA titles and the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers to six NBA championships.

But Abdul-Jabbar’s achievements go far beyond the court. He has written six books, including: "Giant Steps"; "Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement"; "A Season on a Reservation: My Sojourn with the White Mountain Apache"; and "Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes." Four of his books reached bestseller lists. Abdul-Jabbar prides himself on his literary achievements. "I can do more than stuff a ball through a hoop," he said. "My biggest resource is my mind."

"We're honored to have Dr. Abdul-Jabbar join us at our Midwinter meeting," Roy said. "I am especially thankful for his commitment to scholarship, education, and wellness and his work coaching high school basketball at a tribal school."

Abdul-Jabbar taught basketball and history to American Indian children at Alchesay High School, on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Whiteriver, Ariz.

For more information about Abdul-Jabbar and the audio book, go to .

Philadelphia Sunrise Speaker Series
Sponsored by H.W. Wilson


Each morning of the Midwinter Meeting, Saturday, Sunday and Monday January 12, 13, and 14, get up early and attend a lively, educational and innovative speaker session, which will run from 8:00 am-9:00 am.

The Sunrise Speaker Series is included in the cost of a full Midwinter Meeting Registration. Exhibits Plus badges are available, providing access to all four days of the exhibits (Friday evening-Monday), as well as access to the three Sunrise Speaker Series sessions.

Celebrate Your Dreams at America's Most Famous Steps
Saturday, January 12, 8:00-9:00 am
Pennsylvania Convention Center Ballroom A

ImageMichael Vitez has been a staff writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer since 1985. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his series chronicling the experiences of five people as they approached the ends of their lives. He is a graduate of the University of Virigina, and has taught writing and journalism at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University. Tom Gralish has been at The Philadelphia Inquirer since 1983, working as an editor and a photographer. In 1986, he won both the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his photo essay on the homeless. Since 1998, he has published a weekly photo column in which he documents everyday life in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia. In 2006, Vitez published a book, with photographs by Gralish, called Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America's Most Famous Steps. The book tells the stories of people who come from all over the world to run the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art just like Sylvester Stallone in the movie, Rocky. The classic film is over 30 years old and yet every day the masses still come and run the steps, often to celebrate their own accomplishments.

A Morning with Aaron Lansky
Sunday, January 13, 8:00 - 9:00 am
Pennsylvania Convention Center Ballroom A

ImageIn 1980, at the age of 24, Aaron Lansky set out to rescue the world's Yiddish books before it was too late. He found priceless books in basements and attics, demolition sites and dumpsters. Today, the non-profit organization he founded, the National Yiddish Book Center, has recovered almost 1.5 million volumes and is still going strong. The Yiddish Book Center, with a membership of over 30,000, is one of the largest and fastest-growing Jewish cultural organizations in America. The Center also reprints and distributes books, publishes an award-winning English language magazine, spearheads an international effort to translate the best of Yiddish literature into English, and offers a variety of cultural and educational programs on the treasures of Yiddish culture. In 1989, Lansky was awarded a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation, Imageand he was included in the Esquire magazine list of “The Best of a New Generation: Men and Women Under Forty who are Changing America.” Lansky's first book, Outwitting History, has received numerous awards since its publication in October 2004.

Books Build Friendships
Monday, January 14, 8:00-9:00 am
Pennsylvania Convention Center 201 B/C

ImageImageA conversation about books, reading groups, and relationships that are formed and strengthened through the experience of reading with authors Shireen Dodson, Elizabeth Noble, and Victoria Lustbader, and Carol Fitzgerald. Moderated by Harper's own Book Club Girl, Jennifer Hart (VP/Associate Publisher at Perennial) (

Shireen Dodson is Special Assistant to the Director, Office of Civil Rights attaché U.S. Department of State. Her second book, One Hundred Books for Girls to Grow On, offers a selection of both new ImageImageand classic titles. Victoria Lustbader is a former editor for both Harper & Row and Berkley/Putnam, who became an author herself with her first novel, Hidden, published in June of 2006 by Forge Books. Elizabeth Noble is the author of the bestsellers The Reading Group, published in the UK in 2004 where it went straight to the number-one position in The Sunday Times's Fiction Bestseller list, and 2005's The Friendship Test. Carol Fitzgerald spent 17 years at Mademoiselle magazine in Promotion and Marketing, and is founder of, a book review and information site.



ALA/ERT Author Forum
Friday, January 11, 2008, 4:00-5:15 pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center Room 204 A/B

The Author Forum will feature discussions with and readings from two best-selling authors.

ImageGERALDINE BROOKS was a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal for eleven years, where her beats included some of the world's most troubled areas, including Bosnia, Somalia and the Middle East. Her fiction debut, Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, was published in 10 countries and was a 2001 Notable Book of the Year for the New York Times, Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. For her second novel, March, Brooks was awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. She is also the author of two acclaimed works of nonfiction, Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women, and Foreign Correspondence: A Penpal's Journey from Down Under to All Over. Born and raised in Australia, Brooks lives with her husband, Tony Horwitz and their son in Massachusetts and was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at  Harvard University in fall 2005.
Sponsored by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

ImageDR. MARY DORIA RUSSELL taught human gross anatomy at Case Western Reserve University in the 1980s, but has been a full-time writer since 1992. Her novels The Sparrow and Children of God are science fiction classics, recognized with nine national and international literary awards, including the American Library Association Readers Choice Award. In 2005, A Thread of Grace - about Jewish survival in Nazi-occupied Italy - was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In March 2008, Random House will publish her second historical novel, Dreamers of the Day, about the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference when T.E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill and Lady Gertrude Bell invented the modern Middle East. Russell is currently at work on her fifth novel, set in Dodge City in 1878. She is also collaborating with the poet Gary C. Wilkens on the libretto for an opera by the Puerto Rican composer Raymond Torres-Santos, which will be based on her first two novels, The Sparrow and Children of God. An engaging speaker, Mary is in demand for public events, and her books are frequently chosen for library programs and college courses. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Visit for more information.
Sponsored by Random House

Arthur Curley Lecture
Featuring Regina Carter, Jazz violinist

Saturday, January 12, 2008, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center Lecture Hall
ImageJazz violinist Regina Carter’s career has been a veritable crescendo of success that shows no sign of letting up. She is on a mission: to make a meaningful musical contribution and do it on her own terms. Indeed, she tours with relentless purpose and a seemingly endless supply of energy. Over the past seven years, Ms. Carter and her group have brought audiences to their feet with exhilarating performances worldwide. In 2006, Ms. Carter won the highly esteemed MacArthur Fellowship, which is given to individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits. She has released five albums, the most recent of which, I’ll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey, made its debut, in June of 2006. More details are available at

Youth Media Awards Press Conference
Monday, January 14, 8:00 - 9:15 am
Pennsylvania Convention Center Ballroom B

The Awards being anounced during the press conference are:
John Newbery Medal
The Randolph Caldecott
Coretta Scott King Awards
Michael L. Printz Award
The Alex Margaret A. Edwards Award
(May Hill) Arbuthnot Honor Lecture
Andrew Carnegie Medal
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award
Pura Belpré Award
Mildred L. Batchelder Award
Schneider Family Book Award
Theodor Seuss Geisel AwardM
Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production

Advance Screening of The Spiderwick Chronicles
Sunday, January 13, 2008, 7:30 p.m.*
RITZ FIVE at 214 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
The American Library Association, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies invite you to a special advanced screening of The Spiderwick Chronicles. The New York Times bestselling series by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black comes to theaters February 15, 2008.


Thank You for Respecting our Intellectual Property. It is illegal to record the sound or picture of a movie at this or any other theater. No Recording Devices of Any Kind will be allowed in the theater. By attending, you consent to the search of your possessions and person for such devices upon request. Any recording device discovered in the theater will be seized and its entire contents destroyed. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement.

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