For immediate release | June 4, 2010

Poetry possibilities @ 2010 ALA Annual Conference

CHICAGO—Attendees of the 2010 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, to be held June 24-29 in Washington, D.C., will find a variety of poetry-themed programming to delight and inspire the lyrical librarian. These events include opportunities to meet the poets, live readings and a discussion of poetry and library programming.

  • From 8-10 a.m. on Saturday, June 26, the ALA Public Programs Office with support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will offer “Poetry as a Community Builder: Expanding Community Outreach through Poetry” in Washington Convention Center Room 102A. This presentation will include real world strategies from libraries for making poetry accessible to their community. Poet Kwame Alexander and the program director of the Poetry Foundation, Steven Young, will share the podium with Mary Davis Fournier, deputy director of the ALA Public Programs Office, and Linda Holtslander, assistant director of the Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library.
  • Also presented by the ALA Public Programs Office with support from the NEA is the LIVE! @ your library reading stage. This year, the lineup features readings by both renowned poets and new talents. Featured poets include Kwame Alexander, Nickole Brown, Henri Cole, Benjamin Alire Sáenz and Gwendolyn Zepeda. The LIVE! Stage, located at the end of the 2600 aisle in the exhibits hall, will feature live readings from noon-4 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 27, and from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Monday, June 28.
  • Poet Benjamin Alire Sáenz is also one of the featured writers at the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) Author Coffee Klatch from 9-10 a.m. on Sunday, June 27, in Washington Convention Center Room 207A/B. This informal program allows attendees to meet with their favorite writers for coffee and a short break from the hustle and bustle of the conference. YA librarians are invited to take a seat while award-winning authors and poets take turns visiting tables.
  • The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) will present “Celebrating the Spoken Word with Poetry for Young People” from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Sunday, June 27, in Washington Convention Center Room 103A. The children’s poet laureate Mary Ann Hoberman will lead a discussion on how to make poetry an interactive experience for young adults. The presentation will end with a performance by the teenage finalists of the 2010 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, a competition dedicated to fostering public speaking ability in young adults by encouraging them to memorize and perform pieces of poetry.
  • The 7th Annual Poetry Blast, also organized by ALSC, will take place from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. in Washington Convention Center Room 144A. Designed with children and young adults in mind, the event presents poetry at its best—as an aural performative experience. Ten poets, including Marilyn Singer (co-host of the Poetry Blast), Calef Brown and Tony Medina, will present their work.
  • From 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 27, in Washington Convention Center Room 147A, the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) will host a viewing of Judith Schaefer’s documentary "So Long Are You Young: Samuel Ullman’s Poetry and Passion" as part of the program “One Poem Enriching Lives Across the Globe: Samuel Ullman, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and ‘Youth.’” Historian Margaret Armbrester will lead a discussion about the relationship of poetry and history after the screening.

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, LIVE! @ your library, and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. The ALA Public Programs Office is pleased to present poetry programming at the ALA Annual Conference through the support of the NEA. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit


Angela Thullen