For immediate release | December 5, 2017

Acclaimed author, ballerina Misty Copeland to serve as 2018 National Library Week honorary chair

CHICAGO – Bestselling author and American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Misty Copeland will lend her support to advocate for our nation’s libraries as honorary chair of National Library Week, April 8 – 14, 2018. Like librarians and library workers, Copeland’s efforts to lead social change through her writing and teaching fuel the transformation of lives through cultural understanding, education and lifelong learning.

“Libraries Transform: Libraries Lead” is the theme for this year’s 60th anniversary celebration of National Library Week, reminding the public that libraries of all types serve as community compasses that lead users to endless opportunities for community engagement, enrichment and development.

“We are honored that Misty Copeland has agreed to join us as National Library Week honorary chair,” stated American Library Association President Jim Neal. “Copeland’s efforts to lead youth to pursue their dreams regardless of what challenges they may encounter, mirrors the efforts of librarians and library workers, as they work to inspire, educate and lead users to resources that improve lives.”

Copeland’s passion is giving back to communities. She supports many charitable organizations by giving her time and influence to support the greater good. Her generosity and support has extended to libraries by means of print PSAs, social media artwork and other materials that feature Copeland. Free downloadable tools are available now at, and more will be added throughout December. Misty Copeland also joins the celebrity READ® campaign. Her poster will be available from the ALA Store in late December.

“I’m thrilled to join leaders from the library community in celebrating National Library Week,” Copeland said. “Libraries help people of all backgrounds access the services and resources they need to discover their passions and achieve their goals.”

Copeland is the author of “Ballerina Body,” an instant New York Times Bestseller, published in March 2017. She is the author of the New York Times Bestselling memoirLife in Motion,” published March 2014. Copeland is also the author of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award-winning 2014 book Firebird,” an inspiring children’s book that shows that through hard work and dedication any young dancer can become a Firebird.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, and raised in San Pedro, California, Misty Copeland began her ballet studies at the late age of 13. At 15, she won first place in the Music Center Spotlight Awards. She studied at the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive on full scholarship and was declared ABT’s National Coca-Cola Scholar in 2000. Misty joined ABT’s Studio Company in September 2000, joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001, and in August 2007 became the company’s second African American female Soloist and the first in two decades. In June 2015, Misty was promoted to principal dancer, making her the first African American woman to ever be promoted to the position in the company’s 75-year history.

In the fall of 2014, she made history as the first black woman to perform the lead role of “Odette/Odile” in American Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake during the company’s inaugural tour to Australia.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is an annual observance by the American Library Association and libraries across the county each April. National Library Week celebrations include the release of the ALA’s 2018 “State of America’s Libraries Report,” April 9; National Library Workers Day, April 10; National Bookmobile Day, April 11; Take Action for Libraries Day, April 12; and the celebration of School Library Month throughout April.

For more information on National Library Week, please visit

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 56,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.


Macey Morales

Deputy Director

American Library Association

Public Awareness Office