For immediate release | May 5, 2023

ALA President Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada to host Native Hawaiian teacher, cultural practitioner, and author Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu at the ALA President's Program

CHICAGO – The American Library Association has announced that ALA President Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada will host award-winning filmmaker and author Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu at the ALA 2023 Annual Conference & Exhibition ALA President’s Program, June 22-27, 2023 in Chicago. Additional speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Advance Registration rates are available and groups can Register 5, and Get 1 Complimentary Registration.

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu is a Native Hawaiian teacher, cultural practitioner, filmmaker, author, and transgender woman who uses digital media to protect and perpetuate Indigenous languages and traditions. She is a Native Hawaiian māhū, a traditional third-gender person who occupies "a place in the middle" between male and female and is traditionally seen as a caretaker, healer, and teacher of ancient traditions. Although māhū can be understood in an LGBTQIA+ context, it is more inclusive and fluid as it is a state of being in the ability to embrace both sides.

In 2020, she directed, produced, and narrated Kapaemahu, an animated short film about four extraordinary māhū individuals of dual male and female spirit who brought healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won the Animayo Gran Canaria International Grand Jury Award, which led to a coveted spot on the 93rd Academy Awards' shortlist in the Animated Short Film category. Her first children's picture book, "Kapaemahu," available now, is based on the Academy Award-contending short film. With illuminating words and stunning illustrations by Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson, and Daniel Sousa, "Kapaemahu" is a monument to an Indigenous Hawaiian legend and a classic in the making. It was awarded the Stonewall Honor and was a Lambda Literary Finalist.

Pelayo-Lozada and Wong-Kalu will sit in conversation to discuss Native Hawaiian philosophy and traditions and the contributions Wong-Kalu has made to the Native Hawaiian and LGBTQ communities.

The ALA 2023 Annual Conference & Exhibition will include 200+ education programs; the News You Can Use series with updates that highlight new research; innovations and advances in libraries; memorable featured authors and celebrity speakers; interactive discussion groups; and networking opportunities.

The Library Marketplace will showcase more than 550 exhibitors; eight live presentation stages that will highlight notable and genre-specific keynotes; sessions on new book titles; knowledgeable and innovative exhibitors; popular features, including Meet the Authors; innovative resources; giveaways, and more.

See the sessions, events, and activities in the Conference Scheduler.

Get updates from the 2023 Annual Conference & Exhibition and follow #ALAAC23 and social media at ALA Twitter, ALA Conferences Twitter, ALA Facebook, and Instagram.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit

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ALA 2023 Annual Conference & Exhibition

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