For immediate release | November 21, 2023

PLA announces speakers for 2024 conference, April 3–5

CHICAGO — The Public Library Association (PLA) 2024 Conference will move attendees towards laughter and thoughtful reflection with speakers Dulcé Sloan, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Mary Annaïse Heglar. The PLA 2024 Conference, taking place April 3–5, in Columbus, Ohio, will feature dynamic speakers and programming in a celebration of all things public libraries.

Similar to "TED Talks," the Big Ideas Series features inspiring speakers who will challenge minds and spark creativity. Award-winning author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates will kick off Big Ideas on Thursday, April 4. Coates is the author of the bestselling books The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power, The Water Dancer, and Between the World and Me, which won the National Book Award in 2015. He has penned numerous articles and essays, including the National Magazine Award-winning 2012 essay “Fear of a Black President” and the influential June 2014 essay “The Case For Reparations.” Coates also enjoyed a successful run writing Marvel’s Black Panther (2016–2021) and Captain America (2018–2021) comics series, and is currently writing the screenplays for the upcoming films Wrong Answer, Superman, and the film adaptation of his first fiction novel, The Water Dancer.

On Friday, April 5, Mary Annaïse Heglar, a writer who works at the intersections of climate change, climate grief, and climate justice will close out Big Ideas. Her essays have appeared in The Cut, The Boston Globe, Vox, Rolling Stone, Wired, and other outlets, as well as several essay collections like Not Too Late and All We Can Save. She is the author of the forthcoming This World is Yours to Cherish from Random House Kids (2024) and the editor of the recently announced Til Earth and Heaven Ring—an all-Black climate anthology with Pantheon Books. She has taught as an adjunct professor at Columbia University in New York City and Tulane University in New Orleans. In 2020, she won a SEAL Environmental Journalism award.

Attendees will leave Columbus laughing when Dulcé Sloan—one of the sharpest, fastest rising voices in comedy—closes out the conference on Friday, April 5. Hailed as one of the 10 Comedians You Need to Know by Rolling Stone, Sloan tours nationally and internationally, performing her signature stand-up to sold-out audiences, and has been a correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” since 2017. Her first memoir, “Hello, Friends!: Stories of Dating, Destiny, and Day Jobs,” is expected to be released February 2024 by Andscape Books.

The conference will feature more than 100 thoughtfully curated education sessions, inspiring speakers and authors, engaging networking opportunities, career services, micro-learning moments, and a bustling exhibits hall featuring the latest in products, services, and innovations.

Personal members of PLA and the Ohio Library Council (OLC) receive exclusive access to the Early Bird discount—saving $294 over nonmembers on registration through Jan. 12, 2024. Advance registration is available to all attendees through Feb. 23, 2024. Tickets to workshops, library tours, and select author events are available at an additional charge. See the full schedule of rates.

About the Public Library Association

The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or


Eliana Tang Kleiman

Communications Associate

Public Library Association