Announcing Our 2021 Core Forum Opening and Closing Speakers!

For Immediate Release
Mon, 06/07/2021


Julie Reese

Core Director of Leadership and Learning

Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures

American Library Association/Core

Core Forum 2021 welcomes our Opening Keynote speaker, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Closing Keynote Speaker, Jonathan Moody!

The October 7-9 Core Forum in Baltimore will be our first opportunity to celebrate the diverse and interconnected library work of Core members. We’ll engage the collective expertise of presenters and participants, facilitating thought-provoking conversations over two days of presentations, tabletop exhibits, and poster sessions. There will be opportunities to safely reconnect with colleagues during receptions, dine-arounds, and in the uncommons space. 

Opening Keynote: A Conversation with Nikole Hannah-Jones

Core Forum opens with a conversation between Core President, Lindsay Cronk, and Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, New York Times Magazine journalist, creator of The 1619 Project, and Preservation Week 2021 Honorary Chair.

The 1619 Project, an ongoing journalism project conceived by Nikole Hannah-Jones and published by the New York Times Magazine, commemorates the 400th anniversary of the date the first enslaved Africans were brought to the American colonies. In this dialogue, Hannah-Jones and Core President-elect Lindsay Cronk will explore the importance of access to knowledge, the value of critical consideration and reinterpretation, the connections between knowledge creators and library workers, and the need to challenge censorship and false neutrality claims.

The initiative aims to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” The school curriculum linked to the New York Times’s 1619 Project is the target of state censorship on the grounds that its critical reframing is a “misrepresentation” of American history. As a result, five states are attempting to bar its use in classrooms.

In addition to developing the 1619 Project, Hannah-Jones has written extensively about school resegregation across the country and examined the decades-long failure of the federal government to enforce the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act. In 2016, Nikole Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a training and mentorship organization dedicated to increasing the ranks of investigative reporters of color. She currently serves as the Preservation Week 2021 Honorary Chair.

For more information on Nikole Hannah-Jones and her work, visit and follow her on Twitter at @nhannahjones.

Closing Keynote Speaker: Jonathan Moody

Core Forum 2021 concludes with Closing Speaker Jonathan Moody, who will inspire us to “See The Change.”  Libraries are one of the best examples of how buildings can function as a community resource. They’re part of our social infrastructure and provide access to resources. 

Jonathan Moody is the CEO of Moody Nolan, an architectural firm that was awarded the 2021 AIA National Firm Award. Moody has helped continue and extend the firm’s position as the largest African-American owned architecture firm. Moody Nolan continues to garner national attention by promoting “diversity by design.” It has extensive experience designing award winning civic projects, including both public and academic libraries. Jonathon approaches architecture with a focused mission—to bring transformational design to underserved communities, educate and mentor underserved youth toward careers in architecture, and become, a visible, present servant in underserved communities.

When we build libraries, we’re making an investment that shows what we value. Part of the job of an architect is to ensure that investment lasts. We have witnessed this past year the speed at which change can happen, and the changing diversity of communities we serve forces us to constantly re-examine ideas of flexibility and reflection. We must consider flexibility in how we can think today about future challenges and physical adaptability of buildings. We must consider reflection as both a place where people can reflect on what is happening in their community but also the ways that buildings reflect their communities.

We know that when people feel a space is for them, they are more likely to use it. Through the design and construction process, we can find opportunities for changing communities to see themselves in libraries. Through this process, we see how people can be empowered to make change. - Jonathan Moody

Registration will open in late June. Watch the Core Forum website for program announcements and join the list for ongoing Forum updates.

About Core: Leadership, Infrastructure Futures

Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures is the national association that advances the profession of librarians and information providers in central roles of leadership and management, collections and technical services, and technology. Our mission is to cultivate and amplify the collective expertise of library workers in core functions through community building, advocacy, and learning. Core is a new division of the American Library Association. Follow us on our Blog, Twitter or Instagram.