CNN's Anderson Cooper, Room to Read's John Wood, author/musician Tom Sancton headline ALA Auditorium Speaker Series

Contact: Larra Clark
ALA Media Relations
For Immediate Release
May 2, 2006

CNN's Anderson Cooper, Room to Read's John Wood, author/musician Tom Sancton

headline ALA Auditorium Speaker Series

(CHICAGO) The American Library Association (ALA) Auditorium Speaker Series will span the global to the local with three distinguished speakers who double as journalists, musicians and activists. The series is part of the ALA Annual Conference, to be held in New Orleans, June 22-28.

John Wood will kick off the series Saturday, June 24, at 8:30 a.m.
Wood created Room to Read in 1999 and since then the organization has built more than 200 schools and established 2,000 school libraries throughout the developing world.
By the end of last year, the organization had donated its 1 millionth book. The organization now employs more than 40 people and has an annual budget nearing $10 million.

Wood, who ran significant parts of Microsoft's international business from 1991 to 1999, is regularly recognized and awarded for his leadership. Acknowledgements include Time magazine's "Asian Heroes" award; World Economic Forum "Young Global Leader", two-time winner of Fast Company magazine's Social Capitalist Award; recipient of the Skoll Foundation Award for Social Innovation; and a recipient of Draper Richards Fellowship for social entrepreneurs. The presentation is sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers.

Later on Saturday, author/musician Tom Sancton and his jazz ensemble will present a visual, literary and musical journey back to 1950s and '60s New Orleans.
"Song for My Fathers: A New Orleans Story in Black and White" will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sancton will read and show images from his passionate memoir that pays tribute to the white father who raised him and to the black founding fathers of jazz - "the mens" of Preservation Hall who inspired and encouraged him as he grew, as a musician, and as a man. The programs other performers also have a connection to the events in the memoir, and together represent the rich cultural traditions and artistic talent that lives on in New Orleans - despite Katrina's ravages.

Sancton worked at Time magazine for 22 years, most recently as the Paris bureau chief, and coauthored the bestseller "Death of a Princess" in 1998. He also has appeared as a clarinetist at major jazz festivals and has recorded more than a dozen albums. He currently lives in Paris with his wife Sylvaine. The presentation is sponsored by Other Press.

Journalist and author of the new book "Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival" (HarperCollins Publishers) Anderson Cooper will keynote the Public Library Association President's Program and Awards Presentation Monday, June 26, at 5 p.m.

In his book, Cooper relates everything he saw and experienced as a correspondent and an anchor in 2005 with the same journalistic curiosity and emotional accessibility that rivets his television audience. Traveling to some of the world's most dangerous places and finding scenes almost too shocking to watch, Cooper shares his front-row view of unforgettable events from the destruction of the tsunami in South Asia to the hunger crisis in Niger to the deadly Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The indelible snapshots of loss and hope stay with him long after he has moved onto the next news cycle. "Dispatches From The Edge" is his first book.

Cooper has been a reporter for 15 years. The anchor of CNN's prime-time evening news show Anderson Cooper 360°, he joined the network in 2001 and has been hosting the program since March 2003. Previously, he worked as a correspondent for ABC News and was a foreign correspondent for Channel One. Cooper has won several awards for his work, including a National Headliners Award and an Emmy Award. A Yale graduate, he contributes regularly to
Details magazine. Anderson Cooper lives in New York City. HarperCollins Publishers is a sponsor of the event.

In addition to the Auditorium Speaker Series, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will keynote the Opening General Session Saturday at 5:30 p.m., and Caroline Kennedy will keynote the Closing Session Tuesday, June 27, at 8 a.m. For more information on the ALA Annual Conference and special programs and events, please log on to