ACRL announces keynote speakers

Contact: Tory Ondrla

Conference Supervisor, ACRL

(312) 280-2515
For Immediate Release,

May 6, 2008

ACRL announces keynote speakers

14th National Conference to feature Naomi Klein, Sherman Alexie and Ira Glass

CHICAGO – The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is pleased to announce a celebrated lineup of keynote speakers for the ACRL 14th National Conference, “Pushing the Edge: Explore, Engage, Extend,” to be held March 12-15, 2009, in Seattle. Be challenged and entertained by ACRL’s three distinguished speakers, who also double as activists, authors, filmmakers and radio personalities.

Opening Keynote Session, March 12, 2009 – Naomi Klein, Journalist, Author and Activist

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author well known for her political analyses of corporate globalization. Klein’s third book, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” is expected to be the focus of the opening keynote address. The book was published worldwide in September 2007 and is a New York Times and international bestseller, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the NYPL Helen Berstein Book Award, the National Business Award of Canada and two Libris Awards.

In “The Shock Doctrine,” Klein argues that disasters (natural ones like Hurricane Katrina and, in Klein’s view, unnatural ones like the war in Iraq) allow governments to take advantage of citizens in shock and implement corporate-friendly policies that pave the way for ill-gotten gains. The six-minute companion film ( to the book, created by Alfonso Cuaron, was an Official Selection of the 2007 Venice Biennale and Toronto International Film Festivals and is a viral phenomenon, downloaded more than a million times.

Klein is also author of “No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies and Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization” and writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian that is syndicated internationally by the New York Times Syndicate. In 2004, her reporting from Iraq for Harper’s Magazine won the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. She is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia.

Keynote Luncheon, March 13, 2009 – Sherman Alexie, Author, Poet, Screenwriter, Filmmaker, Comedian

A highly prolific Seattle-based novelist, poet and screenplay writer, Sherman Alexie has been hailed as one of the best young writers of his generation. The New Yorker named him one of the top 20 writers for the 21st Century and the New York Times Book Review described him as “one of the major lyric voices of our time.” Men’s Journal called him “the world’s first fast-talking, wisecracking, mediagenic American Indian superstar.”

A Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington. In his lectures, he tells autobiographical tales of contemporary American Indian life laced with razor-sharp humor and bits of history, pop culture and social commentary. He speaks his mind on a wide range of issues — from race relations, religion and politics to homophobia, war and morality.

Alexie has published 17 books, collaborated on three movies and has also dabbled in stand-up comedy and music. Alexie's best known works include “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” “Smoke Signals,” and “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” He has won the American Book Award, National Book Award and PEN/Hemingway awards along with many others.

Closing Keynote Session, March 15, 2009 – Ira Glass, Radio Producer and Host, “This American Life”

Ira Glass is the host and producer of the public radio program “This American Life.” The show had its premiere on Chicago's public radio station WBEZ in late 1995 and is now heard on more than 500 public radio stations each week by more than 1.7 million listeners. Most weeks, the podcast of the program is often the most popular podcast in America.

Under Glass's editorial direction, “This American Life” has won the highest honors for broadcasting and journalistic excellence, including the Peabody and DuPont-Columbia awards, as well as the Edward R. Murrow and the Overseas Press Club awards. The American Journalism Review declared that the show is "at the vanguard of a journalistic revolution,” and in 2001 Time named Glass the “Best Radio Host in America.” In March 2007, the television adaptation of “This American Life” premiered on Showtime to great critical acclaim and was nominated for three Emmy awards.

Further details about the ACRL 14th National Conference are online at Registration will open in mid-to-late September 2008. For more information about the conference, contact Tory Ondrla, ACRL Conference Supervisor, at or (312) 280-2515.


ACRL is a division of the American Library Association (ALA), representing more than 13,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.