Conference Closing Session to feature author Steve Lopez

Contact: Karee Williams

ALA Conference Services


For Immediate Release

June 3, 2009

CHICAGO—Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times columnist and author of “The Soloist,” will highlight the 2009 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago as the Closing Session speaker.

Also a major motion picture, “The Soloist” is the true story of Lopez’s extraordinary encounters with a homeless violinist named Nathaniel Anthony Ayers. Lopez first came across Ayers, dressed in rags and playing Beethoven on a battered two-string violin, on a busy street corner in Los Angeles.

Lopez visited regularly with Ayers and wrote a series of columns about the talented musician struck down with mental illness in the prime of his life. Despite the many difficulties and demands of helping Ayers battle schizophrenia, Lopez found that he was unable to walk away. It wasn’t long before a remarkable bond of friendship developed between the two.

The Closing Session is part of the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago and will be held from 8 to 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 14, at McCormick Place West.

Lopez is the father of three children and lives in Los Angeles with his wife Alison and their daughter, Caroline.

For more information on the Closing Session and other speakers at the 2009 Annual Conference, visit the ALA Conference Web site at