For immediate release | August 27, 2013

Bryan Stevenson announced as opening keynote for PLA 2014 Conference

CHICAGO — The Public Library Association (PLA) 2014 Conference, March 11-15, Indianapolis, will get off to a powerful start with Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), as the Opening Session keynote speaker. The PLA Conference Opening Session will take place 2:30 - 4 p.m., Wed., March 12, at the Indiana Convention Center.

There’s a reason Stevenson has one of the most-viewed and highest-rated TED Talks—he’s an incredible speaker with an inspiring message. And his social justice focus echoes the mission of libraries to provide equal, unbiased access regardless of race or income. He is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults.

Mr. Stevenson’s work fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has won him numerous awards including the ABA Wisdom Award for Public Service, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award Prize, the Olaf Palme International Prize, the ACLU National Medal of Liberty, the National Public Interest Lawyer of the Year Award, the NAACP Ming Award for Advocacy, the Gruber Prize for International Justice and the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, has been awarded 13 honorary doctorate degrees and is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law.

The PLA 2014 Conference promises to be the premier conference for public library professionals. The conference includes more than 100 professional development programs, numerous social events and networking opportunities, and a bustling exhibits hall, as well as engaging speakers like Stevenson. Registration opens the afternoon of Sept. 4, 2013. For more information, please visit or contact the PLA office at (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA or

PLA is a division of the American Library Association. PLA’s core purpose is to strengthen public libraries and their contribution to the communities they serve. Its mission is to enhance the development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services.


Amy Sargent

Marketing and Communications Manager

Public Library Association