ALA to host Dan Rather live to celebrate National Library Week in exclusive interview for ALA’s Take Action for Libraries Day on April 8

For Immediate Release
Mon, 03/29/2021


Shawnda Hines

Asst. Director Communications

Public Policy & Advocacy

(202) 403-8208

CHICAGO - As part of National Library Week, the American Library Association, in partnership with United for Libraries and Booklist, will present a live conversation with Dan Rather in honor of Take Action for Libraries Day on Thursday, April 8, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Central. The free event is open to the public, and libraries are encouraged to promote it among their communities.  Early registration is recommended as space is limited.

“As trusted and treasured institutions, libraries promote democracy by providing access to information and technology for all,” said Dan Rather. “I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. My library card opened the world to me as a small boy, and it has the same power today to transform lives. Libraries deserve America’s gratitude and support; after all, they are the greatest examples of what unites us.”

Venerated journalist Dan Rather, in conversation with Booklist’s Donna Seaman, will discuss his book “What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism” (Algonquin Books). This collection of original essays, co-authored by Elliot Kirschner, examines the freedoms that define Americans, the values that renew us and the institutions that sustain us. Rather will reflect on the role of libraries as one of these sustaining institutions and discuss how we can unite to secure their future.

Rather brings to bear his decades of experience on the frontlines of the world’s biggest stories. As a living witness to historical change, he offers up an intimate view of history, tracing where America has been in order to heal divisions and help us chart a way forward.

“Times of crisis such as the pandemic reveals the healing effect that America’s libraries have on our nation, especially in underserved areas,” said ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. “In addition to being repositories of knowledge, libraries are centers for discovery and innovation that adapt to meet the changing needs of their communities. ALA is proud to host a library advocate of Dan Rather’s caliber for a conversation about the role of libraries in our democracy and how we can ensure their vibrancy for the future.”

Rather’s exclusive interview will take place as part of Take Action for Libraries Day, when ALA will rally library advocates to urge support for continued federal funding for libraries as well as the Build America’s Libraries Act of 2021. The legislation would fund upgrades to the nation’s library infrastructure, paving the way for new and improved library facilities in underserved communities across the country.

“What Unites Us: A Graphic Novel,” an adaptation of Rather and Kirschner’s book, has recently been published by Macmillan.

With a storied career that has spanned more than six decades, Dan Rather has earned his place as one of the world’s best-known journalists. He has interviewed every president since Eisenhower and, over that time, personally covered almost every important dateline in the United States and around the world. Rather joined CBS News in 1962. He quickly rose through the ranks, and in 1981 he assumed the position of Anchor and Managing Editor of the CBS Evening News—a post he held for twenty-four years. His reporting across the network helped turn 60 Minutes into an institution, launched 48 Hours as an innovative news magazine program, and shaped countless specials and documentaries. Upon leaving CBS, Rather returned to the in-depth reporting he always loved, creating the Emmy Award-winning Dan Rather Reports on HDNet. Now, building upon that foundation, he is president and CEO of News and Guts, an independent production company he founded that specializes in high-quality nonfiction content across a range of traditional and digital distribution channels.

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library's role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit

About United for Libraries
United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association with approximately 4,000 personal and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. United for Libraries supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries, and brings together library trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. To join, please visit or call (800) 545-2433, ext. 2161.

About Booklist
Booklist is the book review magazine of the American Library Association, considered an essential collection development and readers' advisory tool by thousands of librarians for more than 100 years. Booklist includes a growing archive of 200,000+ reviews available to subscribers as well as a wealth of free content offering the latest news and views on books and media.