General Sessions & Special Events

General Sessions

Get ready to be inspired, energized, and entertained by PLA 2020 speakers! Additional speakers and events to be announced soon. Admission to general sessions and Big Ideas sessions is included with Full Conference registrations and Exhibits-Plus badges. Single-Day registrants can attend all general sessions and Big Ideas sessions on the day for which they’ve registered.

Wednesday, February 26, 2:00 PM–3:30 PM

PLA is excited to welcome author, serial entrepreneur, nonprofit CEO, and political leader Stacey Abrams as our Opening Session speaker! More…

Saturday, February 29, 12:00 PM–1:00 PM

Wrap up the PLA 2020 Conference with one of the most unique and sharp comedic voices on television, Samantha Bee, star of the late-night show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. More…

The Big Ideas Series, PLA’s version of “TED Talks,” kicks off each day with an inspiring speaker sure to challenge your mind and spark your creativity. Stay tuned for announcements on who will be taking center stage Saturday morning to start your day with some Big Ideas.

PLA is happy to provide coffee outside the Music City Center Grand Ballroom before each Big Ideas session.

Dr. Bettina Love thumbnailBig Ideas with Dr. Bettina Love
Thursday, February 27, 8:00 AM–9:00 AM

Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and associate professor of educational theory and practice at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on the ways in which urban youth negotiate Hip Hop music and culture to form social, cultural, and political identities and how teachers and schools working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged schools rooted in intersectional social justice for the goal of equitable classrooms. More…

Haben Girma thumbnailBig Ideas with Haben Girma
Friday, February 28, 8:00 AM–9:00 AM

The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma advocates for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. A talented storyteller who helps people frame difference as an asset, she travels the world teaching organizations the benefits of fully accessible products and services. More…

Soledad O'Brien thumbnailBig Ideas with Soledad O'Brien
Saturday, February 29, 8:15 AM–9:15 AM

Soledad O'Brien—award-winning journalist, entrepreneur, and television host—joins us Saturday for one last big idea to send you home from conference bursting with new knowledge! With eloquence and a measured ability to make often-divisive issues such as race relations, social inequality, and mass incarceration accessible to all, she moves audiences to delve deeper into the headlines that shape our lives, outlooks, and daily interactions. More…

Book Buzz: Presented by BooklistBOOK BUZZ: PRESENTED BY BOOKLIST
Wednesday, February 26, 9:30 AM–10:30 AM
Get the inside scoop on the best upcoming books from a panel of premier publisher representatives. More…

From Takeaways to Taking Action: Getting the Most from PLA 2020FROM TAKEAWAYS TO TAKING ACTION: GETTING THE MOST FROM PLA 2020
Wednesday, February 26, 10:45 AM–11:45 AM
Start your conference off right with strategies on how to get the most out of your time in Nashville. Management Consultant Joy Fuller, will guide you through interactive exercises to help you organize your time, optimize networking opportunities, and approach educational programs and events with an action-oriented lens. Joy will share practical tips for turning conference takeaways into actionable results for your library. Whether you’re a first-time attendee or a seasoned pro, this session will set you on the path to a successful PLA 2020. More…

Special Events

These special events will spice up your day, help you discover new ideas, and get the creativity flowing! Unless otherwise indicated below, admission to special events is included with Full Conference registrations and Exhibits-Plus badges, as well as with Single-Day registrations on the day for which they’ve registered.

Friday, February 28, 6:00 PM–8:00 PM

Join your fellow attendees in the Omni Nashville Hotel Broadway Ballroom on Friday for an evening of fun, food, and dancing—this is Music City after all!

PLA, Anythink Libraries (Adams County, CO), and The Bubbler at Madison (WI) Public Library join forces once again at PLA 2020 in Nashville to bring attendees an immersive experience. This year, they are partnering with Nashville's own Isle of Printing and Nashville Public Library to create the AnyBubbler Town Square—located on Level 1 of the Music City Center. Practice active listening by creating analog "tweets" as part of the Communication Station, participate in interactive programming, or spend time connecting with other attendees to discuss strategies for meaningful engagement.

Thursday, February 27 & Friday, February 28

Visit the Book Buzz Stage, located in the Exhibits Hall, to hear the latest publisher buzz for 2020!

Career Fair
Résumé Review & Interview Coaching
Crash Courses
Speed Mentoring

Résumé reviews, speed mentoring, interview coaching, and more! The Career Center will have scheduled events—including career-related Crash Courses—and will also be open during conference hours for job posting or impromptu interviews.

Wednesday, February 26, 8:00 AM–1:30 PM

Explore Nashville beyond the Honky Tonk Highway! These excursions will send small groups of attendees to visit 2–3 Nashville organizations that are supporting library values of equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice.
This event requires a separate registration but is SOLD OUT.

Thursday, February 27, beginning at 7:00 PM

A PLA Conference tradition! Experience a fabulous new restaurant while in Nashville. On Thursday, February 27, Nashville Public Library and Nashville Public Library Foundation staff have volunteered to “host” dinners at ten local restaurants for visiting PLA Conference attendees.
Space is limited, so register now!

Thanks to everyone who helped us meet our goal!

Public libraries are the heart of every community and no one understands giving back to the community more than a public library worker. In the Exhibits Hall, attendees had the opportunity to give back to Nashville by assembling snack packs for the Oasis Center. Although originally planned for both Thursday, February 27 and Friday, February 28, attendees responded with such generosity that we’ve already assembled over 1,800 packs—the most Oasis Center can store!

Oasis Center is a nationally-recognized organization on a mission to help young people in Middle Tennessee move into a happy, healthy, and productive adulthood. Every year, they engage over 3,500 youth and families across a broad spectrum of programs and services designed to help them reach their full potential. During the day, Oasis Center opens their doors to young people ages 18–24 who are experiencing homelessness. These snack packs provide much needed nourishment for young people who are experiencing homelessness.

From programming ideas to crafts to gaining life skills—the How-To Festival is a great way to get some bite-sized learning and have a little fun!

Ingram invites you to browse a special collection of books and celebrate #TheLibraryLife with Indies in Music City. With over 500 independent publishers under our wing, Ingram is home to some of the most brilliant and beautiful books in the marketplace. Join us in Music City to Celebrate #TheLibaryLife. Schedule a demo for VIP access; score #TheLibraryLife swag; meet "Dolly," "Garth," and other "Classic Country Stars."

You'll find #TheLibraryLife Lounge: Celebrating Indies in Music City on Level 3 of the Music City Center.

PLA thanks Ingram for its support of #TheLibraryLife Lounge: Celebrating Indies in Music City.

Thursday, February 27, 5:15 PM–6:15 PM
Friday, February 28, 4:45 PM–5:45 PM

Join us Thursday, February 27 and Friday, February 28 to get fueled with great ideas in this fan-favorite program where your peers will educate, inspire, and entertain—all in under five minutes!

Thursday, February 27, 6:00 PM–7:00 PM

Nashville Public Library will be hosting one ticketed, performance of NPL’s Wishing Chair Productions String City, sponsored by Ingram Content Group. Wishing Chair Productions partnered with the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum to create this unique and fascinating history told through marionettes, rod puppetry, shadow/animation puppetry, with elaborate sets and original recordings. Audiences will delight in (puppet) appearances by Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Garth Books, Taylor Swift, Alison Krauss, and many others! More…
This event requires a separate registration.
Cost: $15 (purchased through Eventbrite)